Aston University: Translating academic research into business strategy
Aug 27 | 4 minutes read
Businesses around the globe are facing unprecedented challenges brought about by the recent pandemic, but they can still thrive amid the economic volatility with the right and timely resources, tools and interventions.
Management consulting company Nexus Global recently published its Business Confidence Report. They reported that businesses can increase their confidence and thrive during these tough economic times by leveraging government schemes to help protect finances and increase financial investments; grow their business by focusing on the right strategies; and employing an apprentice, to name a few.
Businesses can also enjoy a wealth of benefits by collaborating with universities, providing access to expertise, resources and talent to help them grow and develop solutions to problems.
A great example of a university that can help companies unlock business value and address pain points is Aston University.
Aston University: supporting business success through collaboration
Aston University is located in the centre of Birmingham, England’s second city with a long history of manufacturing prowess and strong links with business, including global brands such as BMW, HSBC and Jaguar Land Rover.
Business is at the core of Aston University’s beneficiary-led strategy. The institution plays a key role in linking businesses, professions and organisations to graduates and entrepreneurs. Together, they tackle some of the most pressing challenges in the world today.
Aston University has a well-deserved reputation for collaborating with business with several prestigious accolades, including being named The Guardian University of the Year 2020. The University was also crowned Outstanding Entrepreneurial University by the Times Higher Education Awards – recognising its strategic and inclusive cross-institutional approach to supporting businesses, the West Midlands region and student entrepreneurship.
Here are some examples of how Aston University is driving business success.
Supporting business through Knowledge Exchange
Knowledge Exchange (KE) is embedded in Aston University’s culture, bringing together the worlds of business and the public, private and third sectors with academia to increase engagement and foster new ideas.
Companies of all sizes can work with Aston University in a two-way exchange in a range of areas, such as business research collaborations, short courses for third parties and student placement opportunities.
This provides companies with a wealth of resources not normally available to them, while Aston University’s up-to-date research can help organisations innovate and deliver better services, processes and products.
Supporting the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
Aston University has a well-deserved reputation for working with SMEs and has 14 business support programmes to help businesses find more efficient solutions to their problems, such as improving business processes, supporting new technology adoption and enhancing leadership and management capabilities.
The University is home to the award-winning Aston Centre for Growth, which, to date, has helped over 1,000 participating SMEs to increase their productivity by 28% while creating over 650 jobs and 120 million pounds in revenue for the West Midlands, according to the 2018 10KSB Impact Evaluation.
With its expertise and resources, Aston University is well poised to scale up businesses. Many of their leading academics specialise in small business enterprise research, which means they can review and explore ways in which businesses can grow and help identify potential opportunities.
Supporting innovation through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP)
A KTP is a three-way collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a graduate, called a KTP Associate. The UK-wide programme is part-funded by Innovate UK and helps businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills.
Aston University is the leading KTP provider within the Midlands and won Innovate UK’s Best of the Best KTP awards 2021. Participating in a KTP at Aston can help businesses innovate, compete in new markets and increase profitability. KTPs can deliver improvements to existing products, support the development of novel products and systems, and create frameworks that improve efficiencies in processes and upskill staff.
The KTP programme is a cost-effective way to access Aston University’s world-class academic resources and helps companies gain a competitive advantage through accelerated innovation and the possibility of creating intellectual property.
Businesses of all sizes and from all sectors are eligible to participate, as well as third sector organisations, charities and social enterprises. Companies engaging with Aston University on a KTP see an average ROI of 1,107%.
Ultimately, whether companies are looking to deliver better services, pursue Knowledge Exchange (KE) activity, including contract research projects, or a KTP that supports and encourages all forms of innovation, Aston University offers a suite of services that can help businesses benefit from the University’s expertise.
Learn more about how collaborating with Aston can take business to greater heights.
Supporting career development through degree apprenticeships
Aston University pioneered the introduction of degree apprenticeships in the UK. Degree apprenticeships help school leavers and those already established in their careers to earn a credential without paying tuition fees.
Aston University currently offers 17 degree apprenticeship programmes developed in partnership with employers and professional bodies to fill skill gaps in business and industry. Their excellent performance as a training provider is nationally recognised as the 15th Best Training Provider in the 2019 RateMyApprenticeship Awards.
The University has over 600 degree apprentices studying with them across organisations in the UK, and this number is growing. They also have expertise in IoT — Aston University is a partner in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology to improve skill levels in advanced manufacturing.
Aston University’s degree apprenticeship graduates deliver excellent outcomes for both apprentices and their employers, with 88% of their graduates achieving a first-class or 2:1 degree.
By partnering with Aston University, businesses will have the opportunity to employ placement students or graduates. Their degree apprenticeship programme has a customisable curriculum and content that can target specific business goals and needs.