Aston campus
  • The university has been selected as a finalist for Best KTP Project and Best KTP Support Team 
  • The awards are an annual celebration of the most positive impacts of KTPs
  • Winners will be announced on 18 October. 

Aston University has reached the finals in two categories of the 2023 Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Awards, which recognise the people and partnerships behind the UK’s most inspiring and successful KTP projects.

A partnership with Mechatherm International Ltd has been shortlisted for Best KTP Project. To win this award partnerships should demonstrate excellent achievements across all three partners – business, academic and associate – and show how they have gone beyond the aims and objectives stated in the original proposal.

Mechatherm is a provider of bespoke casthouse equipment to the aluminium industry, and its partnership with Aston University resulted in a more intelligent design process for furnaces and ancillary equipment for the global aluminium industry, using complex design automation techniques and algorithms, at the fraction of the time and cost, allowing for a higher volume and greater accuracy of projects to be quoted. The project was led by Dr Gareth Thomson and Dr Michal Konečný.

The new, intelligent system for design optimisation improved the calculation time by 97%, from around a week previously, to around one hour now. Planning timescales have reduced by 76%, from 38 weeks to nine weeks. Engineering cost (time) reductions using automated systems improved by 76%, while modelling and access to correct models/library by using 3D general assembly improved by 84%, from 31 weeks to 5 weeks.

Mechatherm and Aston University have subsequently set up a second KTP partnership, led by Dr Ahmed Rezk and Dr Muhammad Imran. The project is developing a suite of energy-efficient aluminium recycling systems that have seen an energy consumption reduction of up to 50%.

Aston University has also been shortlisted in the Best KTP Support Team category, based on its growth in activity taking it to second in the sector, its internal support for academics and business development managers, and its support for the national KTP community. The winner will be the team that deemed by the judges to be most proactive and innovative in engaging and capitalising on the opportunities offered by participation in the KTP programme. 

Aston University has had previous success with its KTPs. A KTP with Partnership Medical Ltd which resulted in the development of a revolutionary Khamsin automated endoscope cleaner was nominated for the Best KTP Award 2022. In July 2023, the Khamsin won the Science, Technology, and Innovation Award at the 2023 Staffordshire Chambers Business Awards.

In 2020, a team from Aston University won the award for the Most Effective Initiative from a KTP Office for developing the Computer Science Industry Club (CSIC). The CSIC harnesses industry expertise to generate high-level graduate opportunities, enhance the skills of students and develop new research opportunities.

John Richards, director of knowledge exchange at Aston University, said:

"It’s truly wonderful that Aston University has been formally recognised as a sector leader for knowledge transfer programmes, reflecting our continued growth and sustained achievements in this area. Making the shortlist in two separate categories is further acknowledgement of both the scale and quality of our collaborative research capabilities and partnerships with regional and national companies.” 

The winners will be announced at a ceremony set to take place on Wednesday 18 October in Cardiff.

Notes to editors

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston University is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

In 2022 Aston University was ranked in the top 25 of the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Helen Tunnicliffe, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7827 090240 or email:

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