Design and local development: case studies from the UK

Friedemann Schaber, Randle L Turner

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter


This paper will discuss, through the vehicle of case studies, how Design has been instrumental in regenerating local commerce. The examples will compare and contrast the UK Government’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership initiative (KTP), which has been operating for some thirty years with live industrial design projects which are also the focus for certain aspects of the undergraduate design curriculum. The Design Division has been actively involved in numerous KTP projects, which have benefitted local industry. One such KTP, located at a company within the vicinity of the University embedded a new design capability into a charitable organization, ‘Sue Ryder Care” and reviews how the income generated was used for palliative care. In contrast with the highly successful government funded KTP scheme a design brief will be presented that attempted to support a traditional and local manufacturing company, typical and historical to the local economy. The design brief was developed in conjunction with the senior management of the company, to harness existing manufacturing capability but with a new and innovative product range. The paper reviews the journey taken by both parties, and discusses the relative fortunes of the outcomes. This contribution is informed by the authors’ decade long engagement, with UK government funding organizations, as academic partners of knowledge seeking companies. The Northampton case constitutes a newer university that has grown out of a technical college and art school, this mirrors various other UK situations. The authors have been researching and contributing to the discussion on the role of knowledge transfer in the global marketplace (Schaber and Thomas 2008), but also learning from the practical experience of acting as supervisors and working with industry on KTP, and understanding benefits and negative aspects for all the partners involved. (Betts, Schaber and Turner 2007) Conference participation and publications are the routine ways that academics share knowledge. In this case allowing the authors to identify and map out best practice and develop networks within the academic system. In conclusion the authors attempt to provide the international context of industry-academy collaboration in new product development
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication1st International Congress of Design and Innovation of Catalonia Book of Abstracts
Place of PublicationTerrassa, Barcelona
PublisherFUNDIT Sabadell
Number of pages115
ISBN (Print)9788493616519
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010


  • Knowledge Transfer Partnership
  • industry-academy collaboration
  • live client project
  • new product development


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