The 2009 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships awards, which took place in London earlier this month, was an opportunity for businesses engaged in knowledge transfer to celebrate a year of outstanding achievements.

In a year in which businesses are battling tough economic conditions as well as ever-increasing global competition, it is highly encouraging to see that companies are continuing to recognise the value in collaborative working - and are reaping significant long-term rewards as a result.

The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships awards scheme recognises the most successful projects fostered through the Technology Strategy Board-led programme, which supports innovation-led, three-way collaboration between businesses, academic institutions and graduate associates.

Nine partnerships in total were presented with the Winning Partnership Award, selected from a list of over 204 eligible nominations. Companies operating in a broad range of industry sectors were awarded, with notable successes in the manufacturing and information technology sectors.

Stand-out projects included the development of an innovative patented product in metal manufacture leading to a 40% increase in sales and the design of a new materials recovery facility, which led to an increased turnover of over £340,000. One company also developed a novel flexible ‘flat pack' concrete arch for constructing bridges which significantly increased sales, turnover and profits.

However, it is important that firms recognise that opportunities to draw on higher education support are not limited by sector - the KTP programme can support any type of business to innovate.

However it is important that firms recognise that opportunities to draw on higher education support are not limited by sector
For example, one project awarded for its achievements was between Riding for the Disabled and the University of Reading. The project won the coveted Partnership Award, the best ESRC-sponsored project for Application of Social or Management Science and was also short-listed for the Excellence in Computing award, in recognition of exceptional results achieved.

The collaboration aimed to design, develop and implement a complete information technology infrastructure, supporting the RDA's strategic vision to modernise, centralise and make more efficient its business processes and communications. Competitiveness, efficiency and quality of service all significantly improved.

Another KTP project between Crawford Scientific Ltd and University of the West of Scotland to develop a fully online eLearning system was also a recipient of the Partnership Award. The aim of the project was to design and develop advanced eLearning products in analytical chemistry with improved project management, learning interaction and deployment technologies. This resulted in the development of new knowledge and capabilities and an annual profit rise expected to be around £100,000.

South-West based website suppliers, Goss Interactive Ltd, also achieved a winning partnership award for their KTP project, which has helped the company to be more responsive to its markets. Working with the University of Plymouth and Associate Rohana Rajapakse, the KTP transferred leading edge Information Retrieval techniques, so that Goss could develop a new product aimed at its local authority and government clients. This project has led to an 11% increase in sales and a forecasted 8% increase in profits year on year.

Award nominations were made on a regional basis across the UK and celebrated five winners from the English regions, two from Scotland and one each from Wales and Northern Ireland.

Special awards were also presented to six partnerships for sector specific achievements and six high calibre associates were awarded the coveted Business Leader of Tomorrow Award in recognition of exceptional leadership and project management skills demonstrated through their KTP projects.

The successes highlighted by this year's awards demonstrate how collaborative working between the business and higher education sectors is having a genuine impact on wealth creation in the UK, helping more and more firms become fitter and better able to respond to current and future challenges.

For more information visit