27 / May / 2024

AquaTerra Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Back to blog

Three months ago we welcomed Thanh Nguyen to the position of Data Scientist through Robert Gordon University‘s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). Thanh made the move from Vietnam to spend two years with AquaTerra Group. 

In his short time here so far, Thanh has been an invaluable asset to the Inspection & Reporting team, and has implemented an integrity management system to collect and analyse ultrasonic testing data in minutes – work that would have taken much longer to process previously.  

We recently caught up with Thanh to find out how he is enjoying his time at AquaTerra, his learnings so far and his hopes for the next few months. … 

Thanh Nguyen, Data Scientist

How did the KTP come about for you when you were over in Vietnam and how were you made aware of the opportunity?  In Vietnam, I had a job in a bank, and this opportunity came to me unexpectedly. I have a friend who I’ve done a lot of projects with, and he sent me the link to apply for this job. 

In the bank, I had a chance to experience using new technology, and how to approach, process, and analyse data so that enhanced my abilities in these areas. 

This is the first project I have embarked on within the energy industry which is exciting because I believe the potential is huge. 

What was it that made you attracted to pursue the KTP opportunity?  
Having read the job description, I felt it was a great fit for my skills. I can utilise what I learnt at university and put my skills into practise in a real situation. 

How have you found working with your new team at AquaTerra?  
My colleagues are very supportive and collaborative. They make me feel valued and contribute to my ideas, but they also give me the space to pursue my ideas. They are very kind – I got lost once since I am not familiar with the area and colleagues came to pick me up. 

Do you still do some studying with the university, or do you spend all of your time at AquaTerra?  My programme is a collaboration with the government, the university and AquaTerra. I need to follow the advice and instructions from both the company and university. I may go through more education to develop further at a later date, such as a PhD course at Robert Gordon University. 

Have you had the chance to put any of your academic knowledge into practise to make a direct impact on the solutions or processes within AquaTerra? 
I have a chance to input to the development of AquaCLAM, which is a very powerful tool. I analyse the data I collect from AquaCLAM. I see what is happening inside the connectors. The data collected from the tool is vast and can take many hours or even days to analyse manually but with the system I have implemented, I can do it in minutes. 

Previously, the team would have to manually go through the data, selecting the right information and getting rid of the wrong information, so it was a very laborious task. The algorithm is now about 94% accurate at removing incorrect data. 

Since you started working with AquaTerra have any other areas of their operations interested you at all?  I admire the people who work offshore – they are so brave to work in a hazardous environment. The weather conditions scare me, but I would certainly try it. 

What advice would you give to other students or professionals considering participating in a KTP programme, especially those coming from different cultural backgrounds like yourself?  Coming from the different culture, the KTP is giving me the chance to gain knowledge about the work, getting to know new people and familiarise myself with a new culture. I would advise people to keep their minds open about the opportunities that come to them and I’d advise anyone to take part in a KTP. 

What have you found one of the most rewarding things about working for AquaTerra so far? Being at AquaTerra has helped me to understand more about working in the field of energy both onshore and offshore. It’s so helpful for me to understand how the whole business works, how to respond to clients and I hope the contribution of my experience and knowledge to even just one part of the business, is valuable.  

AquaTerra has opened my eyes to the people and culture here in the UK.  

What have you enjoyed most about your time in Scotland? Have you visited anywhere that you particularly enjoyed or is there anything that stands out to you about coming over here?  Just a month ago, I felt that the weather was very bad, cold, and crazy even! But now I’m coping with that, and I can travel around. My home is near the River Dee and Duthie Park so I like the scenery and environment. 

Are there any other points you’d like to add?  Companies have a chance to connect with academic expertise and find a solution for the job they need done or a problem that they need to solve. The university have training to understand more about industry requirements. Perhaps KTP Associates like me will inform research or future direction of the programme. 

After the KTP, are you hoping to stay in Scotland, or will you go back to Vietnam and what do you hope to pursue your career in?  I have two years with AquaTerra and that will be a chance for me to improve my communication skills and if there was a chance to stay in the company for longer. I hope to have the opportunity to participate in the PhD course at Robert Gordon University. It would be a great motivation for me to advance further in my career and education. 

About the KTP Programme 

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a UK-wide programme that has been helping businesses for the past 40 years to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base. 

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership serves to meet a core strategic need and to identify innovative solutions to help that business grow. KTP often delivers significant increased profitability for business partners as a direct result of the partnership through improved quality and operations, increased sales, and access to new markets. Social enterprises see improved results, too. 

AquaTerra’s KTP 
Collaboration is key, with a close partnership between the university, domain experts, and our data engineers. Together, they aim to understand the unique requirements of inspection tasks and data, utilising expertise in data manipulation and transformation to optimise data for accurate model training. 
Through linking with RGU, we hope to participate in more KTPs in the future. Not only can we provide exciting opportunities for graduates, but we are also eager to learn from their fresh perspectives.