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Lucy is 'Business Leader of Tomorrow'

Published: 14th December 2012

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Lucy Foster at the company's HQ in Haydock

THE University has won a major award for the way it transfers knowledge to industry.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership with international security firm ATG Access® earned the 'Business Leader of Tomorrow' award for research associate Lucy Foster.

Lucy, a graduate of the Business School, was judged the outstanding researcher placed by a university in a business ahead of hundreds of competitors.

Judged by a panel of CEOs, the award acknowledges the contribution made by Lucy and the University to the company's success over the past 18 months.

The KTP is one of eight currently conducted through the Knowledge Exchange team under Mark Ratcliffe and the first one in our history to win this major annual award.

Marketing innovation

Lucy, a first class honours graduate in Marketing Management worked with the Haydock-based business under the supervision of Dr Catherine Ashworth, to bring the latest marketing thinking to the company.

Glenn Cooper, President of ATG Access®, said: “The positive impact of the “new eyes” of both Lucy and Catherine has already led to significant improvements in marketing practice and strategy development at the firm.

“Having academic insight to review the business processes at each planning stage along with the embedding of a more formal structure is of great benefit to a fast developing and growing business like ours. We are now looking at using other resources from MMU to make improvements in wider areas of the business, such as projects management and R&D and engineering.”

Lucy, 26, from Dorset, completed her 18-month attachment at the firm in October in parallel with an MSc in Marketing and has now taken up a full-time post with the company.

Three wishes

She said: “I left university with three career wishes and my involvement with the KTP has helped me to achieve them all.

“I wanted to find a position with a good salary, to find someone who would fund my Masters and somewhere which would enable me to stay in Manchester.

Through the KTP all the partners benefit. The university gets a 'live' project to work on, the business gets a valuable employee and the 'Associate' is able to get to grips with a clear plan of work.

“Working in a commercial environment and conducting research which is of use to the business and the university has made the experience all the more worthwhile.

Fujitsu, BBC ...

And she says: “Working in a small business which has grown over 75 per cent in the last year has provided so many exciting opportunities which I'm sure I wouldn't have experienced in a larger organisation.

Lucy was nominated for the award by the ATG Access management board and her MMU supervisor and was interviewed by a panel comprising a director at Fujitsu, the leader of the BBC's digital marketing strategy and the head of the KTP initiative in the UK.

ATG has grown by 70 per cent over the last year and has now become one of the world's leading suppliers of high security bollards and barriers.

Income

Each KTP is worth £100k to the University and works by employing a high-calibre graduate in a business to help address a specific needs-based project, with an academic institution acting as a ‘knowledge base’ to support the project’s development.

With more than 600 running nationally, Manchester Metropolitan University is involved with 8 – four in Science &Engineering, two in the Business School, one at Hollings and one at Cheshire.