We look back on the exceptional achievements and contribution to KTP at Manchester Metropolitan University of this distinguished individual.

This year, the KTP Best of the Best Awards features a new category: Most Effective Initiative from a KTP Office team. The Award is supported by Praxis Auril and inspired by Dr David Woollard. For those of you who didn’t know David – who sadly died last year – we thought we’d tell you a little about this remarkable man, whose contribution to KTP was so significant. 

Highly accomplished in both the business and academic worlds, David had a unique mix of skills, competencies and expertise, spanning technical, academic, research (PhD in Polymer Science), commercial and business development.  His accountancy and finance background was also highly valued by the KTP team at Manchester Metropolitan University, (Man Met), an institution where David worked from 2000 until his death last year.  

Having joined Man Met as a Senior Lecturer in the university’s Business School Woollard developed a dual-role, with responsibility for Business Development within the Faculty.  He was Head of Business Development in the Business School until 2010, where he led KTP development and was extremely outward facing, drawing companies into the university for a range of commercial opportunities, and leading the team.

He was then Special Projects Manager for the Centre for Enterprise until 2013, in which he strategically managed Innospace (the university’s incubator), as well as many other commercial projects, always further developing KTPs. David’s contribution to the Business School was huge, with his business development skills and academic standing, including the publication of key papers on the Triple Helix and the third mission of universities.

In 2013, David proposed a strategy to centralise KTP management at Man Met. At the point of centralisation MMU had 2 KTPs. David set a target of 25 KTPs which he achieved by December 2017. As the Man Met Eulogy noted:

“[David Woollard] was most recently responsible for vastly increasing the University’s Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) portfolio, which currently places Manchester Met within the top 10 Universities for the number of KTPs in the country.

Most recently, the University’s KTP in criminology and youth justice was shortlisted in the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards of 2019.

David will not only be remembered for how he helped enhance the University’s reputation through outstanding KTP performance rankings, but for his overall contributions to our community and the highly successful and professional people he developed and managed, who will carry on his legacy”.

David is also remembered by Fiona Nightingale, a Senior Knowledge Transfer Adviser at KTN who worked with David on KTP for over 20 years:

Working with David was a pleasure. He was one of our greatest KTP champions and he worked tirelessly to support companies and academics with the development of their proposals. With his enthusiasm for KTP he grew Man Met’s portfolio from just 2 to over 25 and every partnership was treated with the same level of care and attention.

He made the KTP journey a pleasure for the partnerships and put Man Met on the map as a major player in KTP. His is a perfect inspiration for this award as, under his direction, he grew Man Met’s KTP portfolio, grew the KTP team and also brought in KTP recruitment, HR, contract and finance functions to his KTP Unit establishing a cradle to grave service and a one-stop shop for all things KTP in Man Met.

He was also active regionally and was the chair of the NW KTP Managers Group prior to his death. I will miss him as a trusted, highly professional colleague who was also fun to work with and a good friend”.

Russ Bromley, another KTA who studied with Woollard added: “I’ve known David since we were studying for the Diploma in Management Studies in the early seventies and David won the prize for being the highest scoring candidate in the Manchester region. He received his Diploma personally from Shirley Williams, the then Secretary of State for Education. David was a champion for KTP at Manchester Met, and he will be sorely missed.”

The finalists for the Awards category inspired by David Woollard  (Most Effective Initiative from a KTP Office team, Award supported by Praxil Auril) are:

Aston University

North of Scotland KTP Centre.  

Winners of the KTP Best of the Best Awards will be announced at a special “virtual” ceremony on Wednesday 9 September. You can register to attend and find out more here. 


Since writing this piece, the finalists of the KTP Best of the Best Awards have been announced – and Man Met features heavily, with five projects on the shortlist. An incredible achievement in itself but even more remarkably, we have just learnt that David was involved in all of them! 

In recognising him via the new KB Award in the KTP Best of the Best Awards this year, we had hoped to commemorate a distinguished individual whose contribution to KTP was so remarkable. That, as it happens, he has contributed to so many of the projects on the finalists’ list this year is further testimony to the lasting impact he continues to have on so many exceptional KTP projects. 





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