Companies from across London and the South East received awards last week at a special event organised by the University of Essex to celebrate successful partnerships with business.

East Anglian Daily Times: University of Essex campusUniversity of Essex campus (Image: Archant)

The event marked the university being in the top five in the UK for developing technology-driven business partnerships. The latest figures from the government’s innovation agency, Innovate UK (part of UKRI) confirm Essex as the leading university in London and the south of England for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs).

The award for Best KTP Academic went to both Professor Hani Hagras and Dr Adrian Clark from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at Essex for their work on multiple projects, but most notably their work on a KTP with the advanced engineering company Leonardo.

In partnership with the KTP Associate Dr Louis Clift, they have developed a motion-controlled camera that can detect human behaviour.

This technology has the potential to change the way CCTV is monitored in control rooms by operators and is now influencing care settings with its ability to predict when an elderly person is in need of assistance.

Robert Walker, head of business engagement at the University of Essex, said: “Essex researchers are now working on an incredible 30 KTP projects, the team at Essex has managed to triple the number of business partnerships in the last two and a half years. This puts us in the top five in the UK – we hope to reach the top three in the next year. Working with Essex de-risks innovation and opens up a raft of additional opportunities for businesses such as other funding streams and incubation space.”

KTPs are part of Innovate UK’s leading flagship programme designed to help businesses to innovate by connecting them to the UK’s wealth of academic resources. They develop a partnership between the business seeking expertise, a university and a high performing graduate - known as the Associate - who base themselves full-time at the company. A project can last between 12 and 36 months and is part-funded by a grant from Innovate UK.