KTP Best of the Best Awards 2020 Finalists Announced

Posted on: 09/07/2020
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Awards finalists announced today (July 9), from over 800 industry and societal innovation projects nationwide
  • The awards celebrate the best of KTP’s three-way partnerships between business, academic/research teams and qualified graduates, designed to drive innovation for UK business and organisations
  • Finalists include the first-ever 3D jewellery printing scheme for an insurance company, transformative online training for medical staff, enhanced battery storage capacity in the renewable energy sector, new ways to meet emissions targets, and a system to improve life chances for young people within the justice system


Now more than ever, fresh thinking and different ways of solving challenges are needed to help innovation thrive. The Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme, funded through Innovate UK, has always helped facilitate this, creating collaborative partnerships through which academic/research teams and graduates (known as KTP Associates) come together with businesses and organisations to drive innovation. The programme has brought new discoveries to market, created thousands of graduate jobs and brought innovative solutions to societal problems. Finalists for the KTP Best of the Best Awards 2020 are announced today (9th July 2020).


Of the 33 finalists for 2020, highlights include:


3D printing of heirloom jewellery for insurance claims

Revolutionising jewellery insurance claims, SBS Insurance is now able to facilitate highly sophisticated 3D printing, using precious metals to create replicas of irreplaceable stolen jewellery. The KTP collaboration between SBS Insurance Services, Birmingham City University and KTP Associate Jade Watts (MA, Design Management) increased turnover for the company by £4M and represents a significant digital progression for the industry.

Paul Fairbass, Technical Director, SBS Insurance Services comments, “Claim handling for the jewellery sector has not seen much change in years and is often characterized by slow service and poor customer satisfaction. Through the KTP programme, we are now able to offer customers a much better way of replacing much-loved jewellery, and as a business, we have achieved increased commercial awareness and new sales growth, as well as recruiting new team members.”


Improved life chances via the youth justice system

Meanwhile in Manchester, positive change has been achieved through a collaboration between Positive Steps, Manchester Metropolitan University and KTP Associate, Anna Jones (PhD Criminology).

A new framework of youth justice practice created with young people in the criminal justice system has resulted in improved engagement with youth justice services, and improved life chances. The framework is the first of its kind in the UK to be co-created with the young people themselves and was facilitated via the use of boxing, rap lyric writing and urban art workshops.

Professor Hannah Smithson, Professor of Criminology and Youth Justice at Manchester Metropolitan University said, “Young people in the criminal justice system are rarely given a say in decisions made about them. Our Knowledge Transfer Partnership enabled a positive new approach which believes in their right to participate and supports them to do so.”


Enhanced energy storage for flow batteries in the renewables sector

Recent winner of the Young Professionals Green Energy Innovation Award, KTP Associate Dr Declan Bryans has a PhD in ElectroChemistry and is working in a KTP with manufacturer, Mersen UK, alongside a team at University of Strathclyde to bring about a key innovation that improves renewable energy management globally.

The activation process he developed leads to substantially increased performance efficiencies in flow batteries and could have applications across the national grid and the automotive industry, amongst others. This could mean that renewable energy is used more efficiently and power storage capacity is increased for power stations.

“Coming from a scientific background, the KTP has provided training….in leadership management, project management, and business principles that allow me to effectively communicate with a larger range of professionals to ensure the successful delivery of this product from laboratory concept to commercial production” commented Bryans.


Transformative online training for GPs 

It is essential that GPs and other medical staff are up to date with all the latest developments and information, ideally 24/7 – now more than ever. The partnership between online medical learning provider Red Whale, Dr Blessing Mbipom (PhD e-learning recommendation) and the University of Reading has made this possible. Whilst online training is nothing new, Red Whale excels in high levels of engagement and learning effectiveness. Its digital content is clearly branded, identifiable by its customers and provides clinicians with a SMARTER (Scientific, Multi-disciplinary, Action focussed, Responsive, Time-efficient, Engaging and Reactive) learning experience, that they can immediately use in their professional practice. The KTP has enabled the company to transform from a traditional training provider to a leading online specialist with 50 team members and training over 15,000 primary care clinicians every year.

The project was shortlisted for the prestigious Learning Performance Institute’s Digital Learning Transformation Awards and won ON24’s Annual “Webinars that Rocked” Award beating 127 entries from across the world, including SAP and Thomson Reuters.

KTP Associate Dr Blessing Mbipom is also a role model to BAME students across The University of Reading; and in the wider community as a STEM Ambassador, as well as being an inspirational woman in technology encouraging female Year 10-12 school students to take-up computer-based careers.


A world-first hybrid/electric off-road green military machine opens up opportunities to help meet vehicle emissions targets and enhance off-road capabilities

Thanks to a Knowledge Transfer Partnership between SC Group-Global Ltd, University of Exeter and KTP Associate Matt Harvey, environmentally sustainable, off-road electric propulsion technology is now in the fast lane. For Supacat, this means they have been able to bring more efficient hybrid and electric drive technologies to their military operations vehicles, which have been developed to keep pace with battlefield logistical requirements on extreme terrain and unpredictable conditions. This will also benefit the emergency services and utilities sectors, particularly in challenging off-road environments.

For the rest of the world, this innovation is opening up new opportunities for electrification and hybridisation design and manufacturing in other sectors such as marine, emergency response, disaster relief and hazardous environments.

The project has generated substantially increased revenue for Supacat, who is now recognised internationally as a leader in electric hybrid drivetrains for high mobility vehicles; while the University of Exeter is now a partner in a consortium recently winning £30M from UKRI in the ‘Driving the Electric Revolution’ challenge and has formed a new Centre for Future Clean Mobility in 2020 with the backing of more than 20 companies.

Dr Steve Welch, Director, Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), which helps deliver the KTP programme for Innovate UK, comments, “Over the last 45 years, KTPs have spearheaded a transformation in over 12,000 organisations across every sector of the UK economy. A strong contributor to the success of the programme is the way that it introduces a different way of thinking and a new culture of innovation, enabling companies to apply and embed academic knowledge to solve real-world challenges. From Belfast to Bradford, Cardiff to Crewe, Strathclyde to Southampton, KTPs are driving innovation and providing talented graduates with a fantastic career platform leading projects that help create positive change—for individuals, organisations and society—throughout the UK.”


There are six categories in this year’s KTP Best of the Best Awards:

– Best KTP Partnership
– Business Impact Award
– Engineering Excellence Award
– Best Knowledge Base KTP Team (supported by Praxis Auril)
– Future Innovator (supported by Ashorne Hill)
– Societal Impact Award (supported by UKRI).

Winners of the KTP Best of the Best Awards will be announced at a “virtual” ceremony on Wednesday 9 September. Registration for the event is now open here – do join us!

A copy of this Press release announcing the finalists can be downloaded from here.



Funding competitions for KTP are open throughout the year. You can find out more about KTP and how to apply here.

The KTP programme is now complemented by the Management KTP (mKTP), with a specific focus on improving management effectiveness via collaborations with UK Business Schools. mKTP is funded by the UK Government department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through Innovate UK. A one-hour webinar briefing for mKTP is being held at 10am on Friday 24 July and you can register here.

KTPs are funded by UKRI through Innovate UK with the support of co-funders, including the Scottish Funding Council, Welsh Government, Invest Northern Ireland, Defra and BEIS. Innovate UK manages the KTP programme and facilitates its delivery through a range of partners including the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), Knowledge Bases and Businesses. Each partner plays a specific role in the support and delivery of the programme.

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