We welcome research collaborations with business organisations. These can take a number of forms which vary in the extent to which the work addresses broad research issues or specific concerns of a collaborative partner, and the extent to which the work is funded by the partner or by government or other funding bodies.
Research Council Funded Collaboration
As a university research centre, many of our activities are funded by UK research councils and other research funding bodies including EU funders. Such research projects might last from one to five years (typically three) and employ a number of researchers and fund PhD students.
To encourage the relevance and uptake of our work we often conduct these research projects in collaboration with one or more commercial (or public sector) partners. This can provide us with real-world contexts to study whilst also providing a partner organisation with access to research output relevant to them. The contribution of the partner organisation is usually 'in kind', meaning that they provide access to study situations and/or data. The theme of this kind of research is directed towards questions of interest to the wider research community.
In the past, The User Centred Interactive Search with Digital Libraries project involved working with with industry partners such as Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (a multi-national law form), LexisNexis Butterworths (a large publishing house and developer of digital legal information resources) and Proquest (a large publisher and digital library developer).
Yvonne Rogers is the lead PI on a current collaborative project on Sustainable Connected Cities with Intel and Imperial College London. There have also been regular discussions on research priorities with manufacturers of medical devices on the CHI+MED project, such as B. Braun, Baxter, Adelard, PDD and Carefusion. The ECLIPSE project involves collaboration with NHS healthcare practitioners on the safe use of infusion pumps and the Emo-Pain project also led to further collaborations with the NHS on technology for managing chronic pain.
If you would like to find out more please contact our Business Fellow Anna Cox.
Knowledge Transfer Partnership
KTP (or Knowledge Transfer Partnership) is offered by the DTI (UK Department of Trade and Industry) to promote collaboration between 'Knowledge Bases,' such as universities, and industry or public organisations. The KTP scheme works by the Knowledge Base employing a graduate or graduates to work on a project that is strategically important to the company or organisation. The project can last between 1 and 3 years (usually 2) - if 3 years then the graduate can register for a PhD at UCL (subject also to meeting the normal academic criteria for doing a PhD of course).
The budget per person is set at about £44k per annum for a project in London, of which the company pay about £18k, with the Government paying the rest plus an overhead of about £11k. This represents very good value for the company.
The scheme is based on the benefits for the company or organisation, the Knowledge Base and the graduate who does the work (The Associate). Keys points are:
- The project must be of strategic importance to the company, and
- There must be a significant element of academic challenge in the project.
UCL has about a dozen KTP schemes at the moment. Departments participating include Computer Science, the Bartlett, Chemical, Mechanical, Electronic and Electrical and Geomatic Engineering and Medical Physics. The Management Studies Centre, Department of Geography and the Academic Centre for Anaesthesia have also been involved.
Over the last five years, UCL has been awarded about 35 programmes to the total value of about £4M. One of these was a KTP with PassivSystems and Dr Paul Marshall and collaborators in the Computer Science Dept which focused on improving energy usage monitoring devices and ran for 2 years until Octover 2014.
Claire Arbon in UCL Advances, is the UCL KTP Manager, co-ordinating KTP activities with UCL and providing a support service for those departments participating, including UCLIC. If you would like some more information, please either email Anna Cox or Claire Arbon.
UCLIC staff are an excellent resource for consulting. Many thousands of pounds have been invested in the knowledge and expertise we have acquired and we can offer consultancy services in a number of areas related to Human Computer Interaction.
For example, many staff are regularly involved in organizing or contributing to workshops to transfer knowledge and techniques to Industry in providing consultancy on specific projects.
Please note a couple of unavoidable realities though:
- UCL is a not-for-profit organisation. If engaged in collaborative bids to funding organisations, all UCL's costs (direct and indirect) need to be covered.
- We do not have a huge pool of staff waiting for work; every member of staff is funded by a particular project. Using their time involves either buying it out or recruiting additional staff.