Dr Andrew Duckworth has been working in the corner of the Idealab for the last three years. He’s been exploring exciting new technologies that could soon be applied in the laundry industry for the first time! Andrew’s role as a KTP associate brings together, on a shared brief, the excellent chemistry department at Northumbria University & the Ideal technical team. It’s sure been an eventful period & whilst we’re sad that one project has come to an end, we’re delighted to be welcoming Andrew and all his skills & expertise, on a longer term basis. Here he is explaining more about his experience of the KTP and what he’s planning to do next!
WHAT’S A KTP? HOW DOES IT WORK?
A knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) is a unique state of affairs, part of a Government scheme that not many people seem to have heard of. In short, you have a University and a business working together to create something new and unique, with one person (called the Associate) in-between making it work. The scheme has been matchmaking like this for almost as long as I’ve been alive. I hadn’t heard about it before, so it’s wild that it just popped up for me one day and I got the job.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON?
For the last three years, I’ve been bringing the state of the art in remote sensing into Idealab to grab snapshots of how products perform. The aim is to break down boundaries in how we think of certain ingredients and “insoluble problems” in industry. They might have been insoluble in the past, but some things deserve another go with a new perspective, because nothing changes if nothing changes!
HOW HAVE YOU STAYED FOCUSED WITH SUCH UNCERTAINTY FILLING THE NEWS SINCE 2020?
Northumbria University has been great, even with the restrictions on travel and face-to-face contact, and Ideal has been amazingly accommodating too throughout the pandemic, making sure I’m safe and have what I need. You can tell they really believe in what’s been developed and the two parties are so supportive when they join forces.
It’s almost surreal to look back. Even though the project has wrapped up and we have all these new technologies and ideas ready to go, they’re not stopping there. They seem excited to continue to make waves in this particular pond, getting stuck in and making things work better for everyone. Honestly, it’s hard not to be excited too.