University receives Best ‘Collaborative Impact’ at national awards ceremony

The University of Bath and Ford have been awarded best ‘Collaborative Impact’ at the PraxisUnico Impact Awards Ceremony 2012, for their research into the reduction of C02 emissions.

The fuel efficient, low carbon cars project which was funded by the University’s £3.4 million Knowledge Transfer Account (KTA), was recognised as having made an outstanding contribution to society and the economy through innovation.

In helping to reduce C02 emissions to a level that seemed unrealistic three years ago, the team were short listed from over 100 entries across the country by PraxisUnico, the UK’s leading research commercialisaton organisation, for the impact awards which celebrate the success of collaborative working and transferring of knowledge and expertise.

Dr Chris Brace, Mechanical Engineering, led the KT activity, the other investigators from Bath being Professor Gary Hawley, Dr Sam Akehurst, and Dr Chris Bannister, and from Ford Andy Scarisbrick, Ian Pegg, Roland Stark, and Phil Price.

L to R: Dr Denise Cooke, KTA Project Manager; Dr Jon Hunt, Head of R&DC, RDSO; Dr Chris Brace, Deputy Director of the PVRC; Professor Gary Hawley, Director of the PVRC; Dr Douglas Robertson, PraxisUnico Chairman; Maggie Philbin, host & presenter

Professor Gary Hawley, Director of the Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC) which has a long history of collaboration with the company, says: “This Collaborative Impact Award recognises those teams that have produced outstanding impact through successful knowledge transfer.

“This is a fitting tribute to the twenty-five-year collaboration that we have sustained with Ford and our work is now having a significant impact on national CO2 emissions resulting from engine improvements in everyday passenger cars”.

Andy Scarisbrick, Supervisor of the European Powertrain Government & University Collaborations Group, who managed the University interactions from Ford, says: “We have been working very closely with the University of Bath for many years and they continue to provide technical insights that we can take to production”.

Dr Denise Cooke, KTA Project Manager in the Research Development & Support Office (RDSO) at the University, was also shortlisted for the KT Achiever of the Year Award which recognises an individual with no more than five years experience in a technology or knowledge transfer role.

Denise joined RDSO in 2009 to manage the EPSRC-funded KTA with Dr Jon Hunt, KTA Project Director, who was also present at the ceremony with the academic partners. She says: “It is fantastic that Bath's knowledge exchange efforts have been recognised at a national level and that we were the only University with finalists in more than one category”.

Dr Brace, Deputy Director of the PVRC says: “I am delighted that our KT activity in partnership with Ford has been recognised in this way. As an engineer it gives me great satisfaction to work on industrially relevant problems, especially when the results have a significant impact on current practice.

“Effective collaboration needs strong links at many points between organisations and the support of Jon Hunt, Denise Cooke and the team within RDSO has been essential to the continued strengthening of our relationship with Ford. The support available through the KTA has been a key enabler to take our KT activities with Ford to a higher level through the secondment of staff and the embedding of research outcomes.”

The awards were hosted and presented by Maggie Philbin, a regular reporter on BBC 1’s ‘Inside Out’ and BBC ‘The One Show’ who previously presented 'Tomorrow’s World', at the ceremony which took place at the PraxisUnico Gala Dinner at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on 14 June 2012.

Dr Douglas Robertson, PraxisUnico Chairman, rounded off the evening by saying: “What a fantastic evening. It is incredibly important to celebrate achievements and the field of technology and knowledge transfer is no different.

"My congratulations to all who participated and, in particular, the winners. These success stories demonstrate the diversity of activities emerging from university and research laboratories. We had over 100 applications but that in turn represents just a very small part of the research base's contribution to the economy much of which goes unnoticed.”

For further information on the KTA

For further information of the PVRC

Press release on the awards shortlist