A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between University of the West of Scotland (UWS) and technology firm, Modo Systems, has been awarded the highest grade possible by the KTP panel for its success.

Modo is a platform which synchronises content such as documents, photos and videos stored on cloud-based services, enabling users to search and access files on a range of different platforms in one place.

The Glasgow firm teamed up with UWS in 2018 to overcome a challenge they were facing in their product development. Modo has since been reaping the rewards of the partnership project with UWS, which is part of Innovate UK’s flagship Knowledge Transfer Partnership initiative.  

This is a great example of the fantastic work that can be achieved when academics and industry work together to find solutions to real-world issues. The existing knowledge of Multimedia Processing and Artificial Intelligence is exploited in the context of project and have jointly developed a unique piece of technology – it significantly enhances multimedia search and retrieval capability of the Modo Systems that provide highly accurate results in real time.

Prof Naeem Ramzan, Professor of Artificial Intelligence at UWS

UWS’s KTP portfolio growth has been rapid in recent years and it’s great to now see projects coming to fruition, especially when they are as successful as Modo’s KTP. Modo’s decision to embark on a second KTP with UWS, this time with our School of Business and Creative Industries, is testament to both the KTP model and the trusted relationship built up over the last two years. I’d like to extend my thanks to Innovate UK, the Scottish Funding Council and all who contributed to this successful Knowledge Transfer Partnerships project.

Stuart McKay, KTP Manager at UWS

KTPs link businesses to world-class academic partners in the UK to drive innovation through collaboration, bring about change and embed new knowledge, skills and capability. Projects address a specific business need, which is identified by the company.

The KTP enabled Modo’s team to work with UWS academics, and a project-specific KTP Associate employed by the University, to embed machine learning and artificial intelligence knowledge that would enhance the platform’s capacity to search images and videos based on the image itself rather than the file name.

Our collaboration with UWS in spinning out a concept into an innovative real-world product which rivals the experience from best software companies in the market, is a testimony of the world class talent available in Scotland. We are proud of the recognition from the KTP panel for the dedication our whole team has delivered to make this a success. We are very much looking forward to building on this excellent relationship with UWS for our next KTP.

Dr Majid Anwar, founder and CEO at Modo

It feels like a natural progression for us to work with the School of Business and Creative Industries at UWS in taking the innovation to market. The global health crisis has exposed our industry to look for novel business models to engage and retain users not only in the established markets, but importantly capitalise on opportunities being presented from emerging markets, where users are equally savvy in their appetite for new tech but where traditional business models won’t do. We know in UWS we have a partner who share the same ambitions as we do in this next phase of growth for the business.

Kashif Khan, Head of Global Alliances at Modo

As of the end of September, the University’s portfolio stood at 35 KTP projects with a combined value in excess of £7 million; positioning UWS as third in the UK and number one in Scotland by size of its KTP portfolio. With 12 management KTPs, UWS’s School of Business and Creative Industries occupies the top spot in the UK.

Stuart McKay added: “KTPs are a great example of what can be achieved when industry and academia join forces. At UWS, we’ve gone from having just three projects two-and-a-half years ago (outside the top-50 in the UK) to over thirty today. This success exemplifies UWS’s motto: ‘Dreaming, Believing, Achieving’ and is a great example of cross-school and cross-departmental team working, with nearly 100 colleagues – academics, KTP Associates and professional support staff – currently engaged in KTP projects and programme delivery across the University.

“With more projects in the pipeline, including an international KTP with partners in Kenya, there’s no doubting UWS’s commitment to the programme and our belief in working in partnership with industry.”

Professor Milan Radosavljevic, Vice-Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement at UWS, added: “While the KTP programme is 45 years old, many businesses don’t know it exists – or how they can benefit from it.

“KTPs give organisations the chance to access up-to-the-minute research and sector-leading expertise, while addressing business challenges, and Modo are a fantastic example of this. As we enter a recession, now more than ever, businesses should be tapping into the expert knowledge that universities can provide.”

Find out more here about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at UWS.