Leading a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project designed to increase animal feed quality and contribute to the sustainability agenda, KTP Associate, David Beattie, outlines the opportunities and challenges of the role.

Name David Beattie

KTP Company Name Davidsons Animal Feeds

University/Knowledge Base Name The James Hutton Institute

Your Highest Qualification Msci Immunology

(See the latest KTP Associate job vacancies here). 

What’s your KTP project all about?

Our project aims to incorporate Scottish seaweeds into a novel range of ruminant animal feeds. This will both improve the nutritional quality of the feed we provide and help reduce our carbon footprint, while positively contributing to the Scottish circular economy.

What attracted you to the role of KTP Associate?

KTP provides a unique blend of industry experience with the opportunity to carry out meaningful research. The project team structure ensures there is always support from experienced specialists, all of which is a rare combination in the graduate job sector. The project in general is also well aligned with my ambitions career-wise.

What have been the most positive aspects of your role?

I get a lot of job satisfaction from this role in so many ways. I’d say the stand outs are a) The project is so relevant as regards its potential to address the  environmental impact of the feeds sector and b) For an early career-stage role it gives me real responsibility and the chance to work with genuine autonomy, all within a well-managed framework. 

What have been the biggest challenges)?

Seaweeds are not nearly as well understood as terrestrial plants, so working to really resolve some of the questions surrounding their value as a feed product can be tricky. However, without doubt, the elephant in the room is the ongoing (COVID) restrictions. It’s been difficult transitioning from office to home-working and coordinating the necessary work remotely, although the KTP structure has proven robust and well organised. We have been able to carry on with the project with minimal disruption thanks to the efforts of all our project’s stakeholders.

How would you describe the unique experience of working as a KTP Associate

Being a KTP Associate is unlike most graduate jobs in that you can personally make a real difference right away. The fact that you are responsible for the day to day work involved as well as making sure key deliverables are realised is very rewarding.

Although it may be intimidating at first, there is an abundance of support, both academically and through the project company. On top of this, each Associate is assigned an experienced Knowledge Transfer Adviser. I’ve found my Adviser to be knowledgeable and someone who genuinely cares not only about the project, but also about me and my career. It’s very reassuring to know there is always help on offer if needed. If not, there is so much scope to make a tangible difference through your project.

Would you recommend the KTP Associate role?

I would recommend KTP to any graduates interested in going into either industry or academia. No two KTPs are the same, and some are very niche. With KTN, industry and academic partners working closely for a common goal, KTP projects offer an invaluable route to exposure to so many situations that may take others years to reach. Many projects also have personal development opportunities, as well as dedicated budgets designated to associate training.

How would you sum up KTP in three words?

Challenging; Versatile; Rewarding.


Find out more about the KTP Associate role here, and see the latest KTP Associate vacancies here. 

Find out more about this project (which has featured widely in national media, including the BBC) here.

This project received funding from Innovate UK.

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