Praise for UEL partnership over sustainable IT project
18 October 2022
The University of East London has made its mark this year on the UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Awards 2022 with an innovative project which created a circular economy in the data centre sector, boosting energy efficiency and sustainability.
The University was selected as one of three finalists for the Best Knowledge Transfer Partnership Award, while KTP Associate Nour Rteil was named as one of the top 16 in the Future Leader Award.
The KTP awards, held in Liverpool this year, recognise the impact of research work on people and societies. They are organised by Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency which looks to help businesses grow through the development and commercialisation of new products and services.
The partnership that the University submitted to judges showcased an initiative in collaboration with Techbuyer, a sustainable IT hardware solutions business, which aimed to create modelling capabilities that would drive the circular economy and green environment agenda.
The new process demonstrated where data centre IT systems could save money without compromising on quality by deploying refurbished computer systems rather than buying new.
The KTP conducted a study on the performance and energy efficiency of hundreds of makes, models and generations of servers. The team investigated whether there was any discernible difference between new and refurbished servers and then compared performance and energy of different generations with component level changes.
Techbuyer, in collaboration with the University, foresaw this would be a big growth area for the sector given increased legislative interest at EU and national level in sustainable IT solutions.
Once underway, the research demonstrated refurbished hardware could actually compete with new in many use cases, taking the company into a new market segment.
The KTP supervisor Professor Rabih Bashroush, a world expert in data centres, was instrumental in Techbuyer receiving two major awards in 2020: the Queen's Award for International Trade and the IEMA Circular Economy of the Year Award.
During the process, the KTP Associate Nour Rteil established herself as an expert in the field of energy efficiency and hardware performance, writing on the subject in the trade press and research papers, and sharing her knowledge with potential clients.
Professor Mansour Moniri, director of research & knowledge exchange at the University, said, "A Knowledge Transfer Partnership is a three-way collaboration between university, business and a graduate project leader. They are designed to bring about strategic change through introducing new skills and the latest academic thinking.
"The work we carried out with Techbuyer is a textbook example of how this works in practice, delivering real-world solutions for businesses looking to innovate or think afresh about their operations.
"In this case, the result was especially pleasing as the KTP developed an answer that not only created a new market segment but also helped make the planet greener through better energy efficiency - one of the core aims of the University's Vision 2028 transformation strategy."
Innovate UK awards organisers said, "Highlighting these outstanding partnerships is just the tip of the iceberg with more than 800 collaborations happening across the country."
The nominations came just weeks after the University’s research portfolio and community impact received strong marks in a major national survey, known as KEF2.
This focus is reflected in the University's KEF results which show a top 20 per cent appearance nationally in metrics covering student start-ups, public and community engagement and Innovate projects funded by government agency Innovate UK.
Pictured, from left
- Professor Rabih Bashroush, Professor of Digital Infrastructure at UEL, KTP Academic Supervisor.
- Richard Kenny, sustainability & research director at Techbuyer Ltd, KTP Business Supervisor.
- Astrid Wynne, sustainability manager at Techbuyer Ltd
- Professor Mansour Moniri, director of research & knowledge exchange at UEL
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