A partnership between the University of Strathclyde and a marine engineering company has been named as the winner of a UK-wide award.
The project, between Strathclyde and Aberdeenshire-based Fathom Systems, which manufactures products and services for the commercial diving industry, is the winner in the Engineering Excellence category of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Best of the Best Awards.
These awards celebrate KTPs, three-way collaborations between business, academic and research teams and qualified graduates, which are designed to drive innovation for UK businesses and organisations.
The KTP between Strathclyde and Fathom Systems was led by Fraser Stewart, formerly a KTP Associate with the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering. It aimed to extend the capability of a CSMTS (critical system monitoring and tracking system) developed by Fathom to monitor diver health and maximise safety.
At the same time, the project pivoted to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, with Fraser becoming a key member of the JFD team developing a new ventilator, the InVicto, in just 10 weeks. More than 60 of the ventilators have been developed, with 15 currently undergoing clinical trial in India.
The online awards ceremony, themed around the spirit of collaboration, showcased the most innovative, impactful, and inspiring projects over the past 12 months.
Dr Christos Tachtatzis, who led the team from Strathclyde’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, said: “The KTP scheme is a very valuable framework for establishing partnerships between companies with well-defined product goals with key academic skills that provide an enhanced perspective on the optimum technologies that deliver a commercially robust solution.
“The KTP with Fathom is an exemplar of a strong collaboration essential to delivering high quality innovation and most importantly, showcases the excellence of the Associate, who has demonstrated not only engineering elegance but leadership throughout the development. Fraser will undoubtedly bring value to the company in the future and be central to establishing a new suite of products that will contribute to the sustainability of the company.”
Professor Craig Michie, of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, said: “The KTP programme is wholly aligned to the ethos of the University of Strathclyde as a ‘Place of Useful Learning’ and the scheme is considered a core strand of delivering benefit to industry.”
Dr Fraser Stewart, Biomedical Engineer at JFD and former KTP associate on the project, said: “The KTP with Strathclyde has been very successful and has provided a host of benefits to all involved. It has enabled JFD to kickstart a biomedical innovation programme that will revolutionise diver safety. Further it has provided extensive training activities and mentorship that has accelerated my career.”
Strathclyde also had nominations in two other categories. A KTP between Declan Bryans, KTP Associate with the Department of Pure and Applied Chemistry, and manufacturing company Mersen UK Holytown, was nominated for Best Knowledge Transfer Partnership, while another was shortlisted for Future Leader, between Konstantinos Tsitsilonis, KTP Associate in the Department of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Marine Engineering, and manufacturing company Datum Electronics.
The West of Scotland KTP Centre is the largest of its kind in Scotland. It has helped establish more than 450 projects and generated more than £65 million of KTP grants for its partners. Half of Strathclyde KTPs graded in 2020 were rated outstanding, which is double the UK average.