Innovators celebrated at Essex KTP Awards

  • Date

    Thu 21 Oct 21

Professor Chris Greer handing KTP Best Academic award to Professor Tracy Lawson

Ground-breaking academics using cutting-edge research to transform businesses have been honoured at the University of Essex's prestigious Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Awards.

Incredible innovators using the latest artificial intelligence to help doctors save precious time during the pandemic, lab work to improve crop yield and support food sustainability, and a transformational data science company developing a data academy for 16–24-year-olds, were among the winners at the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Celebration.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) are Innovate UK’s flagship programme, connecting businesses that want to embed innovation with university expertise and graduate talent. The University of Essex now has 40 KTPs across eight academic departments worth over £10million.

University of Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster said: “Throughout this tumultuous time we’ve continued to deliver outstanding growth and progress on our KTP partnerships. We are incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved in collaboration with so many ambitious businesses which share our commitment to innovation. They are working with us to put our academic expertise into action in new and exciting ways to drive our economic impact in the region and beyond.”

More than 140 guests gathered at Wivenhoe House Hotel for the fifth year of celebrating KTPs at Essex, which was also live-streamed online.

Attendees at the first major event since the pandemic enjoyed speeches from Professor Anthony Forster and Rolls-Royce’s Chief of Manufacturing Engineering, Tom Slater. Tom revealed how his career was launched by becoming a KTP Associate and how he is now working on the world’s largest aero-engine – the UltraFan, capable of 25% efficiency gains on other aero-engines, making it transformational in terms of sustainability and innovation challenges.

Robert Walker, Head of Business Engagement at the University of Essex, said: “It’s important to take a moment to celebrate the phenomenal work being delivered by the university’s Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, and this year it’s more important than ever. KTPs can play an integral role in helping businesses bring their innovation ideas to life and the incredible achievements being recognised here showcase why more businesses than ever are joining forces with the University of Essex to develop these partnerships.

He added: “The winners at this year’s awards thoroughly deserve the recognition they’re receiving. They are all making huge differences within their sectors and are truly demonstrating the value of empowering businesses to innovate through collaboration.”

Award winners

Winner of the Best KTP Associate award – Dr Dheeraj Rathee

The associate award winner has spent the past three years working with, Provide CiC, to bring AI expertise into the healthcare sector. This outstanding project, co-delivered with the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering and the Department of Psychology, has developed intelligent automated triaging software for musculoskeletal patients, while undertaking clinician and patient engagement to ensure trust and buy-in from its users. The system is already saving healthcare providers time and resources, freeing up clinicians to spend more face-to-face time with patients.

Winner of the Best Academic award - Professor Tracy Lawson

An extremely well-respected plant scientist, Professor Tracy Lawson from the School of Life Sciences leads the Essex Plant Innovation Centre.

She is one of the world’s leading specialists in the field of plant productivity and is well-published in many of the discipline’s leading titles. Professor Lawson co-supervised a KTP with ADC bioscientific, with whom they developed a new commercially viable and robust leaf photosynthesis chamber.

She is committed to working with industry to improve crop yields and sustainably feed the world’s growing population.

Winner of the Best KTP Partnership award - Filament AI

Young fast-growing tech company Filament AI is on a quest to democratise AI and make it available to the world of business. Having cut his teeth building IBM Watson, founder and CEO Phil Westcott brought in academia early, to help them stay ahead of the curve.

The first KTP with the company supported them in building a new platform, Cielo, which manifests the very latest ideas and techniques around Machine Learning and is helping them move towards a software-as-a-service business model.

Winner of the Lasting Impact award – Profusion

Profusion has launched a new Data Academy which is being co-delivered with The University of Essex. Aimed at 16–24-year-olds from diverse backgrounds, is addressing the UK’s skills gap in data literacy. As well as the academy the university’s work with Profusion has led to the development of new teaching material for data science courses delivered by the Department of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science, providing better routes into data science careers and employability outcomes for students.

Discover how KTPs can transform your business

We are the leading university in the East of England and London for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), the flagship Innovate UK programme. If you're looking to develop a new product or improve a process, KTPs at the University of Essex can give your business a competitive advantage. For any business that is thinking of working with Essex, the Business Engagement team would encourage you to use this time to make contact so that they can help you explore any new ideas. See our business web pages for more information and ways we could help you innovate.

Hear from our KTP Award winners on Vimeo 

You can see all our videos from our KTP Award event on our Vimeo channel