Aston University Knowledge Transfer Partnership rated ‘outstanding’ by panel

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11 October 2011 

A recent Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) involving Aston University has been awarded a grade A “outstanding” rating – the highest possible – by an independent panel of assessors. This exceptional rating is given to a very small percentage of KTP projects, signifying the highest quality of collaboration.

Working with innovative healthcare company Insight Health Limited, the Microbiology team within Aston University’s School of Life and Health Sciences has developed a revolutionary cleaning solution that will help to tackle the serious problem of hospital ‘superbugs’.

The KTP project has resulted in the development of a novel hard surface solution (germination biocide) for elimination of spores of Clostridium difficile; the leading healthcare associated infection in the UK.  Whilst current methods of eliminating C. difficile spores within the healthcare setting require unpleasant sporicidal agents such as bleach, the microbiology team has developed a now patented, user friendly prototype solution, which germinates the otherwise hardy and resistant spores of C. difficile and eliminates them with specific antimicrobials contained within the solution. Although the product is not yet at a marketable stage, it is a major step forward in the search for novel products to help control healthcare-associated infections which currently cost the NHS  about  £1 billion per year.

Insight Health’s Managing Director, John Rawlinson said, “we already have the route to market for this product and appropriate infrastructure but we required a centre of expertise to drive novel product development in this area. The link with the microbiology team at Aston University through the KTP project has been the first stage in allowing us to explore novel strategies for infection control as they have an extensive microbiological knowledge base and an excellent track record in research. ”

In addition to the patented prototype germination solution, the KTP project also generated three full research manuscripts in high-ranking microbiology journals and the work has been presented at the European Congress for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease (ECCMID).

Dr Tony Worthington, lead academic on the project, said, “Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) aim to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology, stimulate relevant academic research and provide company based training for Associates to develop specialist skills.  The KTP between Aston University and Insight Health Ltd was awarded ‘A’ grade (outstanding) by the assessors because it clearly fulfilled all of the KTP aims and objectives.  This KTP project flowed smoothly throughout its 27-month duration and allowed the microbiology team (Dr Tony Worthington, Prof Peter Lambert, Dr Laura Wheeldon) at Aston University to strengthen their links with Insight Health Ltd whilst also undertaking relevant research in line with Aston’s strategy.  A key element of a successful KTP is to remember that it is a three-way project where the industrial base, the knowledge base and the Associate must benefit. In this project, Insight Health Ltd has benefited through the development of a patented product, the microbiology team and Aston University have benefited through strong research publications and further international recognition, and the KTP Associate, Dr Laura Wheeldon, has benefited as she now holds a senior position working in the scientific industry”.

Aston University have a strong record in collaborating with industry. If you would like to find out how working with us could transform your organisation please contact the Business Partnership Unit on 0121 204 4242 or bpu@aston.ac.uk