Business Impact through KTPs

“As a mechanism for researching a problem that we don’t have the people, time or resources to do ourselves, this KTP was great for us.”"
Geoff Crowley, Highland Colour Coaters

The average business benefits from a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) include an increase of more than £260k in annual pre-tax profits, the creation of two new jobs and an additional 20 staff trained, according to figures from the Technology Strategy Board (Achievements and Outcomes 2012-13).

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership between Highland Colour Coaters and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) resulted in cost savings and improved productivity for the Cumbernauld-based company.

The company decided a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) would be the best way to help investigate the causes and provide solutions to a technical phenomenon called ‘pinholing’ in which a gas seemingly emerges from galvanised steel and penetrates powder coatings, leaving small craters in the surface.

During the 30-month project, KTP Associate Rikki Speakman has been working under the supervision of GCU Professors Colin Chisholm and Mahmoud El-Sharif and Dr Ray Ansell, and with access to the research facilities of the world’s largest manufacturer of coatings, Akzo Nobel.

Geoff Crowley, Highland's MD said: “The KTP has found that there is no one single thing causing this pinholing problem, but a range of things. The work that Rikki has done has reduced the rate of re-works from 4% to less than 1% with an estimated saving of between £70,000 and £100,000 per annum to our business. As a mechanism for researching a problem that we don’t have the people, time or resources to do ourselves, this KTP was great for us.”

Street League is a charity which delivers sport and education programmes to disadvantaged young people across the UK. A structured football and education programme helps charity participants to build confidence, improve health, extend social networks and develop skills towards longterm education, employment and independence.

Through a two-year KTP project between GCU and Street League, the KTP Associate was tasked with the design, development and implementation of a range of internal and external communications and marketing initiatives to suit the charity’s diverse audiences, by integrating user centred design with new technologies.

GCU’s KTP with Street League was independently assessed and awarded a Grade A (outstanding). KTPs provide resources and expertise to thriving organisations that wish to innovate, expand or improve their performance.

The Street League KTP achieved a number of positive business performance benefits. The KTP helped Street League diversify its income, assisting the charity to move away from a dependency on grant funding towards contractual work or commissioned income. Over the two-year project period the charity saw a 300% increase in the level of commissioned income generated.

The KTP also helped contribute to improvements in the number of young people completing Street League programmes and in the percentage of young people moving from charity services into employment, education or training (89% and 72% respectively). Street League has also pointed to improvements in fundraising capability, staff satisfaction and operational capacity, quality of services and marketing capability.

More recently, ISETR academics have been working with SPT to convert unwanted ingress water from the Subway into a sustainable heat source.

The pioneering technology will be developed over the next two years as a result of the KTP between SPT and GCU and builds on SPT’s existing energy efficiency strategy. The KTP programme supports businesses to access the knowledge and skills that reside within universities to improve competitiveness and productivity.

Gordon Maclennan, SPT Chief Executive, said: “This innovative approach has potential to produce many more benefits for SPT including reducing our energy usage and costs. I’m delighted that we can also work with the university to share expertise, it will no doubt deliver great results.”

A two-year KTP collaboration between ScotRail and GCU is set to further enhance the reliability and efficiency of Scotland’s rail network. The GCU team will work with ScotRail to review the company’s maintenance systems, further develop the techniques used to monitor the condition of passenger trains and will help to create a cost-effective maintenance strategy.

Dr Janette Wark, GCU’s Knowledge Transfer Manager, said: “KTPs can help companies to find innovative solutions to difficult problems. They help businesses to increase their competitive advantage and continue to grow by accessing the immense expertise resident within the university sector.”

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is Europe’s leading programme helping business to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. KTP is funded by the Technology Strategy Board with 12 other funding organisations.

For more information, contact Knowledge Transfer Manager Janette Wark on 0141 331 8877 or email gcubusiness@gcu.ac.uk.