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Winning ways at Teesside University

10 March 2010 @TeesUniNews


Teesside University is continuing its winning ways with two of our Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associates gaining two of the five prestigious national Business Leader of Tomorrow Awards.

Sara Zarei and Alex Brown, involved with KTPs led by Teesside University were presented with their awards at a showcase event at the Marriott Grosvenor Hotel, London.

The awards were presented by Iain Gray, Chief Executive Officer of the Technology Strategy Board and Tim Waterstone, founder of Waterstones and Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University.

The KTP scheme encourages academic staff and graduates to work directly with companies eager to share our know-how to improve their competitiveness and productivity through innovation.

The success of the two graduates comes hot on the heels after Teesside was named Times Higher Education University of the Year and winning the publication’s Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative Awards.

Sara Zarei graduated with distinction from Teesside’s MSc Computer Aided Engineering and is doing her PhD while working as a KTP Associate (manufacturing systems engineer) with Stanley Vickers in Middlesbrough under the supervision of Teesside’s professor of biomechanics and manufacturing, Farhad Nabhani.

A brilliant opportunity She said: 'I am absolutely delighted to have won the Business Leader of Tomorrow award and it is a great privilege that the work I have put in has been so highly praised. The KTP project has provided me with a brilliant opportunity to gain vital industrial and hands on experience alongside the chance to study for a PhD relating to the work and research undertaken. The project has also provided me with the responsibility to make a difference to the company through ideas of my own and implement new technologies for improvement.' Mr David Ford, the company’s production manager, said: 'The KTP project has brought huge benefits to Stanley Vickers Ltd and Sara has worked closely with all employees to ensure the success of her work and ideas. We are thrilled that she has been rewarded for her hard work by winning the Business Leader of Tomorrow award.'

Prof Nabhani said: 'There have been many benefits to the company including the upgrade of a vital piece of machinery which really stressed the importance of the KTP project. After gaining the highly esteemed University of the Year award, this award is yet another great credit to Teesside University.' Alex Brown gained an MA Sustainable Product Design from Loughborough University and is working as a KTP Associate with Solo Cup Europe in Huntington as their innovation manager under the supervision of Peter Reid, a senior lecturer in product design and enterprise at Teesside University.

He said: 'I am so glad to win this highly respected Business Leader of Tomorrow award and I look forward to a future with Solo Cup Europe developing new products which are market led, with real benefits, both for the user and the retailer. I am pleased that I have been able to use my skills as a designer in a market and business led way and I would like to thank my company and university supervisors for their full support and belief in the partnership.'

Anne Sutton, Vice-President for the Environment and Innovation for Solo Cup Europe said: 'Right from the start Alex brought a refreshing ‘can-do’ attitude to our business, which has resulted in a number of valuable innovations. He has tackled challenges in a mature and considered way and has engaged and inspired colleagues to find solutions and develop new ways of thinking. Alex is certainly a real Business Leader of Tomorrow.'

Alex’s academic supervisor at Teesside University, Peter Reid said: 'This is a fantastic achievement and very well deserved. Alex has developed strong leadership skills since starting the KTP. This has helped him to lead, work with and provide guidance to colleagues at Solo. In doing so, he has brought real benefits to the way the company works with customers and develops its new products.'


These partnerships received financial support from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships programme (KTP). KTPs aim to help businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK knowledge base. KTP is funded by the Technology Strategy Board along with the other government funding organisations. This year’s two award-winning Teesside KTPs were among the five national Business Leaders of Tomorrow announced this year. The scheme is open to more than 150 universities and higher education institutions nationwide and Teesside has won the award twice before with its KTP Associates. In 2006, Laura Bishop, a graduate from the University’s BA (Hons) Marketing and MSc Management degrees, won the award for her work in helping Country Valley Foods, Darlington, carry out a major re-branding exercise. A year later, Mohammed Shahnawazuddin, was also named a Business Leader of Tomorrow for his work with Malcolm Engineering Company of Darlington.

Last year, the University was graded ‘A‘ for Excellent’ for its KTP with Stockton Casting Company earlier this year and the University is seen as a national leading in utilising the KTP scheme to assist companies implement new technologies and continuous improvement procedures.

In the News

Engineering a successful partnership
BQ (Business Quarter North East), 04/10/2011, p.91
After helping to improve the production potential and manufacturing efficiency of Stanley Vickers Ltd, Sara Zarei has joined the company. She began work with them as a Knowledge Transfer Partnership a

Winning ways
Investment Now, 01/04/2010
Teesside University is continuing its winning ways with two of its KTP Associates, Sara Zarei and Alex Brown, gaining two of five prestigious national Business Leader of Tomorrow Awards.

Leckey takes KTP award
The Manufacturer (Web), 11/03/2010
Teesside University students Alex Brown and Sara Zarei were among five winners of the Business Leader of Tomorrow Awards given out as part of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership Awards.