ESRC researchers winning KTP Awards

22 November 2012

Awarding outstanding business-academic partnerships and enterprising individuals, today's KTP Awards 2012 event was also a celebration of ESRC-supported researchers.

ESRC's winning KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership), with KTP Associate Harriet Knowles, Falmouth Harbour Commissioners and the University of Plymouth, was among the eight finalist Best Partnership teams at the Awards. KTP Associates Kate Jones and Katie Flaherty both received a Business Leader of Tomorrow award.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a UK-wide programme overseen by the Technology Strategy Board, and aims to help businesses improve their competitiveness through partnership collaborations with researchers (KTP Associates) on specific projects within the business.

Harriet KnowlesDeveloping a sustainable port

Working with Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC) and the University of Plymouth, KTP Associate Harriet Knowles developed a framework for sustainable port operation. The partnership helped FHC to developed knowledge and expertise to identify potential environmental and socio-economic impacts to the harbour and the region, as well as leading to a substantial increase in annual profits. Instead of resulting in an anticipated £61,650, the KTP directly led to cost savings and income generation of £169,450.

As part of the KTP Knowles investigated current environmental impacts of harbour activities such as anchoring and ballast water discharge, and ways of managing these impacts from shipping and port processes.

The KTP experience also prompted FHC to commission a trial dredging study, acquiring necessary data to speed up the regulatory decision-making process for dredging the port. The model could potentially help other UK ports resolve consenting difficulties.

Kate JonesHelping children with speech problems

Speech and language therapist Kate Jones worked with Newcastle University, the Northumberland Church of England (NCEA) and the local NHS speech and language therapy service to improve learning and communication skills for 3-5 year old children from deprived areas.

As part of her KTP she assessed the working model in one of NCEA's nursery campuses, developed a training package for staff, organised speech and language assessment of more than 500 children, supervised data collection and organised intervention for children with severe speech and language disorders.

She is given the KTP Award as recognition of her exceptional leadership, ability to deliver training to a diverse group of staff, and for quickly establishing herself as the main point of contact.

Katie FlahertyRaising the Phoenix

Katie Flaherty worked to raise the profile of the Leicester-based digital media centre Phoenix, which included an arts cinema, digital media gallery, production studios and education suites. However, the KTP partnership with De Montfort University and Leicester Arts Centre quickly was challenged as owner Leicester Arts Centre got into financial difficulties, forcing a change in Phoenix management and cutbacks in funding.

Flaherty met these difficulties by improving Phoenix's management of digital arts and knowledge of emerging creative technologies, as well as developing new media for audience participation. This work ensured Phoenix achieved National Portfolio Organisation status with Arts Council England, and wider recognition nationally and internationally. Katie Flaherty is now employed by Phoenix as business development manager.