UWE Bristol secure Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Harris Evolution

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UWE Bristol Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) team have secured a new KTP with Harris Evolution, increasing the KTP portfolio to 13 live projects. The project will see Harris Evolution work with the UWE Bristol Business School (BBS).

The application, led by Ellen Parkes from UWE Bristol, was funded under Innovate UKs Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (MKTP) scheme, which was announced in 2019 following a £25m pledge in funding over the next three years from BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy).

Based in Kingswood, Bristol, Harris Evolution is a commercial refurbishment company, specialising in quick turnaround projects carried out whilst the buildings are still in occupation. Harris’ work is targeted within three main sectors; Education, Healthcare and Hotel/Leisure.

The 24-month KTP project aims to implement transformational innovation through an Advanced Services approach to contract development and development of leadership capacity and will be led by Dr Kyle Alves , Dr Mel Smith and Professor Gareth Edwards (BBS). Through the collaboration with UWE, Harris will move from a standardised service offer to implementing outcome-based service contracts, tailored around individual customer value.

This partnership received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme. KTP aims to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. This successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership project, funded by UK Research and Innovation through Innovate UK, is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Find out more about KTP’s at UWE Bristol here .

Launch Space Resident secures funding for business from Deliveroo

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Callum Jenkins at The Big Pitch. Photo credit: Deliveroo

Launch Space resident Callum Jenkins has secured funding from Deliveroo after pitching his business idea to the company’s chief executive and founder.

Callum set up his own business ESNO Media, a commercial drone services company, in 2018 and has been based in Launch Space, part of the University Enterprise Zone since June 2019. Callum has been working as a courierfor food delivery service Deliveroo alongside running his own business.

Callum entered and was successful in securing funding from Deliveroo’s The Big Pitch, which enabled their riders to pitch their business ideas in a Dragons Den style competition.

Callum’s winning pitch focused on providing future Drone services in new sectors and combining this with new forms of technology such as AI and IoT.

Callum commented that The Big Pitchs investment will be hugely beneficial, enabling me to expand ESNO faster and develop our new concept.”

He says the Deliveroo funding will help him invest in “cutting-edge” software, take on specialists and utilise market-leading drones.

This, in turn, will help generate new revenue and expand the business into a technology-based drone company.

Callum also said how helpful being part of the Launch Space has been in terms of broadening his knowledge of technology, as a brilliant sounding board for his business and helped him towards his personal development as an entrepreneur.

Congratulations to Callum on this great achievement.


Located in the new £16m University Enterprise Zone on Frenchay Campus, Launch Space provides physical incubator space and enterprise support for graduate start-up businesses.

Launch Space will receive up to £2,000,000 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is the programme’s Managing Authority. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects that support innovation, businesses, job creation and local community regeneration.

Bristol Robotics Laboratory manufacture visors for NHS staff

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Original post appeared on UWE Bristol website.

Technicians at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) are using laser cutting technology to produce protective visors for NHS staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

A team are manufacturing an initial batch of 200 for staff working at Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership (AWP) NHS Trust. They plan to expand production with the support of 3D printing facilities and technicians across three UWE Bristol faculties.

The cleanable visors are being created using an approved design by University College London. The team also plans to manufacture surgical mask straps, which help prevent masks rubbing against the ears of clinical staff.

Gareth Griffiths, a Senior Engineering Manager in BRL’s Robotics Innovation Facility (RIF), said: “The trust approached us asking if we could supply PPE and we were very happy to use our facilities and expertise to help with their request.

“The visors can be made very quickly, with the manufacture process taking about two-and-a-half minutes for each visor. They are made from smooth laser-cut plastic so they can be easily cleaned and reused if necessary.”

Read the full post here.

UWE Researchers’ ‘Real Time’ Response to Covid-19

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Guest blog: Ben Mitchell, Research Impact Team

As a result of their expertise in Public Health, Emergency Medical Care, Knowledge Mobilisation, Maths and Computer Modelling, and other such related areas, a number of UWE researchers have been approached or volunteered in assisting with the country’s efforts to tackle Covid-19. A selection of these researchers can be found below. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

UWE Researchers and the Clinical Commissioning Groups

As part of UWE’s response to Covid-19, researchers from UWE have been working with the local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) to provide evidence to support rapid decision making. The CCG are the people charged with making healthcare decisions locally and they are currently grappling with things such as: what do we need to do? where do we need to pool our resources? what types of treatment are needed? how do we need to respond? The local CCG includes healthcare providers in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Professor Nicki Walsh

Within the local CCG ‘cells’ have been established, acting as working groups purely in response to the impact that Covid-19 is having on current healthcare. Many issues have come up including: home monitoring of symptoms, impact on mental health and impact of healthcare workers’ absenteeism. These issues have come up as people look to manage problems most effectively and efficiently. The Research and Evidence Team at the CCG, along with Professor Nicki Walsh who works across UWE, the CCG and the Applied Research Collaborative (ARC-West) are working with the local commissioners to manage these requests. These important questions are then fed to the Applied Research Collaborative West team, who co-ordinate researchers from UWE and the University of Bristol, creating a rapid response team to retrieve and synthesise evidence, or provide other advice to support evaluation, healthcare modelling, statistics and economics.

The emphasis of this approach is the rapid turnaround system. Most requests are processed within 48 hours from the point of the CCG submitting a question, to the academic providing that support and reporting back to the CCG. Nicki is the overall co-ordinator at UWE for all this because of her work across the different partner organisations.

In place, there is now a good pool of UWE and UoB researchers ready to respond to calls for assistance as and when they come in. Nicki says the response from academics has been excellent and hugely encouraging:

“This service requires academics to work in such a different way. Because it’s quick and by necessity not as in depth as traditional evidence reviews. Traditionally things can often progress quite slowly, but it’s been a totally different response and things are getting turned around quickly”.

An example of the CCG requests came at the start of April, concerning the accuracy of self-monitoring heart rate, respiratory rate and oxygen saturation in patients with symptoms suggestive of COVID infection.  Other reviews that UWE researchers have been involved in include: the potential impact of COVID-19 on mental health outcomes and the implications for service solutions, Dr Faith Martin, and how to retain infection control amongst residents with dementia and a tendency to walk with purpose, Professor Rik Cheston.

Nicki explained in more detail how resources were best pooled:

“All academics involved have suggested what their skill set is so we have a really good idea who can do what. If it’s something incredibly specific like health economics for example, there may only be quite a small pool of people who can contribute to that. But for things like evidence synthesis most academics are able respond to these requests. The emphasis at the minute is ensuring that we’re able to provide good enough evidence to help with decision making in a rapid responsive way.”

Nicki also suggested how the work could benefit future collaborative research opportunities:

“I think it’s really innovative and supportive to our NHS colleagues. It also potentially creates further questions that could be researched later.”

The evidence syntheses are being regularly updated and are openly available here.

Professor Julie Mytton

Julie Mytton is a Professor of Child Health and a member of HAS’s Centre for Health and Clinical Research. She has specialised in public health research since 2006, with a particular interest in injuries and injury prevention. She is also a qualified medic.

Julie is one of many other UWE academics working with the Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing who are receiving calls for work from the CCG (via Nicki Walsh). She has also been in contact with University Hospitals Bristol NHS trust, and as a medic has joined their bank staff, providing clinical care support as and when needed.

Julie also noted that there is a Public Health Registrar, Alasdair Wood, based at UWE to offer further support.

Professor Jonathan Benger

Jonathan Benger, a Professor in Emergency Care and a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, has been released from his current clinical and academic duties, at the request of the National Medical Director, to assist in leading the national response to Coronavirus in his role as interim Chief Medical Officer at NHS Digital.

Professor Jo Michell

Jo Michell is an Associate Professor in Economics. His current research interests include macroeconomics, money and banking and income distribution. As soon as the nationwide lockdown was announced, Jo co-wrote a paper for the journal Autonomy outlining how “in order to cope with the increasingly severe reduction in economic activity in the UK, guaranteeing the incomes of all those who are eligible for in-work or out-of-work benefits is rapidly becoming a necessary policy lever.

This idea was picked up by John McDonnell (the then Shadow Chancellor), and it’s possible it may have played a role in influencing Rishi Sunak’s (the Chancellor) subsequent announcements. A follow up letter by Jo and 97 other economists was penned to The Times, and published on Monday 23rd March, “insisting that the government goes significantly further in its economic response to the Covid-19 crisis.”

Professor Matthew Jones

Matthew Jones is Associate Professor in Public Health. His research specialises in the contribution that third sector and civil society initiatives make towards promoting public health and wellbeing. Mat and other colleagues in the Centre for Public Health and Wellbeing (CPHWB) have authored a report entitled Apart but not Alone: Neighbour Support and the Covid-10 Lockdown.

Carried out in Bristol and the West Country between 6th-12th April 2020, over 500 respondents reported back on neighbourhood initiatives during lockdown restrictions. A whole range have sprung up in recent weeks: social media support groups, food and medication collections, telephone calls, Zoom chats, leafleting. Interestingly, many neighbourhood groups were already in place before formal local/national efforts had been mobilised.

Of those who responded, the overwhelming majority felt that neighbours were supporting each other well. Mat Jones et.al did note however contrasting answers from those based in areas of high social disadvantage, with an emphasis on such neighbours supporting people with financial difficulties, those with disabilities or mobility issues, and people without easy access to outdoor spaces.

Perhaps most noteworthy were the gender in-balance responses (80% female): “an important issue is whether the practical and emotional work of supporting neighbours is falling disproportionately on women.”

Professor Sue Durbin

Sue Durbin is Professor in Human Resource Management and is a member of the Centre for Employment Studies Research in FBL. Sue has researched and written on gender and employment, specialising in women who work in male dominated industries. She is a co-founder, along with Airbus, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Aeronautical Society, of the alta mentoring scheme, a bespoke industry-wide mentoring programme designed for women/by women. Mentors and mentees can connect to this mentoring platform online or in person.

It is within the context of Covid-19 that alta can be seen to play a crucial role, with existing and new members utilising its online tool. Indeed, the value of online mentoring has never been so important, as Sue explains:

“It may become a time for mentors and mentees to take stock of where they are in their careers and where they would like to go.

Mentors can therefore best be utilised via the alta platform, at a safe distance but offering comfort and advice to women who may be feeling especially isolated, vulnerable or lacking confidence if their roles have been furloughed. Or they may simply want to reach out and turn the current situation into a more positive one.

“During the current pandemic, the restrictions on movement and new ways of working remotely have resulted in a physical disconnect from family, friends and colleagues. For those who already have an established mentoring relationship, this can be a crucial source of support, facilitating an opportunity for both mentor and mentee to discuss concerns and keep connected during this unprecedented time.”

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships: Powerline Technologies Ltd Associate Spotlight

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Photo: UWE KTP Associate Minh Trang

Based in Bristol, Powerline Technologies Ltd deliver next generation Smart Grid distribution automation solutions to utilities and Distribution Systems/Network Operators (DSO/DNO) worldwide. Since starting in June 2019, the Knowledge Transfer Partnership with UWE Bristol has been working to create a novel simulator of electrical distribution assets for Smart Grid application development.

Minh Trang has been leading the project as the KTP Associate. We spoke to Trang, 9 months into the project to find out how she has found the KTP so far:

How long have you been a KTP Associate?

I started the role in June 2019 so I’ve almost been in the post for a year.

What attracted you to the KTP role?

I came from a PhD and what I liked about the KTP was the possibility of continuing to manage my own project whilst working for a local company with the potential to be employed with the company on completion. The KTP also offers great opportunities for continuing professional development alongside the project via the £4,000 development budget.

How is the partnership between UWE and the company working?

It’s been working really well. I’ve been learning a lot from UWE Power Systems Research Laboratory about algorithms and methods for analysing and driving the project and Powerline Technologies have been supporting me with the practical knowledge for running the project more efficiently.

What are the current challenges of your role?

The challenges have mostly been technical, ensuring the correct application of data, getting used to new software packages and determining the most effective models for the project. However, I have been supported by my company and academic supervisors throughout all of this, which I’m really grateful for.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It would have to be the experience that I’m gaining in managing a challenging, real-life project, which I think is a vitally important skill for my future career plans.

What do you think about the support available from UWE and the Company?

It’s been great, my Academic Supervisor (Hassan Nouri) is really knowledgeable and has deepened my understanding of the field. I also feel really engaged with the team at Powerline and enjoy being part of their working environment.

To find out more about the Knowledge Transfer Partnership opportunities at UWE, visit our website


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (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.  

Grants 4 Growth: Receive funding for research collaboration projects with UWE Bristol

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The Grants 4 Growth programme (G4G) is an initiative which helps to fund projects worth up to £10,000 for businesses looking to collaborate with UWE Bristol researchers and access research facilities. It is a joint application process between the business and the academic staff at UWE Bristol.

The funding is available explicitly for projects that will help lead to deeper university-business collaboration, as it is sourced from the Government’s Industrial Strategy. Follow on projects could include Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) and InnovateUK collaborative R&D calls.

Andy Ben-Dyke from LuJam Cyber talks about his experience with the scheme below:

The UWE project was a major milestone for LuJam Cyber. From a LuJam perspective, the work clearly identified issues with our approach to protecting small to medium sized business and helped us to pivot our solution to significantly better protect our customers. This has helped us stay in business and, in fact, thrive.  I cannot overstate how important this was for our company.

The UWE work was carried out in a timely and professional manner, and it was a pleasure to work with the team.  The approach taken throughout the project was innovative and far exceeded what we could have achieved in-house.  We’d strongly recommend this type of collaboration to other companies

This is an open call, therefore applications can be made to this funding all year round. However the decision making panel will review applications 4 times a year, so it is advisable to be aware of those timescales when liaising with the business you hope to work with. Completed applications should be sent 2 weeks before the decision panel meet.

If you’d like to find out more or would like help to be paired up with an academic, get in touch today Grants4Growth@uwe.ac.uk

UWE Bristol Research Impact Retreats

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In January, the Research Impact team hosted a two day writing retreat for selected academics from UWE Bristol.

The retreat was the last one in a series of away days that have taken place since last June for the different faculties at UWE Bristol.

The two-day retreats allow academics to think about their research case studies away from campus enabling them the opportunity to fine tune and edit their work.

The impact team helps the academics to fine tune their work so that it is in a good position to submit for the Research Excellence Framework 2021.

All four retreats have been extremely well received, with glowing feedback from attendees:

Very many thanks for organising and initiating for us such a brilliant retreat.  It has made a huge difference to me – I would never have made this progress without it!”  Participant A

“The experience has been really excellent (and I know others have said the same). The structure, information, advice, hospitality and good humour that the RBI team provided was exceptional. As a result it was possible – in bite-sized chunks – to get tuned into the specifics of what was needed and then review and revise the case study material as well as getting critical feedback on it in near real-time.”  Participant B

I found the structure and flow of activities well-structured and relaxed, which is exactly what was needed to get us talking to each other and working on our case studies. Thank you for not ‘forcing’ us into unnecessary “workshop standard” activities, which usually involve flip-charts, felt-tip pens and post-it notes! This is an element I’m always dreading in mandatory workshops/seminars and not having it, is what made me feel more comfortable and got me concentrating on the task at hand.”  Participant C

Read some of UWE Bristol’s Research with Impact Case Studies here

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships: Agsenze Associate Spotlight

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(L-R) April Coombes (UWE), Professor Melvyn Smith (UWE), Dr Gytis Bernotas (UWE), Dr Mark Hansen (UWE), Geraint Jones (Innovate UK), James Theobald (Agsenze) pictured at the Agri-EPI Centre in Shepton Mallet.

Since April 2019, UWE have been collaborating on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Agsenze, a company focused on developing smart technology within agriculture. The two-year project intends to realise the functionality of a system for improved dairy herd management using novel animal monitoring technology.

We spoke to Gytis Bernotas, who obtained his BEng and PhD from UWE, and is now leading the project as the KTP Associate.

How long have you been a KTP Associate?

I started in April 2019, so almost a year.

What attracted you to the KTP role?

I was drawn to a KTP because of the opportunity to work with a company and university. It’s a very rewarding setup because you experience state-of-the-art research being immediately realised in real-world scenarios, rather than be hidden in the desk drawer.

How is the partnership between UWE and the company working?

The partnership is working very well. We are circulating the best thoughts and ideas from experts in academia and people from the business world. The company is benefitting from the expertise and novelty, while the university receives publicity and recognition with academic journal publications.

What are the current challenges of your role?

The biggest challenge is time! I’m working for a start-up company trying to establish itself in a market niche in a timely manner.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really enjoy the problem solving, but most importantly I really believe in the product and how it will revolutionise cattle welfare and, hopefully, other livestock in the future.

What do you think about the support available from UWE and the Company?

I get great support from the company, my academic supervisors and the UWE KTP Team. The KTP Team are always on hand to provide advice and project support. My supervisors provide opportunities and support to research different ideas that have potential for Agsenze’s business model, such as the developing tool positioning or its hardware alterations.

UWE Bristol Women in Research Mentoring Scheme

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The Women in Research Mentoring Scheme (WRMS) has been successfully running at UWE Bristol for 6 years. The scheme matches female researchers to a mentor (male or female) in order to provide mentees with encouragement, support from experienced colleagues to fulfil their research aspirations.

WRMS is available to all women in academic and research roles, employed by UWE, who wish to develop their research careers.

In the longer term, this scheme helps to achieve the strategic aim of increasing the number of women in senior research roles across UWE Bristol.

From 2013 to February 2019, over 300 members of staff have participated in the scheme. Currently the scheme has a 94% satisfaction rate and 88% would recommend the scheme to others.

Dr Laura Fogg-Rogers is the academic co-chair of the scheme, and commented: “I have progressed from being a mentee in the WRMS scheme, to being a mentor, and finally now taking on the Co-Chair role. Meeting with such a supportive community of UWE women academics has really inspired me to further my own research career, and I am keen to support other women to do the same”. 

Feedback from mentees has been positive:

As a new researcher, it has been inspiring and supportive to be part of this scheme. Meeting other women in the same position has given me the impetus to prioritise my personal research profile”

“I was paired up very well and so was able to find out lots about local groups in an overlapping area of interest, but I also received support and advice”

Pam Fitzsimmons co-chair of WRMS commented: “We are really pleased with the results of the scheme to date and look forward to helping more female researchers in the future”

Find out more about the scheme here.

Celebrating 1,000 Degree Apprenticeships at UWE Bristol

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In January, UWE Bristol reached 1,000 degree apprenticeships.

Degree apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with study for a higher level qualification, giving you the highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce your business needs.

UWE Bristol degree apprenticeships are suitable and tailored for both levy-payers as well as SMEs.

UWE Bristol works in collaboration with employers from the public and private sectors to design suitable programmes that meet business needs so new courses are frequently being developed.

David Barrett, Director of Apprenticeships at UWE Bristol, shared some of his thoughts with Wonkhe oh how far apprenticeships have come:

“Apprenticeships have come back from the wilderness as employers and students appreciate their huge ability to gain practical qualifications that meet real skills needs, with students earning while they learn and contributing to increased productivity so vital to our future economic success.

Apprentice students are a very committed cohort who are super-fuelled to succeed. Their academic and workplace learning act as a virtuous circle – in real time, they can apply their work experience to the classroom and their classroom experience to work. Crucially, apprenticeships now go all the way from GCSE equivalent up to degree or even masters level in high skills areas, meaning apprenticeship pathways no longer stop short or limit opportunity to progress to the highest level in their field.

Degree and Masters level Apprenticeships are growing far faster, proportionally, than any other level of apprenticeship – with apprenticeship starts nationally more than doubling between 2017-18 and 2018-19 to around 23,000. Degree Apprenticeships are now vital to recruitment and training for our critical public services such as the Police and NHS. UWE currently has over one thousand Degree Apprentices serving high tech manufacturing and engineering, the NHS and Police, the built environment and leadership and management across all sectors of the economy.”

Read the full article here.

Find out more about Degree Apprenticeships at UWE Bristol here.