Queen's Belfast News Release

19th November, 2010

Knowledge Transfer key in helping local companies outlive economic downturn

Knowledge Transfer key in helping local companies outlive economic downturn Paul Beaney, Cherry Pipes; Dr Iain Gray, Technology Strategy Board; Justyna Gabrowska, Cherry Pipes, Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Gregson.

QTV covered the awards, watch the story here.

Northern Ireland companies should tap into the expertise available in the region’s universities and colleges if they want help in outliving the economic downturn. That was the clear message coming from the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Awards in Queen’s University’s Whitla Hall on Thursday evening (18 November).

An average increase in pre-tax profits of around £270,000 per year, per KTP project for companies involved in the scheme, was just one of the benefits highlighted during the event, which honoured some of Northern Ireland’s most dynamic businesses undertaking innovative projects with local universities and colleges.

The overall winner on the night was Dungannon-based company, Cherry Pipes Ltd. Named as Best KTP for 2010, Cherry Pipes Ltd has become one of the largest and most technically proficient plastics recyclers and manufacturers in Ireland. It manufactures high density polythene (HDPE) plastic drainage pipes. Through its Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the Polymer Processing Research Centre at Queen’s, the company developed a new approach to pipe extrusion.

The result was an improvement in the quality of their product and a significant reduction in the amount of waste from the manufacturing process.

The project with Cherry Pipes was carried out by KTP Associates Paul Beaney and Justyna Grabowska over the period September 2006 until January of this year under the supervision of Gerry McNally and Professor Raymond Murphy at Queen’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The project was part-funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the Technology Strategy Board.

Queen’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Postgraduates Professor James McElnay congratulated Cherry Pipes and the other winners on the night, and said the success of the KTP scheme in Northern Ireland demonstrated the tangible benefits of knowledge transfer activity. He said: “Knowledge Transfer Partnerships bring together the key elements which underpin research and development and lead to economic prosperity.

“In addition to reporting an increase in pre-tax profits of around £270,000 per year, they create on average, another three jobs, secure valuable training for an additional 14 members of staff, and make a further investment of £166,000 in plant and machinery.
“By merging innovative and entrepreneurial businesses with the expertise and skills within higher and further education, KTP is proving to be a driving force in local wealth and job creation.” 

Among the guests of honour were Dr Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, and Alastair Hamilton, Chief Executive of Invest NI.

Mr Hamilton said: “The KTP programme enables local businesses to access skills and expertise from academic institutions. The programme has a significant impact on the growth of participating local companies allowing them develop innovative solutions to help their business grow.”

“The partnership between Cherry Pipes and Queen’s, backed by Invest NI, is an excellent example of how industry-based graduate research through the Knowledge Transfer Programme can identify and develop products which could open up new commercial opportunities.”

The following businesses received awards at the dinner:

For a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Queen’s University Belfast:
Cherry Pipes Ltd, Fusion Antibodies Ltd, Uni-Trunk Ltd, Maydown Precision Engineering Ltd, Skea Egg Farms Ltd, Devenish Nutrition  Ltd, Nitronica Ltd, Cherry Pipes Ltd (Short KTP, Valpar Industrial Ltd, CDE Ireland Ltd, PWS Ireland Ltd, Canyon Europe Ltd, Solvay Interox Ltd, Provita Eurotech Ltd, Horizon Renewables Ltd.

For a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Ulster:
Northstone (NI) Ltd, Colin Glen Trust, Hunter Apparel Solutions Ltd,  The Foyle Food Group Ltd, The Foyle Food Group Ltd, Armatile Ltd, Schrader Electronics Ltd, Dennison Commercials Ltd.

For a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Belfast Metropolitan College:
Breezemount Electrical & Hydraulics Ltd, Biznet IIS Ltd, Mount Charles Catering Ltd.

For a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Southern Regional College:
Derrys Ltd.


Media inquiries to Anne-Marie Clarke at Queen’s Press and PR Unit on +44 (0)28 9097 5320 or email anne-marie.clarke@qub.ac.uk

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