KTN's online platform helps you to make the connections you need


The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) has refreshed its online platform to intelligently connect you to relevant events, funding, thought pieces and specialist staff to help your business innovate and grow.

You can discover content using your area of interest, from Digital Creative to transport; from space to health – all major UK economic sectors are covered. Once you have selected your interests, using our intelligent tagging system, we will then display rich and relevant content related to your area, often from surprising sources.

An example might be new satellite technology from the space sector that is applicable in the agri-food sector. KTN-UK.co.uk will help you form these unusual and valuable connections.

All content on the platform has been carefully curated by our team of innovation specialists – not by an automated algorithm – so you can be confident that KTN is connecting you to the most relevant cutting-edge information.


The move also marks a closer alignment with our main funder, Innovate UK , with the website branding making a clear visual link. Knowledge Transfer Network is Innovate UK's innovation network partner, and also works with other funders to provide innovation networking services and fulfil our mission to drive UK growth.

We link new ideas and opportunities with expertise, markets and finance through our network of businesses, universities, funders and investors. From agri-food to autonomous systems and from energy to design, KTN combines expertise in all sectors with the ability to cross boundaries. Connecting with KTN can lead to potential partners, horizon-expanding events and innovation insights relevant to your needs.

Visit our people pages to connect directly with expertise in your sector.

Visit the KTN refreshed online platfom here


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Member in the spotlight: Polecat - Gardens and coral reefs: developing metaphor based visualisations

Polecat (http://www.polecat.co) is an enterprise search and business intelligence company that develops MeaningMine, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product (http://www.polecat.co) capable of mining the mountains of online and social media data to generate meaningful and relevant strategic insights into any question.


Over the past couple of years, Polecat has been working on an FP7 project looking at analysing on-line communities (http://www.robust-project.eu/). Part of this project involves developing a metaphor based visualisation for community health which will display the outputs of various cutting edge metrics produced by Polecat and other academic partners on the project. The idea is to provide a single view of a community that can be immediately understood, and interrogated in more detail where points of interest arise. On-line communities, as defined by the project have a wide scope: it extends from traditional forums such as Mumsnet through to collections of users on social media like Facebook and Twitter.


Initial prototypes have centred around natural metaphors such as coral reefs and gardens, and user experiments using these types of visualisations have yielded some positive results. They have the advantage of being cross cultural; images and items that are common to the human experience, regardless of the location or background of the user. The research gave six key signals:

  • Flock behaviour – people understand that the movement of “things” (be they animals, cells, atoms etc) can represent people and the way they are working together.
  • Seasonality – the natural cycle gives us many signals around health, from the new, weak life of spring, through to concepts like death and hibernation in winter.
  • Size and activity – the relative size of elements in a visualisation easily translates to the notion of size in real life.
  • Colour and commonality – our reaction to colours is universal. For example, red is always understood as heat or danger.
  • The natural world – caution is required here because of the breath of the natural world. But concepts like health, growth and reproduction are most viscerally expressed by the natural world.
  • Growth (above and below)


Coral visualisation


The project is now at the stage that Polecat needs to build a final visualisation based on this research. This involves bringing together the various successful elements of metaphor from the experimental data, deciding on a final over-arching metaphor, and building the software that consumes the community metrics and displays them. We strongly feel that, in order for this visualisation to be a success, it not only communicates information quickly and intuitively, but also looks beautiful. We envisage that this tool will be used like a kind of screen saver for community owners (and those interested in monitoring the activity within certain communities), constantly available to provide a fast overview of complex metrics at a glance.


We are now looking for creative designers and developers to work with on the production of this software, both in terms of finalising the metaphor and developing the visualisation itself to plug into the metric services. If you are interested in working on this project, we would be delighted to talk to you. Please email engineering@polecat.co or call 07834 812 372.

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