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Ambitious Manchester SME Badger Energy has reaped the rewards of collaborating with Manchester Metropolitan University, unlocking a wealth of expertise and specialist equipment to advance its product development.


You’re a growing start-up company and everything’s going pretty much to plan… until an unexpected problem hits your supply chain and you’re suddenly looking at potentially crippling delays for a key part. What do you do?

This was the scenario facing Manchester-based Badger Energy, which was set up in 2020 and manufactures and distributes renewable energy products.

But thanks to a partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, and the involvement of our innovation specialists, the SME has turned around its fortunes and will soon be rolling out new products.

The company’s chair, Llion Rowlands, has no doubts that the approach has been a game-changer: “Through the collaboration with the university and GC Business Growth Hub, we can complete our product development project faster, smoother and better, which is enabling us to get to market a lot sooner.”

So how did it come about?


Access to leading knowledge, facilities and equipment

We linked Badger Energy with Manchester Metropolitan University, which has the required 3D printing technology to design and create a prototype that could be made locally. On top of that, we also helped Badger connect with around 30 manufacturers in the region that could produce the casing to the required standards at a commercially viable cost.

With mass production scheduled to begin shortly, Llion reflects on a prosperous first experience with our team:

“The innovation specialists at GC Business Growth Hub have been excellent for us. They have provided us with knowledge and connections that we would not otherwise have had, or been aware of. We’ve been able to collaborate with different partners to move forward with our plan at a much faster pace.”

Adam Thompson, Managing Director, Badger Energy


Addressing technical challenges through collaboration

Successful university-industry collaborations can often start off relatively small, with a short-term project which then grows into a long-term relationship.

And this collaboration has led to Badger and MMU working together, via a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), to develop the firm’s mobile app for its EV charger.

The app currently allows users to charge the vehicle at a pre-set time, or from various power sources, to reduce energy costs. But the company wants to add more advanced functions, such as assisting users in planning their trips: plotting suitable routes; suggesting stopover points with the lowest energy cost to enable users to charge their vehicle on the road; allowing users to pre-book chargers; and providing suggestions on battery-saving solutions based on the weather condition and other factors.

We provided crucial support to the application process, ensuring the best chance of success in a competitive field, as well being an important line of communication between the company and the university – something thoroughly appreciated by Badger:

“Another interesting finding for us in collaborating with the university is their viewpoint can be very different from ours,” says As Llion. “Considering the nature of two organisations, sometimes it might seem we speak two different languages.”


What is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)?

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships enable an SME to unlock access to a wealth of know-how in research and technology organisations.

MMU describes a KTP as “a long-standing, government-funded initiative that allows businesses to improve their competitiveness, productivity, and performance. The programme involves your organisation and Manchester Metropolitan University joining forces to address a specific challenge.

“A KTP places a jointly selected high-quality graduate, supported by a leading academic team for between one and three years. The graduate will work with you on a specific project to significantly and permanently improve your business performance. Projects focus on strategic business solutions to generate new products, develop markets, improve operating processes and systems or increase sustainability.”


Find out more about industry-university collaborations and KTPs

Greater Manchester’s world-leading universities, and other research and technology organisations, work with industry. Their support can help your business to gain momentum, speed up research and development activities, shorten the time to market, and understand the impact of technological change.

Get in touch

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