Knowledge Transfer Partnership Case Study: Powerline Technologies

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The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) scheme is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve competitiveness and productivity. A recent graduate is placed within an organisation to help solve a business problem, with access to our academic expertise.

The below case study is from our KTP with Powerline Technologies:

About Powerline Technologies 

Powerline Technologies (PLT) part of Fundamentals Ltd (power systems technology specialists), is delivering next generation Smart Grid Low Voltage (LV) and Medium Voltage (MV) distribution automation solutions to utilities and distribution System / Network Operators (DSO/DNO) worldwide.

Underground cables (UG) are used in locations such as urban areas where overhead lines rights of way is not available, in areas where local or state regulations override economic considerations, near airports, city centres and other locations where an overhead line may endanger lives, and in scenic areas where appearance is an important consideration.

Installing underground lines can cost 7-10 times more than overhead lines. Underground cables are buried at a depth of 450mm to 1200mm depending on the working voltage level. For example, 415 V (450mm) 11 kV (900mm) and 33kV (1200mm).

If a fault occurs in the UG cables, excavation of the exact fault location is of paramount importance in terms of time, cost and customer satisfaction, etc. Also if the outage duration is longer than a certain period the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) is obliged to pay out compensation to customers.

In the United Kingdom, there are 15 distribution network operator (DNO) regions. The 14 different district networks are managed by six operators, while one operator controls the distribution network in Northern Ireland (Figure below). The length of UG cable used by distribution companies depends on the coverage area of the DNO.

Determination of the exact fault location depends on accurate models of the cable and its associated arc. This project investigated both models mathematically for Powerline Technologies. These models will enable the PLT’s machine learning algorithm to pinpoint the fault location for direct and immediate dispatch of repair crews to the location. It will also minimise multiple excavations, cable cutting and ground re-instatement.

The challenge the KTP was set up to address

Powerline Technologies (PLT) has developed a Low Voltage (LV) three core cable simulation model. The challenge now was to onward develop four core cable model and the arc model to increase its simulation accuracy.

1) Solid Aluminium Conductor 2) XLPE Insulation 3) Rubber Layer 4) Waveform Copper Wire Earth 5) PVC Sheath

Why KTP was the right mechanism to achieve this?

Powerline technologies’ AI-based underground cable fault diagnostic and location equipment relies on an accurate digital model of the LV network to produce data to train the AI algorithms. This KTP enabled PLT to embed the developed cable model into the machine learning fault algorithm module.

What changed as a result of the KTP?

The KTP’s focus was to improve two key aspects of underground cable model:

  • The four-core MATLAB cable model with its associated parameters for integration into PLT’s existing MATLAB network model.
  • Improved arc fault models and their integration with the designed four-core cable model to more realistically represent the fault process within distribution network underground cables.

Outcome – Impacts & Benefits

For Powerline Technologies:
  • The four-core MATLAB cable model with its associated parameters for integration into PLT’s existing MATLAB network model could be scaled up and validated.
  • Widened understanding of suitability of various arc models in particular events.

“In addition to the modelling improvements, the KTP project showed how a collaboration between UWE and a research focused technology SME could increase the latter’s knowledge and understanding of a challenging problem.”

Dr Simon Le Blond, Power System Specialist, PLT

For UWE Bristol
  • Have further experience of data analysis and field measurement validation
  • Gained knowledge how to train the AI algorithms for fault diagnostic and location

“Able to take gained knowledge from the KTP project to the classroom for the students. A seminar group has been taught, one of the benefits from the KTP.”

Dr Hassan Nouri, Reader FET Engineering,Design & Mathematics,UWE Bristol

For the KTP Associate:
The KTP Associate Dr Le Trang

The KTP Associate has gained new knowledge in training and accessing the simulation software programmes and experience in handling the field measurement data.

“The KTP gave me the opportunities in skill training such as project management, team working, etc. These skills have not only helped me in managing the current project, but also support me in future career. In my role as an associate, I expanded my knowledge in solid technical and soft skills. I received a lot of support and valuable comments from a KTP adviser, academic and company supervisors”

Dr Le Trang, KTP Associate,UWE Bristol/PLT

View the full case study below:

To find out more about a KTP with UWE Bristol, please see here.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships: Harris Evolution LTD Associate Spotlight

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Mayowa Olanrewaju, our Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) associate for Harris Evolution LTD, recently spoke to KTN about his experiences as a KTP Associate.

Based in 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 design 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 Bristol, Harris will move from a standardised service offer to implementing outcome-based service contracts, tailored around individual customer value.

Please provide a short summary of the KTP company and the KTP project objectives?

To move Harris Evolution LTD from standardised offering towards advanced services by implementing outcome-based contracts tailored around individual customers.

What have been the most positive aspects of your role?

I would say the buy-in from the company senior management, they have given me all the support so far and my academic supervisor is always there to guide me anytime I need him. Also, the project objectives align with my own objectives, so it has been exciting working on the project.

What have been the biggest challenges?

Covid-19 has been a big challenge in that I will have to wait for a response when I need to ask questions or set up a meeting with someone which ordinarily, I would have done by walking into the person’s office. Also, trying to communicate what each party will get from this project is a big challenge as stakeholders have their own expectations and I have to make sure their expectations match the project objectives.

Describe a typical day as a KTP Associate?

Hmmm, a typical day. I would say, you check your Gantt chart to monitor project progress and plan what needs to be done for the day. Check and plan whom to have meetings with or attend planned meetings. Research academic journals to see how you can implement them in your project, communicate with your academic supervisor if you have questions.

What training and development have you benefited from as a result of working as a KTP Associate?

I just started the Ashorne trainings and it has been informative so far. The training program will cover basic project management, leadership and communication skills which will be useful in my project. I also plan to get Prince2 agile Certification and specific trainings in Internet of Things (IOT) and technology. My KT adviser has done well so far; he has given hints on how to manage my project efficiently and what is expected from the project. Like I said, it is still early days.

How would you describe the unique experience of working as a KTP Associate?

There has always been this disparity between academics and the business world as they both have unique ways of doing things so having the opportunity to bridge that gap in a partnership is a wonderful opportunity only KTP can give. The business world is now coming to terms with growth and development academics offer and if properly harnessed, businesses can see the benefits in their annual turnovers

Would you recommend the KTP Associate role to other grads/post grads?

In fact, I have so far recommended it to my friends I graduated with and I have been speaking to friends still in grad school about it. The skills and achievements you will get is second to none. It is a good platform to start your career.

Which 3 words best describe your experience of being a KTP Associate?

Transformative, innovative, and informative.

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.  

Knowledge Transfer Partnership Case Study: B-hive Innovations

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(L-R) Dr Robin Thorn (UWE Bristol), Dr Barbara Correia (KTP Associate),Mark Willcox (Branston Ltd), Vee Gururajan (B-hive Innovations).

In the below case study, we share the highlights from our Knowledge Transfer Partnership with B-hive Innovations. Find out more about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with UWE Bristol here.

About B-hive Innovations

B-hive Innovations Ltd is an agritech business that conducts R&D activities for the fresh produce industry, aiming to increase quality and reduce food waste.

The challenge the KTP was set up to address

Under certain growing, storage and handling conditions, potatoes can develop internal defects that affect their quality. This leads to significant reductions in crop value throughout the supply chain, increases food waste and reduces consumer confidence in the product.

This project aimed to develop a new gas sensing technology to non-destructively detect internal defects in potatoes before reaching the consumer, thereby increasing the quality of fresh produce and reducing food waste.

Part of the team building the developed sensing technology platform

Why a KTP was the right mechanism to achieve this?

An initial collaborative proof-of-concept study (funded by the BBSRC) demonstrated that there were significant differences in the gases (volatile compounds) emitted by defected and non- defected potatoes.

This KTP enabled B-hive to recruit an Agri-Tech Development Scientist to identify the main volatile compounds associated with internal defects, by utilising the UWE Bristol knowledge base in advanced mass spectrometry instrumentation and gas sensing.

This enabled development and testing of a sensor technology prototype in the industrial environment (utilising B-hive Innovations expertise and facilities) with the potential to monitor and detect the early presence of internal defects in real time.

The solution

This project required skills in both scientific experimental design and volatile compound identification/analysis, which B-hive did not have in-house. UWE Bristol provided the broad ranging expertise in gas sensing and advanced mass spectrometry instrumentation needed to carry out the research. Together with the KTP Associate, the team was then able to translate the complex scientific knowledge into a sensor technology prototype that has been tested and refined into a suitable industrial solution

What changed as a result of the KTP?

B-hive, UWE Bristol and the KTP Associate have built a sensing technology platform with the capability to detect internal defects in potatoes that could be exploitable across the agri-tech sector.

This has also resulted in a knowledge base of:

  1. volatile compound profiles related to potatoes that develop internal defects,
  2. new expertise in experimental design and data analysis applied to potato tubers, and
  3. long-term industrial deployment of robust sensor technology.

This knowledge exchange has paved the way to seeking additional funding to progress the next R&D activities and shorten the gap towards commercialisation. The partnership has also unveiled new potential agri-tech applications for this type of sensing approach.

Installing the sensing technology platform for testing in an industrial environment.

Outcomes: Impacts & Benefits

For B-hive Innovations:

New skills have been translated in-house regarding gas sensor prototype development, testing and deployment within the agri-food sector.

The achieved outcomes have opened up new possibilities for B-hive to commercialise the developed innovation and they are now informed on the best practice to succeed.

For UWE Bristol:

Have gained further experience of agri-food manufacturing processes coupled with sensor hardware/software integration for industrial implementation, creating new knowledge where they will be able to focus their future endeavours and strengthen their position as facilitators of industrial development.

For the KTP Associate:

The KTP Associate has gained new scientific and transferable competences, gathered considerable understanding of the potato industry and its needs, and experience in a business environment.

The KTP Associate has been employed by the company to take the project’s innovation forward.

Quantifiable benefits

When identified as defective and failing quality control inspections, a tonne of potatoes reduces its value on average from £185 to £12. This represents a loss of value of 93.5%.

Considering a cold store comprises between 500 and 1200 tonnes, early detecting a defective stock and trading it before it loses its commercial value could represent earnings in between £86,500 and £207,600 – for just one storage unit!

The technology in action

What the partners are saying?

The KTP partnership has enabled collaborative translations of academic knowledge in sensing technology platforms into an applied context to solve a real world problem. It has been fantastic having the KTP Associate embedded within the company, ensuring the project remained industrially focussed, and resulting in collective tangible outcomes that benefitted the Company, the Associate and the University.”

Dr Robin Thorn, Associate Professor in Molecular Life Sciences, Centre for Research in Biosciences, UWE Bristol

I was immediately attracted to this project for its challenging, innovative and applied nature, but I must say it was when I met the team that I was sure this was going to be a great experience. The constant support, communication and knowledge exchange have proved crucial to the successful progress of this project – and I have learnt so much along the way.

Dr Barbara Correia, KTP Associate, UWE Bristol / B-hive Innovations.

The primary objective of this KTP project is to enhance fresh produce quality and reduce waste. Having the opportunity to draw on dedicated resources and expertise of both the KTP Associate and the team from UWE Bristol has been invaluable and has helped us make good progress. The results so far have been very encouraging, and we look forward to refining the achieved outcomes beyond the project timescale with a view to commercialise this innovation.

Vee Gururajan, Managing Director, B-hive innovations

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.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership with VQ Communications Graded Outstanding

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A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with VQ Communications has been graded Outstanding by Innovate UK.

The two year project aimed to embed knowledge of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to determine how ML/AI can be applied to VQ Communications complex systems to reduce support costs, boost engineering productivity and enable deployment of larger networks at lower cost and higher levels of service.

Mike Horsley, VQ Communications CEO commented: “It is very pleasing to see the investment made and the hard work, expertise and tenacity that the UWE/VQ team placed into this KTP being recognized in this manner.

VQ continues to invest in the AI/ML technology developed during the KTP and we are getting extremely encouraging results. The team has expanded to include an additional software engineer and we continue to work with the UWE team via a professional services agreement.

Advanced technology is difficult; it requires expertise and managed risk-taking. The KTP program enabled VQ to master a new technology and we are very excited about how the resulting new products and services will help our customers solve the problems they face and, by doing so, will enable VQ to further extend its market leadership and demonstrate continuing growth”.

Lead academic Professor Jim Smith, Professor in Interactive Artificial Intelligence, commented: “The partnership has been a fantastic opportunity to develop AI-based solutions together with a company, and the area: (improving video communication tools) couldn’t have been more topical during the pandemic.”

Based in Chippenham, VQ Communications produces software that allows customers to deploy and manage large video conferencing (also known as “Unified Communications”) services. VQ has established a leading market position over the last 15 years and VQ’s current product generation works with Cisco’s Meeting Server products and is being used by customers world-wide to deliver enterprise wide conferencing. VQ is a Cisco Solution Partner with Cisco recommending and selling VQ’s product.

UWE Bristol and VQ communications plan to continue their relationship together and have recently signed contracts to develop their work on the technology further.

View the VQ Communications case study here.

The KTP scheme is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve competitiveness and productivity. With the help of graduate talent and access to UWE Bristol academic expertise, a KTP can help your business to transform and solve problems to achieve goals.

To find out more about KTPs please visit our website.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership company Flexys signs multi-year deal with Bamboo

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One of our Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) companies, Flexys signs multi-year deal with personal loans provider, Bamboo.

Flexys provides modular, highly scalable and extensible debt management, collection and recovery solutions for the digital age. Their cloud-native solutions maximise operational efficiency, reduce the cost to collect and ensure that they deliver the best possible customer service while protecting your business from reputational and regulatory risk.

Flexys Solutions is based at the Future Space Innovation Hub, part of our University Enterprise Zone and employs over 20 people, most of whom are working from home for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Flexys has experienced a period of significant growth this year as lockdown fuels a surge in digital engagement and a move to cloud-native technology.

Bamboo are a direct lender who have built their business around helping people find an affordable loan that fits your credit situation.

Flexys CEO, Jon Hickman said “We are very proud to have secured this multi-year partnership with Bamboo. The economic consequences of the pandemic have put debt management in the spotlight and we have seen a surge in demand for our smart, cloud-native systems. Every new client helps us to expand our business and to promote Bristol as the ideal location for innovative technology businesses.”

Our KTP with Flexys aims to integrate Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology within debt resolution software, to enable more effective management of debt resolution and improvement of customer relationships and retention.

A KTP scheme is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve competitiveness and productivity. With the help of graduate talent and access to UWE Bristol academic expertise, a KTP can help your business to transform and solve problems to achieve goals.

To find out more about KTPs please visit our website.

A History of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at UWE Bristol

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At UWE Bristol we have been running Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) for nearly 40 years.

The KTP scheme is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve competitiveness and productivity.

The above graphics show some statistics from our years delivering KTPs including total live project value across our faculties and project by sector.

Chris Simons, Senior Lecturer Computer Science and Creative Technologies at UWE Bristol, comments on his experience as a KTP Academic S

Find out more about a KTP with UWE Bristol here.

Transform your business performance with a Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership

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Innovate UK has introduced a new stream to their Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) funding, specifically for management-focussed projects. Co-funded by BEIS, the Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership initiative aims to enable transformational improvement within businesses by identifying key, strategic, management-based initiatives to increase business effectiveness.

Innovate UK are targeting SMEs with a desire to grow and expand, and offer 67% of projects costs over two years. UWE Bristol will support you through the application process and in recruiting a high-skilled graduate to work at your business for the duration of the project.

Working alongside the UWE Bristol Business School, your organisation will receive significant management expertise, which could expand business capability, increase productivity and enable lasting change and growth.

Sarah White, UWE Bristol’s KTP Manager commented: “KTPs are a great way for businesses to collaborate with the university to using academic expertise to solve a business problem. Management KTPs enable a business to really focus on their strategic and organisational goals, supported by UWE and a talented graduate to deliver project outcomes.”

Find out about Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships in our short presentation below:

Contact the KTP Office at UWE for more information KTP@uwe.ac.uk  

New Welsh Government initiative to help SMEs based in Wales

Calling all SMEs based in Wales – the Welsh Government will offer a grant rate of 75%, reducing the company contribution to 25% for a KTP. UWE Bristol will support you through the application process and in recruiting a high-skilled graduate to work at your business for the duration of the project. KTPs help businesses improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance through better use of knowledge, technology and skills by developing a partnership with a university, college or Catapult centre. 

Partnerships jointly develop the proposal to address a specific business need and must submit their proposal for assessment between 1st September 2020 and 12 noon on Wednesday 3rd February 2021.  Only applications received during this time will be eligible for this funding.

The partnership can vary in length from one to three years according to the needs of the business.  Businesses from all sectors are welcome to apply.

For more information see here.

KTP Project with Viper Innovations Nominated for KTP Best of the Best Awards 2020

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UWE Bristol’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Viper Innovations (Portishead), which completed in 2018, has been nominated as one of three finalists in the Business Impact category for the KTP Best of the Best Awards 2020. To be considered for the award, an organisation must be able to demonstrate substantial ongoing impact from their KTP beyond the expectations as set out in their Partnership’s original KTP proposal.

The two-year project with Viper, undertaken by KTP Associate Kim Mahoney, identified and directed the market opportunities and priorities of the company as part of their business diversification into new sectors: rail, airports, power and communications. The project was focused specifically on the company’s newly launched CableGuardian™ product. With academic expertise from Tim Hughes (Bristol Business School) and Tracy Hunt-Fraisse (Bristol Business School) the team identified penetrable markets and worked to increase product awareness within them. The learning and outputs from the KTP have formed the basis in scoping Viper’s diversification strategy for its CableGuardian product and services for the next 5 years and the financial impact is set to be very impressive.

Neil Douglas (Director, Viper Innovations) noted “Viper Innovations is absolutely delighted that this KTP has been recognised with this nomination. The success was largely due to the commitment by all parties and the quality and ability of the Academic Supervisor and the KTP Associate, coupled with a highly focussed scope of work that was a key element of the growth strategy of Viper Innovations.” UWE and Viper have continued to collaborate and have since secured funding for a second KTP project, which started in June 2020.

The winner of the award will be announced on 09 September 2020.

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 .