Knowledge Transfer Partnership Case Study: Craven Dunnill Jackfield

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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 Craven Dunnill Jackfield:

About Craven Dunnill Jackfield

Craven Dunnill & Co Ltd is a historic business, founded in 1872. It has been producing ceramic wall and floor tiles for 150 years and is the oldest surviving purpose-built tile factory in the world. It is part of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site at the heart of Britain’s Industrial Revolution

The challenge the KTP was set up to address

Each individual project requires the application of ceramic modelling skills to create new working models and moulds for the restoration of architectural features and to interpret the complex three-dimensional shape of the item beneath the glaze layers of an original sample.

This is a highly skilled art, and ceramic modellers with this ability are few in number and expensive to employ. Across the industry modellers with the necessary hand skills are reaching retirement age and are difficult to replace which will significantly impact the future sustainability of the sector. The situation is a major bottleneck in the production process and limits the ability of the company to expand this part of the business.

The application of 3D technologies, specifically 3D scanning to derive the surface shape of the original ceramic pieces and 3D CAD to recreate the aesthetic of the original work, combined the CNC milling can be used to produce master models and moulds for the reproductions.

Why was a KTP the right mechanism to achieve this?

The KTP allowed us to test machinery and processes at the University in a way that would have been time consuming and expensive to achieve without the partnership. The CFPR’s knowledge of both ceramics and digital manufacturing technology were a perfect fit for Craven Dunnill’s needs. There are limited organisations with the knowledge of both subjects. Years of research from university staff fed into the project and allowed us to address the problems which arose when combining the traditional hand craft process with digital technology.

How did the KTP meet the need (the activities / solution)?

By utilising the expertise offered from the University, new technology was brought in to improve lead times and open new areas of business, specifically in 3D scanning. The development budget provided opportunities for learning new skills which were applied to the project.

Outcome – Impacts & Benefits

What changed as a result of the KTP?

Craven Dunnill invested in a CNC milling machine and a 3D scanner, both of which were required to embed digital design into their traditional mould making process. Moulds, tiles and artworks can be 3D scanned and manipu- lated to produce new block moulds, the block can be directly plaster cast from, saving time and cost.

As well as being utilised for mould making, CAD now plays a role in the initial contact with customers. Vector drawings and 3D models are used to visualise end products, before we commit to producing physical models.

Layouts for wall and floor tile are designed within Rhinoceros3D. This allows for tiles to be automatically counted and layout issues to be resolved before committing resources to a project.

Broad benefits and impacts for all partners, (including economic, environ- mental and/or social perspective)

For CDJ:

Having the 3D capabilities in house has opened up the possibilities of additional revenue streams. Many projects can now be completed in house.

For UWE Bristol:

The Centre for Fine Print Research has a strategic objective and a long history of collab- orating with industry that constitutes around a third of its research.

The success of the KTP with Craven Dunnill Jackfield will add to the Centre’s reputation for combining traditional methods with modern digital technologies both in academia and commercially.

The project validates this research and highlights the value of this method.

The initial concept used was based on an Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) project conducted in the early 2000’s and the development of these ideas into a successful industrial outcome is likely to generate further research questions for investigation.

It demonstrates how embedding digital technologies into traditional processes can generate benefits for both of the partners.

For the KTP associate

As the KTP associate, I am very pleased with how the project concluded. KTP has opened doors for me and given me the opportunity to develop as a project manager. I have attended multiple courses and conferences over the project, developing both my key skillset (CAD/3D Design) and other elements which will improve my efficiency at work such as Finance/ management/business.

Quantifiable benefits (the numbers bit!)

  • Improved product development time by 72% (From 2 weeks of model making, down to 4 days)
  • Reduced development costs on specific projects by up to 79% (Based on price of model board compared to traditional block and casing)

What the partners are saying?

“Through a challenging time for businesses, the KTP programme has been a true shining light, surpassing our expectations as a Company. It is critical for a 150yr old Company like ours to stay dynamic and explore ways in which new technologies can support and compliment traditional craftmanship. The KTP has brilliantly highlighted the way in which business and academia can come together to develop new capabilities and embed them into our operations. ”

Simon Howells, Managing Director, Craven Dunnill Group

“The Craven Dunnill Jackfield, CFPR/UWE KTP project shows that a committed Company and Academic team combined with an excellent, dedicated Associate can overcome the difficulties and adversities of operating during a pandemic to drive through to success. The project has been very successful and has exceeded the expectations of both partners.“

David Huson Senior Research Fellow, UWE Bristol

“The KTP program has been the most exciting part of my working life to date. It has given me the opportunity to develop my skills and interests within 3D design and technology, whilst allowing me the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge developed during my degree. “

Jed Leonard-Hammerman, 3D Technologies Specialist Craven Dunnill Jackfield

“This project could not have been done without the unusually wide skill set of the Associate who was equally at home in the application of complex digital technology and the practical traditional skills required to manufacture three dimensional tiles together with the support of his academic and company supervisors”

Russ Bromley Knowledge Transfer Adviser

Sustainability solutions show from UWE Bristol chosen to take part in COP26

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A new planetarium show designed with the Engineering department at UWE Bristol has been chosen to showcase sustainability solutions as part of the Green Zone at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021.

The team will be exhibiting “We Make Our Future”, an interactive, educational & entertaining science show for the next generation of engineers. The show has been designed with planetarium experts Explorer Dome, and is part of the Inspire educational work from the Digital Engineering Technology and Innovation (DETI) team at UWE Bristol. 

Full-dome projections allow attendees to visit engineering marvels from history and explore the pros and cons of modern life. The team aims to celebrate the ingenuity of human engineering, address current issues around Climate Change, and introduce engineering as a relevant and attainable aspiration for all young people.

Guests will learn how the Engineering Design Process can spark our imagination for sustainability solutions to the greatest challenges of our time.

Inspiring climate action

To achieve net zero and a low carbon global economy, everything we make and use will need to be completely re-imagined and re-engineered. The digital revolution is boosting the potential for engineers’ design thinking to optimise not only the development process but also the potential for collaborative citizen engagement. That’s where DETI comes in, bringing together industry, academia, and education from across the West of England region. The research collaboration aims to identify and develop the tools, technologies, processes, and skills needed to rapidly accelerate and embed digital engineering to deliver energy transition and clean transport.

South Glos Cllr Toby Savage enjoyed a preview of the show at UWE Bristol’s recent Zero Carbon Tour event

Project lead Dr Laura Fogg Rogers, Senior Lecturer in STEM Education and Communication, commented:

“We are so pleased to be selected to attend COP26 – at such a critical time in history, all industries need to come together to make a difference for our future. Our new show celebrates the ingenuity of human engineering and shows how we can harness our creativity to implement sustainability solutions. Thinking like an engineer offers hope to solve global problems and bring about real change. We see this as a call to action for the diverse and socially conscious engineers of today – and tomorrow”.

The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The theme is ‘Together for our Planet’, and UWE Bristol will also be highlighting our climate action through the new linked Climate Action Hub on the Frenchay Campus.

The ‘We Make Our Future’ show is available to tour schools after COP26 in Explorer Dome’s mobile planetarium. Book the show by look at the digital trailblazers resources.

UWE Bristol Academic Spotlight: Associate Professor Dr Emma Weitkamp

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As part of our focus on our Research Strength, Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience, we will be sharing spotlights on some of our academics working in that area.

Dr Emma Weitkamp, Associate Professor in Science Communication and Co-Director of the Science Communication Unit.

Emma teaches predominantly on UWE Bristol’s postgraduate science communication courses, and undertakes research and practice in science journalism, public relations and Sci-Art.

Her research interests explore narrative in science communication, considering both arts and media practice and the actors involved in science communication. Her current research explores the ways in which the digital media ecosystem is affecting science communication, quality indicators for science communication and motivations and deterrents for science communication practice through the Horizon 2020 funded RETHINK project.

She has been involved with the Science for Environment Policy since 2007, leading the team that delivers this policy-oriented environmental communications programme. Emma undertakes evaluation of science communication initiatives, including evaluating the impacts of training.

Emma also delivers continuing professional development training in science communication, recently running a programme for the British Council focusing on skills for early career researchers as well as providing training for the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative.

Emma is interested in barriers to engaging with climate risks and can undertake research to help you understand how these barriers affect you. She is also interested in research that explores the opportunities and barriers that researchers face in communicating research; to date much of this research has focused on research institutes, and she would be very interested in exploring these barriers in other contexts. Finally, she can provide training in practical skills in public engagement.

Click here for more information about Emma and her work.

UWE Bristol Academic Spotlight: Graham Parkhurst

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As part of our focus on our Research Strength, Sustainability and Climate Change Resilience, we will be sharing spotlights on some of our academics working in that area. First up:

Professor Graham Parkhurst, Director, Centre for Transport and Society Department of Geography and Environmental Management

Graham Parkhurst has degrees in psychology (BA University of Warwick), biological anthropology (MSc University of Oxford) and transport geography (PhD University of Oxford), and has undertaken research and taught academic transport and mobility studies since 1991.

Past research interests include urban and subregional transport policy, modal interchange policy, air quality policy, mobility of the ageing population, transport policy instruments, and the evaluation of urban transport policy implementations (specific infrastructure interventions, mobility services, and vehicle technologies).

His current research is examining the wider implications of the trends to greater automation, electrification, flexibility and use of digital technologies in the transport sector, taking a critical lens to the discourse and practices of ‘smart mobility’ and smart cities’. Electric mobility was the focus of a European Commission-funded project (Replicate) which sought to pilot and ‘upscale’ electric car and cycle sharing.

Graham is currently co-editing a book taking an interdisciplinary perspective on the transition to the electric car. He is also working with colleagues at UWE and UCL on an Economic and Social Research Council-funded study ‘Driverless Futures?‘ which is considering the wider social and cultural implications of the adoption of automated technologies on public roads, such as what a ‘digital highway code’ should be like to reflect all interests.

Most of Graham’s research has been collaborative with business and government. Notably, in recent years, Graham has provided social and behavioural research leadership in respect of UK-Government-funded (Innovate UK) research consortia examining connected and automated vehicles (Venturer, Flourish, CAPRI, and MultiCAV) and flexible collective transport solutions (Mobility on Demand Laboratory Environment). He has found these collaborations rewarding and insightful and hopes his research has assisted in taking forward commercial and public sector priorities. Whilst the collaborations have tended to involve transport service providers, digital and automation technology companies, and local authorities in the West of England area, the partner list is extensive and with broad relevance.

My expertise covers three types of activity:

  1. Deep and wide transport and mobility sector knowledge, relevant for advisory roles or leading literature and knowledge review activities.
  2. Mixed-methods people-oriented research to understand attitudes to potential technology or policy changes, and how their behaviour might change in the event those changes are implemented. The remit here includes research with people in experimental contexts, large-sample quantitative data collection and analysis (such as survey instruments) and qualitative research including interviews, focus groups and observational methods. 
  3. Evaluative research, providing independent and as far as possible objective research about the effects of a technology or policy change, with a view to providing confidence to a wider audience about the achievements of commercial or policy innovation.”

Click here for more information about Graham and his work.

Social Sciences – The lynchpin for conducting real-world research?

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Guest blog post by Professor Kieran McCartan, Professor of Criminology, UWE Bristol

All research, even theoretical research, has a real-world basis. Research helps us understand the world and our role in it better. Therefore, at the core of all research conducted at UWE Bristol should be people and social life. The social sciences, therefore, are central in developing and adapting a range of different research ideas, methodologies, and products so that they have real world validity and can be used more effectively in practice. The social sciences are the study of social beings, social lives, and social interaction; they are the disciplines that connect our psychological, social, and cultural worlds. The social sciences provide context, and understanding, to our behaviours and actions. This means that all research has a social component to it – whether it be Engineering or Art, Food Technology or Fine Print, AI or Architecture – because humans, and the human experience, are at the heart of all these.

This increased recognition of the importance of the social science perspective is reflected in the external funding landscape. More and more funding calls with ‘hard science’ remits require that academic teams include those from the humanities and social sciences to bring this much-needed perspective to addressing the challenge at hand.

At UWE Bristol, we research a range of social sciences and in doing so add nuance to policy and practice, which means that we can add to ongoing and novel research across a number of disciplines. Our research strengthens external research bids, adds new dimensions to research and publications, and expands the parameters of UWE Bristol’s role as a civic, community based, practice-based university. Social scientists are spread and integrated throughout the UWE Bristol academic diaspora – you find them in every faculty and department.

However, the largest congregation is gathered in the Department of Social Sciences, in the Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences, where the Social Science Research Group (SSRG) is based. The SSRG has over 91 members drawn from disciplines as wide as Philosophy, Sociology, Criminology, Social Psychology, Counselling Psychology, Psycho-social studies, Politics, International Relations, Policing, and Social Work. The SSRG is split into five themes with cross cutting, qualitative research methods expertise:

  • The World, Meaning and Human Action research theme investigates and employs the interaction between philosophical thought and cultural, political and critical practices, with a particular emphasis on the collective project of human flourishing.
  • The Global Security and Human Rights research theme draws on work on global security, human security, human development and human rights. Key cross-cutting dimensions are around gender, health, governance, security, human rights, exclusion, vulnerability and resilience, and migration.
  • The Crime Risk and Society research theme gives voice to the experiences of victims, offenders and professionals within the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and critically engage, challenge and inform criminal justice policy and practice.
  • The Psycho-social Studies and Therapeutic Practices research theme studies the way in which psychic experiences and social life are fundamentally entangled with each other.
  • The Identities, Subjectivities, and Inequalities research theme is a collective of researchers who focus on exploring the ways in which identities, subjectivities, and inequalities are produced by exploring how individuals make sense of their selves and the worlds they inhabit as well as on wider social practices and discourses.

How can the SSRG, and social sciences more broadly, add to your research moving forward?

  • Maybe you need to conduct social research (qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods) to preface, support or evaluate the impact of your research or product?
  • Maybe you need access to and representation from diverse populations to test your product or innovation?
  • Maybe you need advice about how to approach and work with frontline professions so that your research can be implemented in the community?
  • Maybe you need support in working with policy makers so that your research and innovations get used in practice?
  • Maybe you need a social, cultural, or psychological lens to add nuance to a new or ongoing project?
  • Maybe you need to understand why different communities, cultures, or populations react differently to the product or innovation that you are developing?

We live in a social world where people are the core users of much of the research and innovation developed at UWE Bristol, therefore the social sciences provide a lynch pin for bringing in expertise to make sure that all the research done at UWE is applied and fit for purpose.

If you are a social scientist interested in joining the SSRG or a colleague at UWE Bristol interested in collaborating with SSRG members please reach out.

Prof Kieran McCartan, UWE Bristol

UWE Bristol’s Associate Professor in Filmmaking, Charlotte Crofts convenes discussion panel at Symposium.

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Charlotte, is an Associate Professor in Filmmaking at UWE Bristol and Editor in Chief of Screenworks an online, peer-reviewed journal of screen media practice research. She was invited to convene a round table discussion panel on “Publishing Screen Media Practice Research: Editorial Approaches” at the annual MPE/MeCCSA Practice Network Symposium 2021.

The Practice Network Symposium is delivered in association with the journal of Media Practice Education and is hosted by the Faculty of Business, Law and Digital Technology at Solent University, Southampton. It’s also supported by the MeCCSA Practice Network that champions practice within the Media Communications and Cultural Studies Association (MeCCSA). MeCCSA are dedicated to maintaining and developing links with the creative industries and relevant networks.

This round table discussion with the editorial board of Screenworks, focussed on the journal’s evolving editorial approaches. Using Screenworks as a case study, they explored the dialogic relationship between written statement and practice, critically examining the peer review process (from both sides of the experience) and outlining the journal’s journey to becoming more accessible and inclusive.  They also explored Screenworks’ role in academic publication of the emerging field of videographic film criticism.

Read the event details and view the YouTube footage below.

Dr Charlotte Crofts’ research spans traditional publication, practice and knowledge exchange, including filmmaking (both documentary and narrative), pervasive media (award-winning locative heritage apps) and curatorial practice.

She has led impact case studies for REF14 and REF21. She is on the steering committee of UNESCO Bristol City of Film, is director of the Cary Comes Home Festival (established 2014). She is co-founder of the Angela Carter society and is currently developing a feature film adaptation of Angela Carter’s ‘Flesh and the Mirror’ which has been supported by the BFI Development Fund.

UWE Bristol launches new funding scheme to support SMEs with research and development projects in Swindon & Wiltshire

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UWE Bristol are launching a new round of Innovation 4 Growth, a funding programme that supports SMEs in Swindon & Wiltshire undertaking innovative research and development (R&D) projects. 

SMEs can apply for grants of £10,000 to £40,000 to help their projects, with the programme covering 35% of project costs. 

Funded by the European Regional Development Fund, and delivered by UWE Bristol, Innovation 4 Growth is open to projects from all sectors,creating new products, new services and new jobs in the region. Applicants must be small or medium sized enterprises and based in Swindon & Wiltshire. 

Businesses can access dedicated support from a team of experts at UWE Bristol to help businesses develop project ideas and submit grant applications.

Register your interest for an application form and one to one support at www.innovation4growth.co.uk

The programme is also hosting a series of free training workshops, starting on 11 May 2021, for SMEs in Swindon & Wiltshire to support them to develop innovative products, processes, technologies, and services. The workshops will be suitable for SMEs at any stage that want to innovate and grow their businesses. Register your interest for more information and an invite to sign up at www.innovation4growth.co.uk.

Professor Martin Boddy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at UWE Bristol, said: “UWE Bristol is proud to be supporting SMEs in Swindon & Wiltshire. This programme aims to support companies to realise their potential through innovation and R&D. The Innovation 4 Growth programme in the West of England has supported hundreds of companies, giving out £1.5m of grants and created 130 jobs. We are excited to be able to bring Innovation 4 Growth to Swindon & Wiltshire and look forward to working with the region’s SMEs.”

Paddy Bradley, Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership CEO, said of the scheme: “SMEs are the beating heart of our local economy and we welcome this effective grant funding programme to the area. Targeting innovation through funding research and development programmes will help elevate our region through job creation, skills development and new to market products. I am looking forward to seeing the work that comes out of this exciting programme.”

UWE Bristol are currently running a separate funding scheme for SMEs in Gloucestershire who want to apply for grant funding to scale up. Find out more about Scale Up 4 Growth here. SMEs in the West of England can access free Digital Support from UWE Bristol, find out more here.


Notes to editors

Swindon & Wiltshire Innovation 4 Growth is a business support programme delivered by UWE Bristol and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Swindon & Wiltshire Innovation 4 Growth will receive up to £760,000 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 is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, job creation and local community regeneration.

University spin-out enables IBS diagnosis method

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Adapted from news article shared on the University of Liverpool website.

Nidor Diagnostics is working with its industrial partner to carry out final validation of a new diagnostic for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) before commercial launch.

Nidor is spin-out company between the University of Liverpool, UWE Bristol, the University of Bristol and The Wellcome Trust.

The company was established to develop a medical diagnostic device to improve the diagnosis of bowel disorders. The device, named Inform ™, can detect the volatile organic compounds in patient samples, in order to diagnose and monitor a range of medical conditions.

The company has recently agreed to partner with an accredited clinical laboratory, licensed to undertake trials for regulatory work. In addition, Nidor has received £75,500 funding from the Liverpool City Region Future Innovation Fund to build its first instruments to be trialled and validated by the laboratory. For the first time ever, Nidor Diagnostics will be able to positively diagnose IBS and help patients to get the correct treatment.

IBS has a huge impact on the lives of patients, bringing cramps, severe pain and unpredictable bowel habits. Despite being a common condition, there is currently no test to definitively diagnose the condition, with many doctors instead performing numerous tests to rule out other conditions. 

Over-investigation of symptoms related to IBS can also prove costly and potentially dangerous. Patients often perceive that an IBS diagnosis is only made when doctors don’t know what is wrong..

Previous studies from the University of Liverpool’s Professor Chris Probert, co-inventor of the new diagnostic technology, have repeatedly shown that the gas pattern from stool samples can be used to separate patients with IBS from those with healthy bowels as well as those with inflamed bowels.

Ben De Lacy Costello, Associate Professor of Biosensing and Diagnostics at UWE Bristol and UWE co-inventor of the technology said: “Myself and Professor Norman Ratcliffe had an interest in the changes in smell induced by disease processes and making sensor systems to detect these changes. Our long running collaboration the University of Liverpool gave this work a clinical focus and it is great to see commercial diagnostic tests being developed by Nidor on the back of this collaborative research effort”

Nidor is planning to be able to launch its first services in late 2021.

Read the original release here.

Research, Business and Innovation Director Tracey John named Higher Education Hero from University Alliance

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Director of Research, Business and Innovation (RBI) at UWE Bristol, Tracey John, has been named a ‘HE Leaders & Heroes’ from the University Alliance as part of their Inspiring Women of the Alliance, as part of their International Women’s Day celebrations.

University Alliance (UA) is the voice of professional and technical universities. They represent large to mid-sized universities working at the heart of their communities. Alliance Universities partner with industry and the professions to deliver the workforce of today and tomorrow through practical, skills-based learning and applied research.

For International Womens Day on Monday 8 March, they celebrated the Inspirational women of the Alliance – those women working in their member universities who have been nominated by their peers and colleagues for their inspirational leadership, outstanding contribution to their field, and work championing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

Tracey was nominated HE leaders and heroes category and was put forward for her energy, clarity and vision. The category represents the amazing women who are leading the way in Higher Education, forging a path and inspiring students and colleagues with their drive, passion and commitment to the sector.

Find out more here.  

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.