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Collaborate and innovate

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Published on 14, March, 2024

University of Sunderland's KTP event
University of Sunderland's KTP event

Businesses from across the north-east have been finding out how working with the University of Sunderland as part of a world-leading programme to support innovation can help them thrive.

More than 30 small and medium-sized enterprises attended the University’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) event, which brings Faculty of Technology academics and businesses together to explore how research and development can be undertaken and applied to solve business challenges and provide new opportunities.

Businesses attending the event, which took place this week (Wednesday 13 March) at Hope Street Xchange on the University’s City Campus, included Durham Constabulary, Pearson Engineering Ltd and Speedings Ltd.

Attendees heard from academic representatives from the University’s School of Computing and School of Engineering about their research areas, such as Artificial Intelligence applications, Smart systems, Graphene technology, design and manufacturing – and how they have used this research and knowledge to help businesses evolve.

Adrian Morris, Senior Lecturer in Engineering at the University of Sunderland, said: “The University, and Faculty of Technology in particular, has been active in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership for some years and this event showcased some recent successes as well as highlighting opportunities for companies to work with our excellent team.

“Companies benefit from project support from a specialist team of experts, our excellent library and laboratory resources and of course significant funding. We look forward to being part of the next business transformation.”

The KTP programme is a three-way partnership between the business seeking expertise, the University, and a recently qualified graduate or postgraduate – known as the KTP Associate. Each project can last between 12 months to three years, transferring and embedding new knowledge and skills to encourage business growth and innovation.

Sunderland-based Speedings Ltd design and manufacture protective equipment and supplies for emergency services across the UK. They currently have a KTP with the University.

Rob Hammal, Company Director at Speedings Ltd, said: "We have only been participating in our KTP for a couple of months now, but the work that the academic and the KTP Associate do together has already started to increase staff morale across the business."

The KTP programme is funded by Innovate UK.

Dr Amanda Li, Knowledge Transfer Partnership Officer at the University of Sunderland, said: “In today's dynamic business landscape, innovation is not just a buzzword; it is a driving force behind economic growth and sustainability.

“The event serves as a platform to spotlight the groundbreaking research and innovative endeavours underway at the University of Sunderland, which also provides an opportunity for businesses to connect and engage with those participating in the Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme.

“We hope through conversations, we can facilitate the exchange of ideas and expertise, empowering businesses to explore new avenues for growth and development.”