Engineering research partnership is best in UK

03 May 2019

A collaboration led by the University's School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment (SCEBE) with Edinburgh company, Geckotech Solutions Ltd, has been recognised as the Best Knowledge Transfer Partnership in the UK.

The project, which was the only Scottish entry to be selected, was nominated in two categories at Innovate UK's prestigious 'Best of the Best' Awards and lifted the trophy for Best Partnership.

Head of Computing, Professor Gordon Morison, and Geckotech's Dr Mark Jenkins have been applying their expertise in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision to structural condition monitoring for the past four years. They joined colleagues from across the UK's Knowledge Transfer Network in London, where their work received its greatest acknowledgement to date.

Professor Morison said: "I am utterly delighted. Our collaboration is making great strides in the practical application of deep learning to industrial problems. This is testament to the amazing work of Dr Jenkins and the quality of the team we have built up around this KTP. As academics, we often look for incremental change, but this collaboration has the potential to be transformative in the way we interpret huge data sets. To have the University's data-science skills recognised on the national stage is a great honour."

The University's Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research, Professor Cam Donaldson, praised the team's success. He said: "This partnership continues to be an exemplar in how to create and sustain mutually-beneficial research relationships with industry. This award is a great achievement for GCU, which is the culmination of years of hard work and is well deserved. More broadly, it reflects how important KTPs are for driving research and I hope that our wider academic community will take on board the lessons and opportunities emerging from this amazing collaboration as we seek to expand KTPs across the University."

Geckotech provides specialist access services to engineering clients and has developed multiple KTP projects with the University. It is the only structural monitoring company in Scotland using Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning and Virtual Reality to improve their services.

Research and Development manager, Dr Mark Jenkins, who is also a GCU alumni, said: "This recognition shows why it's essential for companies like ours to invest in research to drive innovation and growth. Through partnership with GCU, we've accessed a Data Lab-funded Industrial Doctorate project, a GCU-funded PhD project and two Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, and we've made great strides in developing our approach. It means a lot to have this acknowledged by our peers."

The KTP network offers the University a chance to collaborate with a diverse range of companies, most recently including software company, Intrallect, and industrial giant Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioning Systems (Europe).

Dean of SCEBE, Professor Iain Cameron, said: "The success we are enjoying with Geckotech is remarkable. It is helping deliver other partnerships, and the collaboration with Mitsubishi promises to be our largest to date. We constantly strive to enhance our student's learning and employability prospects through these research links with industry. It's good for our partners and it's good for the University. To fly the flag for Scottish universities at these awards is great source of pride for staff and students alike."