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Visit from Programme Manager of Innovate UK’s flagship Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme

Posted on 9 April 2019

Strong results are presented for projects within knowledge Transfer Partnership Programme.

The two Associate (York Postgraduates) KTP project between the University and IBM has been an exemplar of how an academic-business partnership can be built through a KTP project that impacts academic research and supports business innovation.

The University welcomed the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Programme Manager, Richard Lamb, to learn more about the University’s KTP portfolio which currently boasts 12 active KTPs with large organisations and small and medium-sized enterprises. 

A round-table discussion was led by the Program Director and IBM York Lab Lead, Peter Thomas and by the two KTP Associates, Jon Co (Model driven software engineering) and Alex Komninos (Machine learning), who presented the project’s scope and discussed the innovative solutions that they are developing that would help IBM expand its product portfolio and customer base. 

For IBM York Lab, it is the first KTP the company is involved in and having gone through one-third of the project, the results are already outstanding.

Peter Thomas said: “The progress of the project has been fantastic and exceeded expectations. The KTP Associates are supported by regular IBMers plus a full time Computer Science Intern from the University who has developed all of the user experience for this applied research. Recently this small team shared their work with customers, partners and senior IBM executives at the IBM Hursley Festival of Innovation. As a result, they were voted employees of the month by their friends and colleagues from the IBM York Lab.”

Richard Lamb also spoke to the academics who have a track record in building strong partnerships with industry through KTPs.

Dr Suresh Manandhar, Lead Academic and Academic Supervisor (Machine learning), said: “We have been able to get early results due to tight integration within the IBM team and inclusion of additional team members from IBM. We see machine understanding of spreadsheets as an interesting and very practical new application domain for current machine learning research that we are excited to be part of.”

Professor Dimitris Kolovos, Academic Supervisor (Model driven software engineering), said: “Through this partnership we are transferring knowledge and expertise on model-based engineering developed over the last 15 years through several national and European research projects. On the flip side, the partnership enables us to put the scalability and performance of some of our state-of-the-art technologies to the test in the context of a demanding operational environment, and to identify further research challenges that are relevant to industry.”

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at York

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships aim to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. KTPs are funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

In 2018, the government announced an additional £25m investment to boost management capability (previously ‘business productivity’) over the next three year through the KTP Programme, placing over 200 additional graduates and academics with relevant skills into firms to translate their research insights into business growth. In light of that, academics are encouraged to explore KTP projects that would deliver productivity gains to management teams alongside other commercial impacts.

Find further information on KTP or, to speak about project ideas, please contact Dr Rukmal Abeysekera, Knowledge Transfer Manager on 01904 321124 or