Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is a nationwide programme that has been helping businesses succeed for the past 40 years by connecting them to the UK’s extensive pool of world-leading experts. Part-funded by government, it is a partnership between a business seeking expertise, an academic institution (such as the University) and a recently qualified graduate – known as an Associate.
Dr Zainab Dangana, with a PhD in Construction Management from Plymouth, is using the findings of her research to implement sustainable technologies to support the delivery of low carbon buildings across the UK.
In her role as Sustainability Research and Development Manager for Wates Smartspace, part of the Wates Group, Zainab works with colleagues and customers to facilitate the selection of innovative solutions by organising 'Green Dragons' Den' style competitions.
The selection involves a three stage screening process in which technologies are measured against robust suitability criteria. Finalists are then given the opportunity to showcase and pitch their innovative technology to a judging panel made up of key decision-makers from Wates Smartspace and representatives from its market-leading customers.
Wates Smartspace hosted its first customer event in 2016, inviting four of its customers to join the judging panel. Six suppliers were given the opportunity to pitch and each customer is now in discussion with those suppliers that best met their unique sustainability challenges. Opportunities to trial these technologies on client sites are now being explored.
This initiative has had a positive impact on the ability of suppliers to accelerate their route to market. In addition Wates customers have benefitted from being able to identify innovative, market-ready, low carbon sustainable products or technologies that can offer direct efficiency benefits across their building portfolios.
No other contractor has a structured and targeted framework in place to support such an initiative. As a result, in October 2016, Wates was awarded the London Build Excellence Award at the London Construction Awards. This recognises the outstanding contribution that Wates has made to the construction industry in seeking to lessen the impact of their buildings on the environment.
Feedback from a key supplier:
"We have found Wates to be genuinely and proactively interested in supporting innovation in the construction sector, as evidenced by the programme initiated and managed by Dr Dangana. The programme has real environmental benefits and, through our participation, we have been introduced to some meaningful opportunities which Zainab is helping us to develop further. We would encourage other suppliers to participate in future competitions."
Paul Groves, Business Development Manager, Spiralite