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Leckey and University of Ulster Scoop Top KTP Award

11th March 2010

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership Awards, which celebrate partnerships between businesses and universities, were held last night at the London Marriot. At the gala event Leckey's partnership with the University of Ulster's School of Health Sciences won the top prize of ­ the Best KTP in the UK Award.

Leckey and University of Ulster Scoop Top KTP Award

Tim Waterstone, Alison Porter-Armstrong, Clare Wright, James Leckey, Caroline McCabe, London 10th March 2010.

A total of 230 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships from across the UK were reviewed in this year’s competition.

The Best KTP in the UK success at the awards follows triumph at the regional competition where Ulster’s graduate Associate Clare Wright and James Leckey Design won the best KTP in Northern Ireland award, which qualified them for the UK finals. Carol Keery, Invest Northern Ireland’s Director of  Innovation, Research and Technology, said; “Clare’s project with the University of Ulster enabled clinical input to be included into product development and testing phases of Leckey’s ‘Early Activity System’, which since launch in Autumn 2007 has been the fastest selling product in the history of the company, trebling predicted sales volumes within the first year.” 

Each winning regional partnership was invited to London to make an oral presentation of their achievements to a distinguished judging panel. Commenting after the award was made, the judges said that the Leckey/University of Ulster partnership was “the most rounded partnership that clearly demonstrated an effective relationship between the company and the University. It embodies everything that the KTP stands for”.

The partnership, which had already made history by being the first ever partnership award to be made to an Occupational Therapist in the UK, blended Ulster’s occupational therapy skills with the firm’s expertise in designing equipment for children with disabilities.

Dr Porter-Armstrong, a Senior Lecturer in Rehabilitation Sciences, said: “We are absolutely thrilled. Clare is an extraordinary woman and a dedicated clinician and we were very fortunate that she joined our team. We all gained so much from working with the firm on refining the product for optimum use by children and their carers.” 

Jackie Casey, a Lecturer in Occupational Therapy who was Clare’s ‘knowledge supervisor‘on the project, said: “KTPs are a tremendous challenge but very satisfying, and we want to do more.”

In KTPs, graduate Associates are supervised by specialist academics while they work with firms on industrial and commercial projects. Businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity by harnessing knowledge, technology and other skills that the universities and colleges have. Students and academic advisers gain fresh business skills by working closely with companies. 

In their acceptance speech the team acknowledged the essential behind the scenes work carried out by the KTP office on the Magee Campus and the funding for the programme provided by the Technology Strategy Board and Invest NI.

Caroline McCabe, KTP Manager, at Ulster said: “This is the second occasion that James Leckey Design has won a major national award with the University of Ulster.  We have developed a long term mutually beneficial relationship over the last number of years and we look forward to working with many more local organisations in the future.”

Tim Brundle, Director of Innovation at the University of Ulster, said: “It is wonderful to see that the company and academic partnership with Ulster has gained recognition for the important work that they do. I would like to thank the people we work alongside, including Invest Northern Ireland and AEA Technology PLC for their support.”