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De Montfort University (Leicester, UK) cooperation with business

Teachers of School of Business of BSU have completed an internship at the University of De Montfort (Leicester, UK).

Objective: to improve the quality of training specialists of the IT sphere within the framework of the international project «INNOVATIVE ICT EDUCATION FOR SOCIAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT» (IESED) сo-financed by ERASMUS + program (European Union).
 
One of the internship participants, Elena G. Grinevich, senior lecturer of the Department of Digital Systems and Technologies at School of Business of BSU, shares her impressions about how the cooperation of De Montfort University (DMU)  with the business is organized. 
 
De Montfort University is among the top 150 young universities in the world (Figure 1).
 
 
The faculty of technology DMU plays an important role in international research in the field of cyber security, computer ethics, robotics and virtual reality. The work of the faculty is closely related to world-class research and inventions, including collaboration with space agencies (Figure 2).
 
 
The modern equipment of the faculty includes laboratories of creative technologies, computer games development and cyber security, created by leading experts in this field. Many programs were developed jointly with specialists from Deloitte, Hewlett Packard and SAS (Figure 3).
 
 
DMU students have internships at Microsoft, Siemens, Vauxhall, IBM, Hewlett Packard. Graduates of the faculty work at Rolls Royce, Samsung, BBC, IBM, Microsoft, PepsiCo, Spotify, HSBC, Ubisoft, Codemasters, Santander, Intel.
 
As part of the British program for assessing the quality of research at British universities (Research Excellence Framework - REF), which was held in 2014 for the last time in the field of computer science and informatics research at the DMU, it ranked third among modern British universities. 
 
One of the components of success in the research activities of DMU is participation in the following program - Knowledge Sharing Partnership.
 
Knowledge Sharing Partnership
 
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is a program funded by the Government of the United Kingdom, designed to help companies to improve their competitiveness, productivity, and ensure sustainable growth.
 
This is achieved by creating partnerships between business enterprises and De Montfort University (DMU), allowing enterprises to gain access to modern skills and knowledge to foster their development.
 
The KTP program is considered the most successful grant funding available to UK companies today.
 
Companies often have innovative ideas, but they have no experience to put them into practice. KTP ensures confidentiality by transferring the necessary knowledge and scientific achievements from the university and opening new development opportunities for the company.
 
To qualify for funding, the KTP project must be of strategic importance to the company and be reviewed at De Montfort University. Ideally, the project should be innovative, complex and demonstrate commercial or social significance.
 
The project duration can vary from six months to three years, depending on the needs of the business and the desired results. At present, a typical two-year project will have an average annual cost of up to £ 30,000.
 
For companies participating in the project for the first time, the annual costs of its implementation are assumed in the amount of: 
  • 1/3 of the project costs for a small and medium business. The government pays up to two-thirds of the annual budget of £ 63,000 for the project. This means that small and medium enterprises annually pay an average of £  21,000 and receive services in the amount of £ 63,000;
  • 1/2 of the project costs for a large company or group (with more than 250 employees).
Work in a KTP project is a collaboration of three partners: the company, the coordinator of KTP (a recent graduate working as a project manager) and the University.
 
The company's role in KTP is to contribute to the overall project costs, provide office space and support for the KTP coordinator. The project costs cover not only the employment and development costs for the coordinator of the KTP, but also contribute to the development of the University. 
 
The role of the coordinator is to work on the project and promote it in coordination with the supervisor from the university. The coordinator will transfer experience, knowledge and skills to the company.
 
The role of the university is to provide the necessary experience, knowledge and academic support to the project coordinator to ensure their implementation in the company. The DMU also manages the project budget and facilitates regular meetings to monitor progress and track project benefits.
 
DMU has a long history of successfully managing and completing KTP projects, working with more than 90 companies from different sectors and industries. Through KTP, companies can use advanced university knowledge and access the best graduates. 
 
Companies based in the UK in all business sectors can benefit from KTP, as well as charities, non-profit organizations and public sector organizations. However, KTP may be unacceptable for many start-ups or very small companies (with five or less employees).
 
Advantages for the company:
  • Highly qualified specialist from De Montfort University to provide expert and technical advice, which is also a mentor for the project coordinator;
  • A well-trained and motivated graduate to coordinate the project;
  • Access to university opportunities;
  • Government funding covering up to two-thirds of the project cost (up to £ 40,000 per year).
  • Access to a fully funded project budget: tuition (£ 2,000 per year), travel expenses (£ 2,250 per year) and equipment (£ 1,500 per year).
Advantages for the University:
  • Participation in high-level strategic engagement with the business community;
  • Graduate Support;
  • Development of business-related educational materials;
  • Increase the business value of teaching and research;
  • Definition of new research topics and projects for undergraduate and graduate students;
  • Improved understanding of commercial realities;
  • The publication of high-quality scientific works;
  • Making a direct contribution to the University's research evaluation (REF).
Benefits for the coordinator (university graduate):
  • Ability to take responsibility for the project, which will be the key to the company's competitiveness and future business growth;
  • Invaluable commercial and practical experience;
  • Acquaintance with the work of an innovative, high-potential company;
  • Mentoring from professional scientists and industry experts;
  • Training and professional development in the field of business management and leadership skills;
  • High salary;
  • Career prospects.
According to 2014 data, 58 percent of associates offer jobs upon completion of their project.
 
Academic participation
 
The work on the KTR gives scientists the opportunity to develop research in the field of business, as well as to apply their knowledge and experience to solve important organizational problems. This can help to identify new research topics and undergraduate / graduate projects. In addition, the work from the KTP project can be used as evidence of the growing demand for understanding the impact of our investment in research.
 
As a rule, scientists can spend half a day on a KTP project, mainly on the territory of a business partner. This is important for creating and maintaining an understanding of the project environment and relationships with the people involved.
 
Successful projects that were completed in connection with the DMU brought great benefits to companies. 
 
Examples of specific benefits:
 
More than £ 450,000 of new grant funding was allocated for the development of Phoenix as an international artistic organization (Phoenix KTP, DMU, 2012)
 
New product development during the project allowed the company to compete in new markets (Accordial Manufacturing KTP, DMU, April 2012)
 
A total of £ 100,000 continued to invest in research and development in order to use the results of the project (Intamac KTP, DMU, 2013).