Your name: Agnieszka Bachleda-Baca
KTP Company: arbnco
Job title: Building Performance Feedback Engineer
University: University of Strathclyde
Highest qualification: MSc Sustainable Engineering: Renewable Energy Systems
What were the objectives of your KTP project?
The aim was to develop a number of building-related e-services for facility managers, based on data collected from buildings (sensors etc.) The scope focused on how to process the building data to extract required information related to building performance and how to deliver timely insights to the end-user.
What attracted you to the role of KTP Associate?
What has the experience of your KTP role been like?
I had great support from both academic and company supervisors, as well as other staff at the company to understand the challenges from both sides. However, I shaped the direction of the project and took the critical decisions. I had resources to develop the skill set required to accomplish the project.
What have been the most positive aspects of your role?
I really enjoyed conferences and other events I have attended. Networking with other researchers and KTP associates was a very good experience. I have attended training beneficial for my future career development, funded from the KTP personal development budget.
One of the great aspects of the project as well is that I have improved my research and scientific writing skills. Overall, the work I have completed is beneficial to the company and I will continue working at the Data Science team after the project finishes, which is very exciting for me.
What have been the biggest challenges?
Time management is challenging and often requires prioritising of tasks in the project. Circumstances of the project change, and it is important to often review the progress against the objectives. Sometimes it is necessary to change the test plan and sometimes even abandon some of the tasks.
Switching to remote working because of the coronavirus outbreak: I think it took some time until people got used to working from home and switched to virtual meetings. Overall, it worked well after some time.
Have there been any unexpected experiences?
Pandemic outbreak and lockdown, which came unexpectedly, causing some uncertainties related to whether the project could be continued. I had to switch to remote work. Luckily the practical part of the project was mostly completed at the time and I have focused on writing academic papers to document outcomes of the project and some additional tasks related to data science, which mostly could be done remotely.
What training and development have you benefited from as a result of working as a KTP Associate?
Ashorne Hill Management training – this was a great opportunity to meet other KTP associates, learn how to manage projects and communicate outcomes to the public. The training included management, marketing and the business side of the project which was great and helpful to improve the soft skills.
Researcher development programme training at University of Strathclyde – Really helpful in improving academic writing and other research skills
Project Focus – Product management and marketing training, with a focus on technology-based products
Online Data Science Certificate – covers several important data science subjects in a practical context, understanding the underpinning theory and concepts, and ingraining the critical thinking process.
How would you describe the unique experience of working as a KTP Associate?
Working as a KTP associate gave me a lot of new experiences related to academic research. I already had some industry experience but working as a researcher was something that I have never done before.
Working between academia and industry gave me an opportunity to be a bridge for knowledge transfer, and I have benefited from it by gathering new unique approaches to problem-solving.
I have also improved my communication and management skills because very often I was the person that had to take the final decision related to project direction. In the partnership, partners don’t always agree on everything. In fact, very often different people have different visions for the project. Being an Associate is challenging and requires being assertive and creative at the same time to find a solution that will work for everyone.
Would you recommend the KTP Associate role to other grads/postgrads? Why?
Working as a KTP Associate is one of the best possible opportunities for post-graduates who are not sure which direction they want to go.
It gives a great opportunity to experience what researcher work at university looks like and how to cooperate with industry partners. On the other hand, the KTP Associate can get familiar with different roles or departments at the company and often has an opportunity to be employed by the company at the end of the project.
Additionally, the personal development budget gives a great opportunity to develop skill sets.
Which 3 words best describe your experience of being a KTP Associate?
Research, innovation, knowledge exchange.
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