Not all businesses are aware of the benefits of academic collaborations. For many, particularly small businesses, it is not on their radar. For others, it might be a consideration but they don’t know how to go about accessing support. For some, even if they are aware of something like Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), the programme isn’t always the appropriate mechanism at this time, particularly if a shorter term solution to a challenge is what is required.
Wrexham Glyndwr University has created an innovative approach to this dilemma. Called the Ladder of Innovation the initiative outlines a flexible, “stepped” approach to academic collaboration, providing a range of solutions depending on the business need and acknowledging that sometimes businesses are better off progressing more gradually towards a KTP.
“Finding the right mechanism for collaborating with academics isn’t always easy” says Laura Gough, Head of Enterprise from the University, “and a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work for all businesses. We developed our Ladder of Innovation in response to this so that – depending on where a business is in terms of its own maturity and challenges – businesses can choose the option that best serves their needs. The Ladder isn’t necessarily a step by step approach – you can hop on at whatever stage is right”.
Mick Card, Knowledge Transfer Adviser at KTN, welcomed the initiative adding “Working with Welsh Government, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and their own investment, Wrexham Glyndwr University has come up with this step-by-step approach towards developing Knowledge Transfer Partnerships – a positive, strategic action to grow KTP activity”.
KTPs have been helping businesses innovate for growth for 45 years. Led by a highly skilled post grad or graduate (KTP Associate) a KTP creates a collaborative partnership between a business and a university, research organisation or Catapult, via which a strategic challenge is addressed. Lasting anything from 12 months to three years, the KTP benefits all three partners. In driving an innovation idea, KTPs embed knowledge and fresh thinking into the business partner, delivering positive economic change with beneficial environmental and societal impacts too.
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