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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on

(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

Posted on

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

Posted on

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.

UWE Researchers test driverless pods at The Mall Cribbs Causeway

Posted on

Adapted from this UWE Bristol news article.

Researchers from the Centre for Transport and Society and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) at UWE Bristol are currently partners on the Capri Project, the first UK project to trial driverless pods on public roads.

From 20th – 25th January, the driverless pods were at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway transporting members of the public, enabling them to experience connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) and understand how they might operate in the future.

Capri is a consortium comprising 17 partners, including lead organisation AECOM, South Gloucestershire Council and UWE Bristol. The Capri trial is the first in the UK without this level of supervision, inviting members of the public to turn up and travel alone in the autonomous pod.

The research used in this trial will help reduce potential barriers limiting the uptake of commercially ready autonomous vehicle services. This also includes overcoming technical challenges, raising public awareness and ensuring sustainable integration into the wider transport systems. This pilot will support the local and UK economy by helping regional and national businesses become more competitive in a growing international market.

Read the full article here.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships: B-hive Innovations Associate Spotlight

Posted on

Photo: (L-R) Dr Robin Thorn (UWE), Barbara Dos Santos Correia (UWE), Mark Wilcox (Branston Ltd), Vee Gururajan (B-hive Innovations)

Based in Lincoln, our Knowledge Transfer Partnership with B-hive Innovations is our longest distance project. Despite this the project, which is now halfway through its two years, continues to move from strength to strength led by our KTP Associate Barbara dos Santos Correia.

This ground breaking KTP is investigating gases emitted by fresh produce and aims to develop a marketable solution for early detection of internal defects, which will ultimately improve crop utilisation and reduce food waste. We caught up with Barbara to find out how she has found the experience so far.

How long have you been a KTP Associate?

I started in January 2019.

What attracted you to the KTP role?

I was fascinated by the project and the option to work in industry with all the academic support. Having access to a £4,000 personal development budget is also great.

How is the partnership between UWE and the company working?

It’s working very well, and I think that’s down to the constant and open communication across the team. The benefits of this knowledge transfer are clear, both between B-hive Innovations and UWE and the knowledge and experience I am gaining.

What are the current challenges of your role?

I’d say the main challenge is translating complex academic knowledge into an industrial solution. But my supervisors Dr Robin Thorn and Professor Darren Reynolds at UWE and Vee Gururajan and Claudia Celemin Pardo at the company are really supportive and we tackle the challenges together.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

No two days are the same! It’s really motivating to know that every day I am leading a project that will potentially solve a real and significant industrial problem.

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

The support I have from UWE and B-hive Innovations is incredible and so much better than I was expecting in my first industrial experience. UWE offers a wide range of expertise and facilities and B-hive Innovations provides the invaluable personnel and confidential information. I feel like the partnership really represents a competitive advantage within the industry.

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. 

 

UK first as Bristol & Bath region creates programme to increase investment into successful start-up community

Posted on

Launching today (14/01/2020), UWE Bristol will partner with TechSPARK to deliver a pioneering programme to help catalyse investment into  fast-growing startups in Bristol, Bath and the West of England. The programme is the first of its kind in the UK and will launch activities to increase the flow of money into the area and showcase the region as a leading start-up hub.

The Investment Activator Programme (IAP) will begin as a 2 year pilot bringing together 8 public and private sector organisations who recognise the impact of working collaboratively to strengthen the ecosystem and jointly deliver activity. 

In the last few years Bristol has seen a dramatic rise in the level of investment into the city’s businesses and in 2019 outperformed the likes of Dublin, Zurich, Amsterdam, Oxford and Brussels. However there’s still a long way to go before the regions can compete with more traditional investment hubs like London where over $8.2bn raised this year versus $418m locally.

Investment Activator Briony Phillips said “According to the UKBAA, we have the third largest community of angel investors (early stage) in the UK, behind London and the South East. And yet 85% of the angel investment from our region goes into the golden triangle of London, Cambridge and Oxford.” 

“Little do they know that Graphcore and Ovo Energy are Bristol-grown unicorns, and Ultrahaptics, Blu Wireless, Immersive Labs and Open Bionics are just a few examples of real power-hitters when it comes to raising investment and making their mark on the global tech scene. The Investment Activator programme will add some much-needed capacity to help solve this challenge.”

The programme will build on some of the work done by TechSPARK and Engine Shed by expanding on the successful Silicon Gorge pitch competition which has worked with over 250 companies pitching for over £150 million between them, and the Quarterly Investment Briefing (QIB) events, which has  brought together over 300 investors to network, share knowledge and learn about potential investment opportunities.

The IAP has three areas of delivery – Events / Content and Community / Data and Connections – with the core objectives being:

  • To accelerate and catalyse the investment ecosystem 
  • To make investment support more accessible for founders
  • To build the network of investors and founders or leaders locally

The programme will deliver over 30 targeted investment events, articles and tools to support founders raising money. It will offer a relationship management programme to build connections with investors across the UK and showcase the opportunities in the West on a national stage.  

Tracey John, Director of Business and Innovation at UWE Bristol says: “We are really excited to be supporting the new Investment Activator Programme. The start-up ecosystem in the West of England needs initiatives that bring startups and early stage companies together with investors; investors who not only provide access to funds, but also offer real business experience that is invaluable to any early stage growth company. We have over 85 high tech businesses in the University Enterprise Zone at our Frenchay Campus and are excited to see the IAP support their growth.”

Other specialist partners for the programme include Delaware (enterprise software), Engine Shed (economic development), Rocketmakers (Venturetech), Sanderson (talent), Smith & Williamson (accounting), TLT (legal) & the West of England Combined Authority (Business Support). 

What is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?

Posted on

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships have been helping UK businesses innovate and grow for over 40 years and are one of a range of funding initiatives made available through Innovate UK (the UK government’s Innovation Agency).  

Linking businesses with an academic or research organisation and a graduate, a KTP enables a business to bring in new skills and the latest academic thinking to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project through a knowledge-based partnership.

The academic or research organisation partner will help to recruit a suitable graduate, known as an Associate. They will act as the employer of the graduate, who then works at the company for the duration of the project.

A short video explaining Knowledge Transfer Partnerships and the benefits they could have for your business

The scheme can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on what the project is and the needs of the business.

All of the knowledge gained during this time is embedded in the business, providing a valuable base to build on long after the project has finished. (A very high percentage of Associates are retained as employees, demonstrating the value they bring to the business).

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships can benefit businesses of any size and in any sector looking to address a core strategic challenge.

For more information or to view case studies please visit the Government webpages on KTPs.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership news:

Management KTP (MKTP) – Innovate UK have announced there is additional funding available for Management KTPs. The focus is to increase management skills and embed management strategies into your business. For more information visit our website or contact us on KTP@uwe.ac.uk

KTN have launched a new website, where you can discover more about KTP and potential associate vacancies as well as access the latest information on the Management KTPs