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The University of Southampton
Southampton Business School

Southampton Business School included in award of Management KTP grant worth over £118,000

Published: 29 July 2021
Management KTP grant

The University of Southampton and Spearfish Security have recently been awarded a Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (mKTP) worth over £118,000. The grant, funded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and administered by Innovate UK will support the employment of a KTP associate who will be embedded within Spearfish for the two-year project’s duration.

The project will create a more sophisticated set of consulting tools for advisory teams, using management theory to create efficiencies and increase productivity. It is anticipated that the project will create better digital tools and introduce these tools to an upskilled, motivated, and aligned workforce.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships help businesses in the UK to innovate and grow by connecting them with university researchers and a suitably qualified graduate associate. The academic partner (or knowledge base) helps the business to develop the project, recruit and suitable associate and provides academic input throughout the project. The associate is then responsible for leading the strategic project, acting as the conduit between the knowledge base and the company. Management KTP are funded by BEIS and aim to support companies in implementing new management strategies to help develop their business.

Spearfish is based in Winchester and provides security risk management for several large UK foreign aid programmes across the world in countries including Nigeria, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Kenya. They utilise a network of in- country advisors to provide relevant information to clients to help them manage risk. In response to changing customer needs, they are adapting to a more digital approach which the KTP will help implement.

The project is supported by Dan Hooton, the Managing Director of Spearfish who will be the senior employee for the project, Rosie Turner, Head of Operations and Marketing will be the business partner supervisor. Rosie explains how important the collaboration will be for Spearfish:

 “Spearfish Security are thrilled to be have been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership Grant from Innovate UK. We will be working closely with Southampton University's Business School and Electronics and Computer Science Department to achieve a digital transformation of our business. We believe this project is innovative for the wider security risk management industry by utilising state of the art research and knowledge to enhance our people led-approach.”

The associate will be co-supervised by two academic supervisors. Dr Enrico Gerding is an Associate Professor in Electronics and Computer Science. He is an expert in interdisciplinary and application focused AI research. Dr Ajit Nayak is an Associate Professor in Strategy, based in the Southampton Business School. Dr Nayak’s research expertise is in companies building capabilities for growth, internationalisation, and strategic transformation. Dr Nayak welcomed the opportunities the mKTP will provide:

“We at the Southampton Business School (SBS) and Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) are delighted to receive the Management KTP funding and the Innovate UK/BEIS recognition to support SMEs to transform and grow. This is an exciting opportunity to work with Spearfish Security and transfer interdisciplinary knowledge. From the academic viewpoint, this partnership offers a unique opportunity for us to develop and apply new theoretical concepts and generate practical impact.”

Stephen Woodhouse, Knowledge Transfer Advisor for the projects describes the benefits of the project:

“The knowledge and skills embedded by this new Management KTP will enable Spearfish to scale-up and grow their business at pace, whilst simultaneously achieving greater efficiencies through access to world-class research expertise in management practices.  The collaboration with the business school at the University of Southampton will provide a firm foundation for a series of future innovations, supporting a range of exciting future innovations by the business.  I’m delighted KTN were able to help convene this partnership and to support the development of their successful grant application.”

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