Partnership Creation

Partnerships and the Liverpool Model

During my time in senior management at the University of Liverpool I was successful in creating a number of partnerships, not only at the department level but also at the institutional level. Due to my background in the sciences, much of my focus was on advanced technology projects in particular those where a combination of subjects could be brought together as an interdisciplinary group to address large problems that are of societal interest. I passionately believe that the complex problems that face society will only be solved by creating teams with expertise spreading from the arts to the sciences. GreyDot™ can help your business work with such teams.

It is not easy to develop strategic partnerships but during my time in the University of Liverpool I played a key leadership role in helping to create the partnership with Unilever PLC and, in addition, to develop and sustain it. I have also worked with other organisations from SMEs to multinationals. As an illustration, below are two case studies, one nearly ten years old, the other yet to start which indicate my hands-on involvement which altogether spanned 11 years.

Materials Innovation

The Centre for Materials Discovery

I was the Head of the Department of Chemistry in 2006 and together with colleagues from the Department and researchers from Unilever PLC, we were successful in attracting external sponsorship from the North West Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund to develop a research centre and a research and knowledge transfer service to academia and industry in the area of high throughput materials discovery. In its first three years of operation it was responsible for over 200 new jobs created and attracted £5.85M Net Value Added to the Merseyside region.

In its first three years of operation it was responsible for over 200 new jobs created and attracted £5.85M Net Value Added to the Merseyside region.

The operational model is supple enough to support university research and also the research and development requirements of a global industrial partner, Unilever. In addition to this, SMEs can also use the robotics equipment to develop new materials working within a flexible IP framework. The partnership framework agreement is now referred to as The Liverpool Model (

The Materials Innovation Factory

In 2012, a funding call was issued by the Higher Education Funding Committee in support of a partnership programme between a university and an external partner to undertake research of benefit to both and, more generally, support the economic growth of UK PLC. At that time I was the Executive Pro-Vice Chancellor for Science and Engineering and together with Vice Chancellor Sir Howard Newby, colleagues in the University of Liverpool and those at Unilever PLC, we wrote a strong proposal for support to create a new research institute in the Chemistry Department based upon the Liverpool Model but now, several times larger in ambition.

The Factory will be the UK leading institute in computer-aided materials science which will bring together several research disciplines including chemistry, materials science, mathematics, computer science and branches of engineering. The building will be finished and occupied by staff from the University and Unilever at the end of 2016.