Computer Science secures funding to accelerate business knowledge transfer

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Colleagues from the University’s Department of Computer Science have secured two Accelerated Knowledge Transfer to Innovate (AKT2I) awards, an Innovate UK (UKRI) funded pilot scheme, due to commence late March 2024.

Innovate UK launched the AKT2I pilot scheme in 2022 to create short-term collaborations to enable knowledge transfer projects by developing a framework to help businesses to develop innovative ways in working alongside UK knowledge exchange providers, within settings such as universities. By creating faster pathways to innovation, the partnerships inject fresh perspective and an input of new knowledge, skills and fresh thinking into participating businesses.

The pilot was inspired by the highly successful Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) model and has shown the potential to secure significant impact outcomes for the business partners involved.  The process was competitive and only 170 projects were funded from a total submission of 506 applications.

The first AKT2I project was awarded to Dr Valentina Tamma who is working in partnership with Business Doctors Limited to build on the outcomes of a recent KTP. The aim of the AKT21 is to develop a first prototype empathic digital companion to support Thrive Hive, a new, kinder business community for small business owners. It is hoped that this will be a pioneering Artificial Intelligence (AI) breakthrough empathic bot which will create a ‘safe space’ for business owners by understanding and responding to human emotions. This innovation elevates mental health support, by fostering personalised interactions for enhanced user experiences and exploring new avenues of empathetic business engagement and support. Read more about this innovative new platform.

The second AKT2I project is a collaboration between Leonardo UK Ltd and Professor Xiaowei Huang. This project will see the utilisation of generative AI, specifically large language models (LLMs), for the searching of technical documentation in a cyber-secure environment. The project will apply LLMs in secure environments to search for technical documentation stored across multiple systems, aiming to understand how a publicly trained LLM can evolve to support private solutions. This would help to strengthen cybersecurity measures by assessing potential threats to the functional components of the system.

The high number of AKT21 applications submitted indicates significant interest from Knowledge Base partners to develop further projects which could help to create a compelling case for Innovate UK to secure future funding. Whilst the AKT2I scheme is not currently open, the KTP framework is open all year round.

If you have links with industry and would like to know more about KTPs please contact Inma Gonzalez, KTP Impact and Business Development Manager, within Research, Partnerships and Innovation, at or visit the KTP website for more information.