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Research Commercialisation Team

Knowledge Transfer Account

"What is the KTA and Why is it being introduced?"

The KTA is a knowledge transfer scheme that takes outputs from research undertaken at Durham and Newcastle Universities, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and commercialises them in the healthcare sector.

The scheme's unique feature is that we seek to use the clinical base of the NHS Trusts, which have strong links with the universities, to translate the engineering and physical science research results into a position where they can be exploited by the healthcare industry. We will develop strategies to reduce significantly the barriers to adoption and exploitation working with clinicians based at regional NHS Trusts, including the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

"How does the KTA work?"

The KTA works in two ways: 

The Technology Transfer Offices of the Universities will seek disclosures by academic staff of intellectual property which may be appropriate for commercial or social exploitation. Projects will be constructed to translate the results into healthcare companies, ideally via collaborative clinical trials. We have one such project already running.
We will seek partners in the healthcare sectors who have specific, market-driven, requirements that could be met through work that has been performed within the Universities. The Technology Transfer Offices will identify potential intellectual property and broker relationships between academic staff and industrial partners.  Wehave one inward secondment already running.

"What sort of project can be supported?"

The scheme is very flexible. Examples of the type of project that we could support are:

  • placement of an ex-PhD student as an intern in a clinical environment to test the feasibility of a device or invention in a clinical application;
  • placement or secondment of a student or contract staff member to a company (which may be a spin-out) in the healthcare sector to take an invention towards market;
  • funding of an interim manager to take an invention forward in the environment of a spin-out company;
  • funding for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership in which a recent graduate is employed by a university and seconded to work in a healthcare company on a joint science or engineering-based project with one or both of the Universities;
  • secondment of a company employee into a university to identify and condition intellectual property prior to its commercial development within the company.  

"Which Areas Does the KTA Cover?"

The scheme is restricted to physical science and engineering projects that have been funded by EPSRC and involve commercialisation in the healthcare sector. Although the KTA seeks to facilitate this commercialisation via the clinical facilities of Newcastle and South Tees NHS Trusts, this is not a requirement.

"The KTA focuses on, but is not restricted to"

  • Imaging and Diagnostics
  • Bio-Compatible Polymer Materials
  • Bio-sensors 

"What research have we done that might be relevant?"

Examples of high profile EPSRC-funded projects relevant to the present proposal include: 

  • The Polymer Inter-University Research Centre led by Prof T.C.B. McLeish
  • The CARMEN project in computational neuroscience led by Prof. C. Ingram
  • Cancer Imaging led by Drs M. Carroll and R. Maxwell, Profs A. Blamire, R.J. Griffin, D.R. Newell, D. Parker and E.R. Plummer
  • Advanced Electronics research led by Profs Yakovlev, O'Neill and Wright
  • Computer Science Research & Regional eScience Centre led by Prof P. Watson

"When does the KTA start?"

The scheme started on 1st October 2009 and ends on 30th September 2012.

"How do I apply?"

If you have a healthcare product need that might benefit from the scheme,

contact Julie Swinbank, Project Co-ordinator on Newcastle: (0191) 222 5488 or Durham: (0191) 334 3213 or