In the second part of the Future Leaders finalists blog, we take a look at selected Associates who have shown exceptional skills, above and beyond the normal expectations of a KTP Associate, in driving and delivering innovation strategy; demonstrating great teamwork and outstanding leadership potential.

Lulu Qu,
Judge Sampson, University of Brighton

Lulu acted as an Associate during a KTP between the University of Brighton and the leading importer and producer of tourist products – Judge Sampson

The project aimed to implement cutting-edge digital transformation of marketing approaches, and redevelop new business processes that increase productivity, brand recognition and market share. The KTP hoped to attract new design clients, whilst maintaining flexible product customisation for customers.

Lulu was instrumental in directing and influencing the activities of the whole organisation, including implementing new management techniques among the senior leadership team to help keep priorities on track. This included instilling a no-blame culture and turning challenges into growth opportunities, revolutionising how the family business has operated from a process point of view. 


Matthew Ellison,
Arktis Endurance Textiles, University of Lincoln

In collaboration with the University of Lincoln, Arktis Endurance Textiles sought to enhance the understanding of load carriage and utilise scientific knowledge to modify designs to reduce musculoskeletal injuries. This KTP aimed to bring scientific principles and biomechanical analysis techniques to enhance the research and development process for police, military and outdoor load-bearing equipment. 

Despite the UK going into its first national lockdown on Matthew‘s first day, the first year of the KTP Workplan was completed within 9-months – a testament to Matthew’s hard work, perseverance and incredible skill set. His ability to communicate and work as part of a team has allowed him to exceed expectations from the beginning.

Within the first 9 months, the team captured motion data to quantify how operational police equipment alters running mechanics. Matthew worked tirelessly to analyse a vast dataset, and identify where vest fit potentially altered running mechanics linked with injury. Matthew led the writing of a patent for the new design, liaising with the patent attorney and only reaching out to the supervisory team to double-check his approach.

Matthew Holland,
Shapemaster, Manchester Metropolitan University

Shapemaster design, manufacture, and sell power-assisted exercise equipment to the leisure and rehabilitation sectors in the UK and Scandinavia. By collaborating with Manchester Metropolitan University, they hoped to embed new-to-company design and modelling capabilities to facilitate the development of new-to-market products, driving significant sales growth in leisure and rehabilitation markets.

The project was a complex, multidisciplinary challenge that required Matthew to synthesise user physiology and exercise and rehabilitation pathways to create a novel design approach that led to the development of industry-first machines. Matthew took ownership of this from day one and displayed exemplary leadership qualities throughout. 

Matthew represented the partnership at academic conferences, where his poster submission won an award and enhanced his, Shapemaster’s, and MMU’s reputation for innovation and impact on the international stage.

Matt Maufe,
Filament AI, University of Warwick

Filament’s collaboration with the University of Warwick aimed to build an intelligent question-answering system (chatbot) using Natural Language Processing. The system ingests a set of text documents and answers user questions, posed in natural language, benefitting clients in a variety of industries.

Matt had a strong positive impact on cohesion and process improvement within the data science team at Filament, having quickly built rapport and become a trusted advisor and mentor. Matt has a natural talent for engaging and building relationships with stakeholders outside his immediate team, which provided vital guidance and direction for the project in recent weeks.

During his short time with Filament so far, Matt has proven himself to be a very capable and dependable member of the team, able to combine his software engineering acumen and innate curiosity with a natural set of interpersonal and time management skills that put him firmly on a steep trajectory towards becoming a future technology leader.

Max Nentwich,
Cambridge Vacuum Engineering, Cranfield University

Laser welding of metallic components using high-powered discs and fibre lasers has become commonplace in the automotive and aerospace manufacturing industries. Laser welding gives very low heat input into a part compared with other welding techniques.

Cambridge Vacuum Engineering, in partnership with Cranfield University, sought to embed novel technical capabilities to commercialise innovative world-leading welding technology. The objectives of this KTP are to understand the key process fundamentals during the melting of metals in a vacuum and the effect of pressure on the stability of liquid metal, weld vapour generation and final joint quality.

Max understood the state of the market in power beam welding with little guidance. His reporting, along with his effective scientific testing methods, has enabled him to establish machine specifications and sales opportunities very early on. Upon finding a solution to a problem, Max is flawless in reporting and presenting the information to less scientifically experienced peers.

Max displays exceptional abilities in areas such as analysing a process to understand the fundamental physics and understanding market opportunities. He successfully took leadership in developing a solution to a problem whilst considering all of the wider factors that affect integrating a technical development from the laboratory onto a mass-production industrial machine.

Nour Rteil,
Techbuyer, University of East London

Techbuyer is a sustainable IT hardware solutions provider that specialises in product life extension for servers, storage and networking. It has an IT Asset Disposition division, which provides secure, environmentally friendly services for the removal and treatment of redundant ICT.

In collaboration with the University of East London and programming and research expert, Nour, this KTP aimed to create and embed sophisticated data centre modelling capabilities focused on driving the circular economy and the green environment agenda.

With a singular ability to carry out the highly technical front line, innovative research, direct research questions and methodology and finally report these in an easily digestible manner, Nour shows all the qualities of a top rate Head of Research. 

Qiong Bu,
Fitfactory Innovations Ltd, University of Liverpool

Qiong (also known as Amber Bu) worked on a KTP with Fitfactory Innovations Ltd. and the University of Liverpool. Fitfactory delivers supply chain management software for manufacturing companies to improve cost, delivery and quality by collaborating with their customers and suppliers. 

The objective of the KTP was the development of a secure digital platform for sharing and trading business intelligence using distributed ledger (blockchain) and privacy-preserving data processing technologies. 

Amber demonstrated an extraordinary ability to apply technologies to business settings, showing strong teamwork and leadership skills. This included leading company participation in the EFPF European-wide consortium for developing a digital European Connected Factory Platform for Agile Manufacturing. 

Amber showed a keen interest in working with students. She proposed and supervised an MSc group project at the University of Liverpool which was focused on exploring the areas directly relevant to the KTP. Amber was also awarded the Outstanding Employee Award by the company last year in reflection of her excellent contribution to Fitfactory Innovations.

Sara Bru Garcia,
The Together Agency, University of Nottingham

Dr Sara Bru Garcia joined a KTP with the University of Nottingham and The Together Agency. Together is a creative marketing agency based in Nottingham, providing services in digital, social media, brand and packaging design.

The KTP aimed to create and embed methodologies to provide behavioural psychology insights to the enhancement of the agency’s reputation, development of the communication/brand strategy and shape client campaigns and projects.

Sara was successful in applying these methodologies to a sophisticated model of behaviour change that synthesizes different psychological barriers (and ways to overcome them) and applied them to the company processes within the Together Agency. To embed this complex model into the Agency, Sara trained professionals new to behavioural science on how to use the models and approach clients’ briefs from a behavioural perspective, which posed several operational and cultural challenges within the company.

The result was a shift in the way Together Agency staff approach projects, including consideration of how behavioural science could impact the work from the early stages.

Sara also increased collaboration with academic groups, including a collaboration between the School of Psychology, the School of English, the Together Agency and Healthcare Research Worldwide. This resulted in an academic publication on the process of bringing together science and creative marketing and communications.

Sneha Parajuli,
SDG Construction Ltd, Queen’s University Belfast

This KTP between SDG, Queen’s University Belfast and Sneha as the Associate, aimed to develop a more strategic and proactive approach to understanding, managing, and engaging with customers and other key stakeholders within their supply chain. 

The KTP strove to restructure the business in an ambitious way. Notably, to improve accountability and create a culture of innovation, to identify opportunities to utilise data to drive activity and provide insights from data. 

Sneha’s role was a significant success possessing key leadership skills that drove the project and the company forward. Despite challenges during the Covid lockdown, Sneha quickly earned a reputation for being analytical, detailed, tenacious, innovative/disruptive, a completer, and a team player. She quickly achieved buy-in from the team by spotting inefficiencies and creating new processes. Additionally, the creation of an innovative knowledge hub, known as ‘SDG Academy’ reflected her commitment to going above and beyond for the KTP. 

Tania Farhat,
AV Unibrak, The University of Manchester

AV Unibrak is one of the UK’s largest independent ventilation companies, which has been providing ventilation solutions for over 20 years.

The KTP project which saw collaboration with The University of Manchester designed, developed and embedded an Industry 4.0-inspired data-driven business model and management information systems that will support the company’s strategic vision of expansion.

Tania demonstrated expertise in operational design, digital systems and change management which combined improved the business performance long term. Tania’s ability to take employees on a journey of change is exemplary.

Register for the KTP Awards 2022

The KTP Awards recognise the people and partnerships behind the UK’s most inspiring and successful KTP projects. Highlighting these outstanding partnerships is just the tip of the iceberg, with more than 800 inspiring collaborations currently happening across the country.

If you want to attend the awards virtually or apply to join us in person, you can register here.

more Insights


Embedding advanced artificial intelligence (AI) capability to develop digital coaching with a KTP Project

05 April, 2023

With KTP project funding KultraLab® will take on an experienced PhD level Associate from the Univer...

Read More

Business advancement with AI made possible through KTP

24 March, 2023

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are transforming the way we live and work and driving real...

Read More
Women in KTP

Stories from Women in KTP: the Power of Collaboration

07 March, 2023

From footwear to cell culture, kit homes to biotech, we hear from women leading innovation-focussed ...

Read More
Women in KTP

Stories from Women in KTP: celebrating International Women's Day

28 February, 2023

The power of collaboration: in the first of our mini series, we hear from leading business women abo...

Read More

Collaboration drives innovation - discover more about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

27 February, 2023

Innovation is the beating heart of progressive, successful companies; so making it happen is key. &...

Read More
KTP Awards 2022

And the Winners are…

14 October, 2022

Thank you to all who joined us both online and in Liverpool for a dazzling ceremony at St. George’...

Read More