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University-business collaboration pushing the boundaries of innovation

Last week the University of Essex hosted a delegation from the British Council and guests from a selection of Thai universities.

The visit showcased Essex University’s successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme and allowed delegates to tour

Essex’s new multi-million-pound Innovation Centre. The University of Essex is the leading university in the East of England and

London for KTPs. These are an established and successful initiative, funded by Innovate UK and Research Councils, which bring

together businesses with research expertise.

A view from Above

Above’s CEO Will Hitchcock gave an insightful talk about our experience within the KTP programme from a business perspective.

Will explained how the partnership allows us to tap into the knowledge and skills of leading academics outside our company, to help

drive our research and development projects. Academics in the field of machine learning are working with Above to automate its

service offerings so that we can deliver results quicker. The partnership also allows us to create new technologies for the solar industry

through open innovation.


Above’s post-graduate associate, Nick Olivier says, “Academic expertise of related tasks has proved invaluable to the project, while

the constraints of the commercial domain have ensured a transfer of knowledge in both directions.”


Open innovation in Essex

Open Innovation is a growing concept in academia and business. It works by combining internal and external ideas to advance the development

of new services or products. The visitors gained a UK perspective of an open innovation system. Here in Essex, the university has focused on

creating an eco-system of flourishing businesses that can collaborate with the university to drive innovation. The recently-opened Innovation Centre

and well-established Parkside complex connect the private and public business communities with the academic community and student entrepreneurs.


A growing partnership

The University of Essex is an excellent example of how UK universities engage with industry. The visitors from Thailand were interested in taking away ideas on how this structure might be created for the same purpose in Thailand. Above’s partnership with Essex is robust, healthy and growing. We will be exhibiting together at the Solar and Storage Live conference in September at the NEC in Birmingham. You will find us in the Innovation Zone.

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