Working with business and public sector

We will build on our reputation as an accessible partner with a commitment to responsible business and social benefit to engage with business, the public and voluntary sectors, and respond to their needs for relevant applied research, knowledge exchange and consultancy in a changing global economy.

GCU is worth nearly £1billion to the UK economy each year, £492million in Glasgow, and supports 14,000 jobs, including 6000 in Glasgow, according to the most recent report by BiGGAR Economics.

That includes the social and economic benefit generated by the sharing of our expertise with business and the public sector through applied research, knowledge exchange and consultancy.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) 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. GCU currently has several KTPs with companies, spanning a range of expertise areas.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP)

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) 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. GCU currently has several KTPs with companies, spanning a range of expertise areas.

GCU and Scottish Canals will develop and implement a strategy for increasing tourism on the canals throughout Scotland following recent work to transform the local environment of Falkirk through the award-winning Helix project.

Geckotech Solutions Ltd, which supplies specialist industrial access services to transport, energy and construction sectors, is collaborating with GCU on a partnership to develop image systems for use in tunnel and shaft safety inspections. 

GCU and engineering company Doble are collaborating on a new partnership which aims to develop condition monitoring products and services to support the power generation industry. The two-year KTP project aims to further develop the capability for diagnostic condition assessment of generators, motors and cables.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) is to trial energy efficient heat pump systems using water and air in the Subway following successful research with GCU. In order to develop a financially and environmentally effective method of harvesting heat from ingress water, SPT embarked on a two-year KTP project with GCU.

GCU is working with ScotRail to review the company’s maintenance systems, further develop the techniques used to monitor the condition of passenger trains and to create a cost-effective maintenance strategy.

Applied research

We work collaboratively as a university partner in five SFC-funded Innovation Centres, including the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, the DataLab, the Oil and Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC), CENSIS (The Centre for Sensors and Imaging Systems) and the Digital Health and Care Institute (DHI), launched to stimulate university-industry innovation.

GCU is also part of University Technology (UT), a pan-Scottish university initiative that was originally launched in March 2004 by Scotland’s universities as part of a collaborative effort to showcase new technology opportunities from Scotland’s academic research base.

GCU is capitalising on its key areas of research with the development of new technologies, enabling companies and investors find the best new technologies to help grow their own businesses. GCU holds patents covering areas such as high-voltage engineering, smart building management systems and solar concentrators. GCU holds eight patent families.  

These technologies help enable our work with industry and are providing innovation support to collaborative R&D applications such as Innovate UK and the SFC Innovation Centres. 

GCU continues to develop long-term strategic R&D contracts with industry partners. Doble Engineering and GCU established the Doble Innovation Centre for On-line Systems on the university campus in 2013, subsequently recruiting new employees into Scotland for the first time, to support the partnership. This work is part of a multi-year framework agreement which continues to deliver new product innovation into the company from our research expertise in high-voltage condition monitoring instrumentation engineering. These products have been adopted by Doble’s global client base to provide improved utilities asset management.


Playlist for Life

We work with a range of charity organisations, including Playlist for Life. It was founded by Honorary President of GCU’s Magnusson Fellowship, Dr Sally Magnusson, after she observed the effect of personalised music on her late mother, who had dementia. 

GCU researchers are developing a personalised music playlist app for dementia patients, working with Playlist for Life to identify the needs of patients and their carers in order to design and trial the app supported with robust research findings.

Researchers led by Dr Gianna Cassidy have received funding of £80,000 from the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation and the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation, which aims to improve the physical and mental health of the people of Scotland through grants to support projects and initiatives not normally funded by the health service.

There are 84,000 dementia sufferers in Scotland, with over 63 per cent of those living at home. Personalised music is a powerful, yet untapped tool for patient and carer wellbeing in dementia.

Researchers are working with Playlist for Life to design a unique personal playlist intervention and an innovative app. This is being trialled in memory clinics and through patient groups in Edinburgh and the Lothians to evaluate the impact of the intervention on the social, emotional and cognitive wellbeing of the patients and carers looking after them. Professor John Starr, Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre and adviser to Playlist for Life, and Helen Mason, Senior Lecture in Health Economics at GCU’s Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, will assist with the evaluation. 

Social care organisations

The Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland commissioned researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) to explore local authority and voluntary sector provider perspectives on new legislation which determines how people who receive social care have different degrees of choice and control over the budget for their support. 

The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act places a duty on local authorities to ensure that people who are eligible for social care are offered range of ways of taking control of the budget for their support. The duty applies to adults, young people, children and carers.

‘Self-directed support’ gives people more choice and control over their social care support, but the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland wanted to determine if the second option (the supported person directs how the money for their support should be spent but does not hold the budget directly) worked in practice for local authority and voluntary sector providers.

GCU social work researchers were commissioned to analyse their views by Providers & Personalisation, a policy and practice change programme for voluntary sector providers of care and support hosted by the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) with financial support from the Scottish Government.

CCPS represents over 70 of the most substantial care and support providers in Scotland’s third sector, providing support in the areas of community care for adults with disabilities and for older people, youth and criminal justice, addictions, homelessness, and children’s services and family support.

The report found that giving social care organisations the money to care for people but allowing the person in care to direct how the money for their support should be spent is “particularly challenging for organisations working in the current social care system”.

The findings suggested that, interpretations differ according to how public authorities view the tension between personal choice and ‘duty of care’.  This had a significant influence on the procurement and contractual approaches chosen by local authorities.