Alicia Greated | Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)
Supporting opportunities for innovation
Alicia Greated is CEO of the KTN, an organisation which links the UK with expertise, markets and finance through its network of businesses, universities, funders and investors.
Prior to taking up the role at KTN in August 2019, Alicia was Global Director of Research Engagement at Heriot-Watt University and prior to that, she led the Newton Fund (a £735m research and innovation fund to enhance the UK’s engagement with global emerging economies) delivery team at the UK’s Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
“YES is a great way to stimulate researchers to collaborate. As you go through your working life you start discovering what motivates you as a human being - life and work are strongly interlinked. The power of collaboration is what has driven me.”
Alicia has followed her work around the world, first moving to Delhi, India in 2008 where she was founder and Director of Research Council UK (RCUK) India at the British High Commission. After four years in India, she moved to Beijing to become Director RCUK China at the British Embassy in Beijing. She moved back to her native Scotland for the role at Heriot-Watt University in 2015.
YES has a significant impact on career direction
Alicia took part in one of the first Biotechnology YES competitions in 1997, an experience which she cites as having a great impact on the direction of her career, an impact which she perhaps didn’t realise the significance of at first.
Alicia vividly remembers her team’s presentation at YES. “When we prepared for the presentation, we knew we needed to make it impactful and we spent ages thinking about how to do that. I had to get up first and I was to say nothing for the first 30 seconds - that felt like an age! Then I had to state how many thousands of people had died due to smoking during that time. The idea was to make people sit up and listen to what we were saying. Even years afterwards I was realising all the learnings I had during that experience - some of them, participants won't even recognise until ten years later, but they are there.”
Alicia says that having the feeling of being part of a company and trying to bring an idea to fruition by working at the practicalities has helped her to identify with companies in that situation in the roles that followed.
Building powerful connections for business
When one of Alicia’s contacts alerted her to the job at KTN, she couldn’t believe how aligned it was with her passion for collaboration - it was her ideal job! In this first Chief Exec role for Alicia, it is all about collaborating, networking and building powerful connections for business. KTN has 200 people who have very deep expertise in a whole range of sectors across the UK. Their roles are to build business connections and communities which will shape future opportunities for the UK.
These connections have never been more important as we respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. KTN is ideally placed to work for the greater good. It can bring together sectors to work on supply chain issues and its network can be a source of innovative solutions and approaches.
KTN also works with research councils including BBSRC, MRC and NERC which have close ties with YES.
There’s so much synergy between what I do and YES. At KTN we are all about collaboration and working with others. We talk about cognitive diversity - bringing different ideas and people together to stimulate ideas. Bringing people together to try to solve problems is what makes me excited about the world! That's what YES is; when you build a team, you bring one approach or vision and stimulate and challenge it. That ability to bring different perspectives to problems is how we move forward - that's what we do at KTN.
Networked with over 40,000 businesses
Designed and hosted 421 events across the UK with 32,867 delegates in attendance
Over 55,000 newsletter subscribers
60% of businesses report a direct result from engagement
£100m per year increased investment in R&D
42% of engaged businesses reach outcomes faster over 1-2 years
66% of introductions go on to collaborate
Autonomy is exciting
At YES the teams own how they are going to build their company and develop their business idea; they have the power to direct it in different ways. Alicia remembers the exciting feeling of having the autonomy to shape something. She says: “We all need autonomy, having the ability to be able to influence and change things. That ability to bring different perspectives to problems is how we move thinking forward - that's what we do at KTN and that’s why this role has been an amazing experience for me. I have the autonomy and ability to shape what we do.”