National Physical Laboratory

Sensing the solution

The NPL-run Sensors & Instrumentation programme in the Electronics, Sensors, Photonics Knowledge Transfer Network (ESP KTN) has been leading knowledge transfer in this field since 2006.


Sensing the solution
Knowledge exchange stimulates innovation and
helps industries grow (image courtesy of iStockphoto)

Sensing and instrumentation technology underpins UK business worth £120 billion per year. The potential impact of sensing technology is far-reaching and plays an essential role in addressing many of today's major global challenges.

The ESP KTN is at the heart of the UK's sensing community, bringing together industry and researchers to stimulate innovation in the development and deployment of sensors and instrumentation for better measurement and control.

KTNs are funded by the UK government's Technology Strategy Board to promote wealth creation through knowledge transfer in areas where the UK has the potential to exploit national and international markets. KTNs link the entire supply chain from academic research through to end-users, and provide a point of contact to local and national government. KTNs also provide information on funding sources, disseminate results from development activity and help broker consortia to bid for collaborative projects.

The Challenge

For the UK sensing and instrumentation sector to continue growing it needs to share knowledge and increase its access to international markets.

Sharing information and stimulating innovation across such a large, diverse community (small to large businesses, academic institutions, research councils, government departments) is a huge knowledge transfer challenge.

The Solution

Through tried and tested knowledge transfer and innovation management methods, the NPL-managed Sensors & Instrumentation programme in the ESP KTN has been hugely successful in engaging with over 2,000 organisations within this community. This is over 90% of the market.

The KTN achieves this engagement through many activities: focused events, topical seminars and workshops, newsletters, one-to-one meetings, road-mapping and an active online community. The KTN also works closely with other KTNs and networks, including NPL's own Measurement Network, to extend its reach and provide networking opportunities to members outside their normal range of contacts.

The Impact

Between 2006-2010 the KTN helped secure funding of £97 million for its members. This works out at a ratio of public sector investment in the KTN to funding secured for members of 1:22.

In addition the KTN has published 46 technology roadmaps and reports which communicate developments and opportunities within the field. The KTN has also held over 150 knowledge transfer events which brought together members working in specific areas.

Contact Tim Prior to find out how NPL's knowledge services can help you.

Last Updated: 23 Apr 2014
Created: 25 Jan 2011


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