Case study

Helping Derbyshire Wildlife Trust develop new commercial services

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has chosen to work with our University on a new, two-year Management Knowledge Transfer Partnership (MKTP). This aims to help the Trust establish a business model so it can offer commercial ecosystem services.

The story so far...

Experts from our Centre for Supply Chain Improvement have worked with the Trust to devise the project and to secure the funding from Innovate UK that has made it possible. These academics will also help recruit and supervise a recent graduate (known as the MKTP Associate) who will undertake the day-to-day work, which will start in Autumn 2022.

Why this project is needed

Dr Phil Fermor, Innovation Manager at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, explained the rationale for the project: “As environmental regulations tighten, we’re seeing an increase in demand for ecosystem services such as biodiversity offsets, carbon sequestration, and nitrate and phosphate mitigation. In addition, the importance of nature for our health and wellbeing has been recognised, and so we’re seeing initiatives such as green social prescribing attract government investment.

"Our Wildlife Trust needs to capitalise on these commercial opportunities to ensure we have a strong financial footing and can achieve our main goal — which is that 33% of Derbyshire is managed for wildlife. The Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Derby will help us do this."

— Dr Phil Fermor, Innovation Manager at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust

"Supported by the academic team, the Associate will develop an appropriate business model for these services, as well as an approach for evaluating the cost and value effectiveness of each business opportunity up-front. They will also need to help us become more professional, agile and entrepreneurial and embed strong business capabilities within our team.”

Pink and purples wildflowers in a meadow

The learning opportunity

Dr Tony Anosike, Senior Lecturer in Supply Chain Management and Academic Supervisor for this MKTP, said: “This is an exciting knowledge transfer project in an increasingly important area of business: sustainability services and products. It’s a fantastic opportunity for our academics and the Associate to apply their expertise in an unusual setting, taking into consideration the sensitivities of introducing a more commercial approach into a well-established organisation with a strong charitable ethos.”

Lead Academic for the project, Professor Jose Arturo Garza-Reyes, added: “It also offers a great learning opportunity for hundreds of our undergraduate and postgraduate students, from across business management, operations and supply chain, and environmental management and sustainability courses. They will all learn a lot from the case studies, projects and guest lectures that will be generated by this project.”

Other collaborations

In addition to this MKTP, which focuses on holistic business model development, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is also working with academics from our College of Science and Engineering on other KTPs linked to this project. These would focus on developing the technical capabilities required in land mapping and decision making for optimal habitat selection.

This is the latest in a series of partnerships between our University and Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. We have previously collaborated on research projects that evaluated the benefits of daily nature contact and are also working together on a potential rewilding project. The Trust will continue to be an important partner for our University, as we strive to achieve our long-term civic ambitions.

Abstract shot of discussion in a classroom

About Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)

In a KTP, you form a partnership with us and a recent graduate to drive forward a high-priority project for your organisation. We can access government funding, which can pay for up to two thirds of the project cost.

Learn more about KTPsLearn more about KTPs