Developing Talent through Knowledge Exchange

Developing Talent through Knowledge Exchange

Teesside-SoR-IntroTeesside University puts knowledge exchange – a collaborative approach to problem solving that delivers mutual learning and innovation – at the heart of successful university-business interactions.

It’s a highly effective way of creating and embedding new knowledge, delivering value to graduate, business and university, and building strong and enduring relationships.

The model is based on applying academic expertise to strategic business challenges, and recruiting able graduates, under joint supervision, to deliver. Teesside has a strong track record of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) and Knowledge Exchange Internships (KEIs) – a tailored model developed for SMEs.

Of Teesside KTPs completed in the past 5 years, 50% have been judged ‘outstanding’, and 90% ‘outstanding’ or ‘very good’ – and at over 2.1 KTPs per 100 members of academic staff, the intensity is high.

The experience of Teesside graduate Barry Moore, who joined Mech-Tool Engineering as a KTP Associate to increase the efficiency of manufacturing processes, illustrates the benefits. The project, recently judged ‘outstanding’ by Innovate UK, also featured in the November 2015 KTP Best of the Best awards, where Barry won the prestigious title of Business Leader of the Future.

Barry, now Business Improvement Manager with Mech-Tool and completing a PhD, says: “The KTP provided a fantastic opportunity to work alongside experienced and talented people from Mech-Tool Engineering and Teesside University, applying skills learned at university on a challenging industrial problem.”

To help innovative SMEs who may not be ready for a full KTP, Teesside introduced the shorter KEI, with ERDF grant support. Since 2012, no fewer than 45 KEIs have proved an excellent route to innovation, at the same time as growing knowledge and skills on all sides, and demonstrating the value of graduate talent to company performance.

A KEI followed by a KTP helped landscape architects Colour Urban Design unlock new technologies, equipping academics and graduates with new capabilities. After completing a KEI applying Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology to a major new college development, Adam Hay was taken on to integrate BIM into company projects.

Adam said: “I’ve been using the technology to help the landscape architect. It’s meant I’ve been kept very busy with lots of new problems to solve and fix, and also learn new knowledge and skill sets.”

Stephen Blacklock, Technical Director at Colour, said: “Adam’s KEI has allowed the company to take on more complex BIM projects and is also helping… drive efficiencies and work towards ISO accreditation which will help secure more work.”

Henry Fenby-Taylor was appointed to a KTP in the same company in November 2013 as a BIM system designer, to apply project management standards and enhance software productivity and efficiency.

He has since been appointed by the Royal Chartered Institute for Landscape Architects to write a major new book, ‘BIM for Landscape’, the first of its kind, for landscape practitioners, project leaders and
decision-makers.

Henry said: “Having the chance to work with both professionals and academics in this area is unique and we are doing some cutting-edge work.”

Academic supervisor Dr Mohamad Kassem added: “This is benefiting the University through an increased understanding of current and emerging technologies used in landscape architecture.”

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