Enjoying employment – how graduate Ruixiao Yu’s KTP project led to a permanent job

KTP Associate Ruixiao Yu was employed by the University of Brighton (who sponsored his visa) as KTP Associate for a project with Eastbourne based company Colony101.  Following project completion, the company decided to employ Ruixiao so sponsored his next visa and employed him on a permanent basis. You can read more about his experience as a KTP Associate, where he worked in partnership with the University of Brighton and Colony101 to deliver a strategic project for the company below:


Associate Profile

Name – Ruixiao Yu

Former KTP Associate for – the University of Brighton and Colony101

Current position – Senior .NET Developer at Cyclr (spin out company of Colony101)

Education – MSc in Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh and BEng in Software Engineering – Hangzhou Dianzi University



Brief description of project

During my project I worked with Eastbourne based software development company, Colony101, who specialise in email marketing software. My project focused on developing an innovative automated data integration software product. We had input from academics in the University of Brighton’s School of Computing, Engineer and Mathematics, who provided expertise in visual programming languages, cloud software architecture and business process modelling. Our product, Cyclr, has been launched through its own start-up company.


Highlights from the project

The personal development budget was fantastic, for example I was able to attend Scrum Master training which allowed me to work as a Scrum Master in the company – facilitating the development of the software on a day to day basis. I also attended several specialised database development, data mining/analytics and machine learning courses. The project work has been really enjoyable. The fun part of programming is that you’re solving challenging problems every day, it feels great!


The best thing about being a KTP Associate

The opportunity for personal development was the most significant benefit I can see for KTP. I was involved in the product development right at the beginning, and went on to design, implement and test the application. Initially I had full responsibility for delivering this with support from my supervisory team, and then after a year another developer joined the team and I was able to act as the Scrum Master, helping to lead the team to develop the system.


Challenges overcome during partnership

There have been some challenges with regards to setting up a start-up company, which has been a really useful learning experience for me and for the team. As a start-up company, we have pressure to compete with big players in the market, and they have more resources to allocate. We also needed to look for funding ourselves, but this has been overcome by bringing in external stakeholders who had experience in starting up businesses.


What I am doing now

I’m now employed by the start-up company Cyclr, as a Senior.NET Developer focussing on further developing the core Cyclr product and implementing new features.


I would recommend a KTP because…

You can bring your academic knowledge directly into a business context, working on a specific objective and deliverable. You will still be involved in academic life through the relationship with the university, but you will use your knowledge and skills in a very practical way. You can be the manager of your project, right from the beginning.


What is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?

KTP is a world-leading programme that helps businesses succeed by connecting them to the UK’s rich academic resources. It’s a partnership between the business seeking expertise, a university or college and a recently qualified graduate – known as an Associate. Each partnership lasts from twelve months to three years.

The graduate carries out a strategic project in your business, with expert university academic guidance. Up to 67 per cent of the project costs are government-funded.

If you apply to KTP and you’re successful, an Associate (supervised by the company and the university) will work in your company and help bring your plans to life.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership can involve refining or designing products, opening new markets, improving business, marketing or manufacturing systems and cutting costs and waste.


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