How a partnership with the KTC helped Ella’s Kitchen, and ‘Thinking Like a Toddler’ with founder Paul Lindley

Award winning British entrepreneur, social campaigner, best-selling author and University of Reading honorary Paul Lindley visited Henley Business School on Whiteknights campus in October earlier this year to provide an excellent lecture on ‘The Huge Power of Thinking Like a Toddler’, echoing his fantastic book he released back in 2017.

Paul spent the hour-long lecture discussing how he believes unlocking our personal potential is not achieved by learning new skills, but by re-discovering old ones – those we all had when we were toddlers. Paul argues that in ‘growing down’ we can be more imaginative, free thinking, playful and self-confident, allowing us to look at our personal, corporate and social challenges in a different, more impactful way.

Paul founded Ella’s Kitchen in 2006 with a mission to improve children’s lives through developing healthy relationships with food. After collaborating with the Knowledge Transfer Centre at University of Reading on three successful Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, and now working on another project, Ella’s Kitchen has become the UK’s largest baby food brand and has sales of over $100M from across 40 countries. As part of the projects, together we have helped tackle the psychology and clinical language of the business, sourcing raw materials without compromising quality, and packaging; all helping the company grow into the incredible success it is today.

The relationship between Ella’s Kitchen and the Knowledge Transfer Centre at the University of Reading is a prime example of collaborations that work, and how the smallest idea can turn into a world-changing innovation. Both parties have benefited from this incredible partnership, and it has been a delight to watch the company continue to reach new heights in the market.

 

You can still watch Paul’s lecture here.

You can watch and/or read about the collaboration between Ella’s Kitchen at UoR here.

If you’d like to found out how we can help your business grow, click here.

Bullitt Group Student Design Challenge 2018

 

We are proud to be a department that not only supports businesses with their company growth, but also students with exciting competitions that help prepare them for their careers after University.

One of the annual projects we love helping with is the Bullitt Group Design Challenge, ran by both Bullitt themselves and University of Reading Professor of Computer & Human Interaction, Rachel McCrindle.

 

The challenge is a two-day competition partly at University of Reading and partly at Bullitt Group’s stunning offices in Reading centre, during which the teams have to create, illustrate, and then pitch their ideas on identifying problems with Cat phones and offering a solution. The students get the opportunity to put together a business proposal along with their marketing and financing strategies, and present their innovations to senior members of Bullitt Group’s management team.

 

Benefit for the students, and for Bullitt:

Encouraging the students to work as team, collate thorough research, and compress their work into a 3-minute presentation to the senior members of Bullitt Group staff in a short time frame helps the students develop a wide variety of skills, and is a fantastic addition to their CVs. It also helps the students with their confidence, teamwork and presentation skills.

Students finding problems and offering different ways in which a solution can be met also allows Bullitt Group to look at own their innovation challenges from a different angle.

 

The challenge is a great example of how Bullitt work closely with local communities, how Rachel McCrindle and the University of Reading work with local businesses, and how the Knowledge Transfer Centre continues its goal to offer support and guidance to companies and students alike.

 

This year’s winning team:

This year’s winners were 1st Year Biomedical Engineering student team, U-matter, for designing an innovative tech solution.

Well done to all involved!

 

Want to know about Bullitt Group? You can check out their website right here.

TVBLEP announce their award winning funding escalator increase to £11.3m!

In 2013, Thames Valley Berkshire LEP invested nearly half its Growing Places Fund to create the TVB Funding Escalator to help local high-growth businesses. Managed by The FSE Group, the Funding Escalator has so far supported 51 companies and invested £8.3million of loans and equity, creating or safeguarding 594 jobs in the LEP area. In addition, £21million of private finance has been leveraged to help companies grow. The funding escalator has supported businesses from a wide range of different sectors, including Tech & Digital, Life Sciences, MedTech, Cultural & Creative and Food & Beverages.

To build on this success, the LEP has committed a further £3million to make the £11.3million an ‘evergreen fund’; and increased both the size of loans available up to £300,000 and the period up to 5 years. The increased scale of the fund will mean that it is self-sustaining so that it can continue to support SMEs in Berkshire in perpetuity. This represents a significant investment for the LEP and reinforces its determination to support SMEs in the area, from any sector, that want to grow and create wealth locally.

Robin Barnes, Programme Lead for Enterprise, Innovation & Business Growth at Thames Valley Berkshire LEP says: “We created the first funding escalator in the UK with the aim to transform the way businesses can grow by creating an enduring legacy of business investment, innovation and growth in our sub region. This increased capacity and evergreen status is a real game changer and I would encourage ambitious businesses to get in touch with The FSE Group.”

Chief Executive of The FSE Group, Dean Mayer, adds: “We are delighted to continue our close working relationship with Thames Valley Berkshire LEP. The Funding Escalator is here to help support businesses looking to grow substantially in Berkshire, and we are extremely proud of our achievements over the last 5 years. This new injection of £3million allows us to press ahead in reaching even more innovative and high-quality businesses in the area.”

 

**All text courtesy of TVBLEP on http://www.thamesvalleyberkshire.co.uk/news?id=69**

JOB ALERT! Excellent opportunity for a Digital Content Executive with Red Whale

Our new partnership with Red Whale has generated an exciting opportunity for a Digital Content Executive to join their team in Reading.

The 24-month fixed term contract role of the Digital Content Executive will be to develop a state-of-the-art, engaging and highly effective online teaching provision, innovative course content and assessment methods to compliment the current face-to-face offering delivered by Red Whale, and transform the business into an online operation.

In addition to an excellent £30,000pa salary (depending on qualifications and experience), the successful candidate will also benefit from an additional £2,000pa dedicated training budget specifically tailored to your own personal development.

Candidates need to submit an application by May 13th with interviews taking play May 29th, and the role to commence in June.

If you have questions about this or other KTP vacancies contact:
T: 0118 378 6142 E: ktpjobs@reading.ac.uk

Or you can apply now right here: https://bit.ly/2EESu68

Pioneering Aviator Polly Vacher visits the University campus on International Women’s Week!

Back in August 2017 we shared our good news story about how the Systems and Engineering Building at University of Reading (the permanent home of the Knowledge Transfer Centre) was renamed in honour of the inspirational Polly Vacher MBE (you can still read the story here: https://goo.gl/4kjqVj).

On Monday 5th March 2018, Mrs Vacher provided staff and students with an incredible lecture at Whiteknights campus, where she was interviewed by the Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell. This special event was in memory of Edith Morley, the lecture itself taking place in the Edith Morley Building. Edith was believed to be the first woman to be awarded the title professor in an English university, and was an inspiring and motivating force for the young people around her. Over 100 years on, we were honoured to celebrate this extraordinary part of our heritage and welcome Polly to help inspire young women to achieve great things today.

Prior to her amazing talk, Mrs Vacher enjoyed a guided tour of the University campus, and we felt incredibly privileged for her to have visited the building named after her, and meet us all in the KTC!

Polly Vacher MBE is a true inspiration to the young women of University of Reading, and was the perfect person to have visited us on the week of International Women’s Day.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership with local energy monitoring company

At the University of Reading, we’re always excited to work with local companies and to have the opportunity to apply our research in a way which adds real value to the world around us. Accordingly, we’re very pleased to announce our latest Knowledge Transfer Partnership with local energy monitoring company Optimal Monitoring. Optimal Monitoring work with small and medium-sized businesses and organisations to help them better understand their energy consumption and identify ways in which they could reduce their usage, thus reducing their environmental impact and costs.

Our new collaborative Knowledge Transfer Partnership will enable Optimal Monitoring to work with the University to develop an enhanced monitoring system, capable of better identifying unwanted utility usage as well as proposing solutions to exceptional consumption to help with further cost reductions. We’re very much looking forward to working with Optimal Monitoring on this project and are excited to see how the new system will help them add real value for their customers.

KTP or Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is Europe’s leading programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness by enabling companies to work with higher education or research and technology organisations to obtain knowledge, technology or skills which they consider to be of strategic competitive importance. The  UK-wide programme is overseen by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, and supported by 16 other public sector funding organisations.

 

Our team is expanding! Again!

We are happy to announce that we have welcomed yet another member to our KTC family!

Along with the new arrivals of Kimberley, Tom, and Vicki, we also welcome Dr Carol McAnally; Carol has a PhD in chemistry from Strathclyde University, and has worked largely in research funding. Most recently, Carol was a senior portfolio manager for EPSRC’s Engineering Theme, managing research infrastructure funding opportunities along with the sensors and instrumentation research portfolio.

Carol joins us as our newest Business Relationship Manager, where she will be jointly responsible for facilitating collaborations between companies and non-profit organisations interested in working with the University of Reading. Carol brings with her a wide-breadth of knowledge, and is the final piece to complete our impressive team, for now at least….

Welcome Dr McAnally!

Yet ANOTHER new member of the KTC family!

We are delighted to announce another new person to join the Knowledge Transfer Centre; Dr Vicki Aldmington. Vicki has a PhD in Fungal genetics and biochemistry from University of St Andrews, and has worked largely in education and outreach in the learned society sector. Most recently Vicki managed FoodWasteNet; a BBSRC Network in Biotechnology and Bioenergy.

Vicki is now our newest Business Relationship Manager and will be jointly responsible for facilitating collaborations between companies and non-profit organisations interested in working with the University of Reading.

We are very excited to experience the expertise Vicki will bring the team, and welcome her to the family!

Another new member of the KTC family!

We are very happy to announce that we have another new team member; Thomas Wildsmith!

Dr Wildsmith gained his Ph.D in materials and inorganic chemistry at the University of Bath, and has since worked for both a large research organisation and a small business where a key role was the development of collaborative research projects.

Thomas has now joined the Knowledge Transfer Centre as a Business Relationship Manager, where his responsibilities will include facilitating collaborations between businesses and organisations interested in working with the University of Reading.

We warmly welcome Thomas, and we’re very excited about the expertise he is bringing to the department!

University of Reading building renamed in honour of Polly Vacher

Formerly known as Systems and Engineering, building 38 located on the University of Reading Whiteknights campus has now been renamed in honour of an aviation enthusiast.

Polly Vacher, a former Masters student in Music Education at Reading , attended the unveiling of the building’s new sign on Tuesday 15th August, accompanied by family members and Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading.

Mrs Vacher made several long-distance flights in a single-engine aircraft in aid of Flying Scholarships for Disabled People (a charity that allows people with disabilities to pilot aeroplanes themselves), and was an awarded an MBE by the Queen for her efforts. At the unveiling, Mrs Vacher said: “It’s a proud honour to have a building named after me, but very humbling. I’d like to think that everyone who walks through the door of the building will be inspired to believe that if you keep at it you can achieve your dreams.”

Mrs Vacher also supports University of Reading’s Institute of Education, establishing its Universal Voices community children’s choir for children aged 7-12 and giving children the opportunity to experience the joy of music regardless of their financial circumstances.

The Polly Vacher building is home to the Knowledge Transfer Centre, and it is a huge honour for us to get to work in a building named after such an prestigious woman. Mrs Vacher is an inspiration and we are very proud to be part of the recognition she deserves. 

You can read more about the charity she works with,Flying Scholarships for Disabled People, on their website: http://www.fsdp.co.uk/