Applying Gravitational Wave Research in Industry by Dr Christian Killow

I was Knowledge Base Supervisor on a two-year KTP involving the University of Glasgow and Gooch and Housego (UK) Ltd.  The aim of the project was to transfer an adhesive-free bonding technology to the industrial partner and for the academic partner to get first-hand experience of industrial needs and processes, such that areas of potential impact could be identified during future research.

 

The technology had been used extensively in academic research activities at the University of Glasgow for use in gravitational wave detectors - both ground- and space-based - and Gooch and Housego showed interest in the technique to augment and improve their product lines in photonic technology devices.  The bonding technique has features that provide superior performance over traditional techniques of optical contacting and the use of epoxy.

 

The KTP started a successful collaboration between the academic and industrial partners that continues to this day, and now includes successful joint bids to grant funding to conduct research and being involved, as full partners, in a Marie Curie FP7 ITN - Grawiton. This has resulted in a PhD student being based at Gooch and Housego to undertake a PhD based on advanced bonding applications while registered at the University of Glasgow.

 

At the start of the KTP my career had mainly consisted of conducting research as a post-doctoral researcher.  This project gave me the opportunity to gain valuable experience of project management - including budget, staff and research responsibilities.  This has proved to be useful in many instances in my career since that point.  There were challenges that had to be overcome, the most memorable being that KTP Associate secured employment elsewhere towards the end of the project - a great endorsement of the benefit of doing a KTP!  This left us with the challenge of recruiting a new Associate for the remaining five months to finish the project, which we did and the project concluded successfully.

 

The experiences of the KTP, even the less glamorous aspects such as learning how to manage a project within a University administrative system, gave me skills that I would have needed to progress my career, and the KTP was a great way to acquire them.  Interacting so closely with an industrial partner has made me very aware of what technologies are likely to have impact and how to go about realising that potential impact.

Dr Christian Killow, SUPA Advanced Research Fellow School of Physics and

Astronomy University of Glasgow

Phone: +44 (0)141 330 3376

http://www.physics.gla.ac.uk/igr/

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