Graduate Profile

Dr Peter Brown, MSci Physics 1996, Consultant at TTP

In hindsight, St. Andrews was the perfect choice of university for me. I originally set out to study astronomy and astrophysics – my boyhood passion – but as the years passed I slowly realised that I wanted a less specialist degree and switched to a straight physics degree half-way through my third year. In addition to the quality of the teaching, the flexibility of the degree structure and the understanding of the lecturers at St. Andrews were therefore extremely important to me. The willingness of my lecturers to work with a rather demanding and vocal class of students was also to their great credit!

After St. Andrews I must confess that I still didn’t know what I wanted to do career-wise, but I was quite certain that I wanted some more of the student life. On the recommendation of my Director of Studies I therefore moved down to Cambridge to study the optoelectronics of conjugated polymers and their uses in plastic electronics under the supervision of Professor Sir Richard Friend. This turned out to be a great choice as the field was exploding around that time and the Optoelectronics group at the Cavendish Laboratory were world-leaders. After spending three and a half years getting my PhD and two years of post-doctoral research, I realised that it was time for me to get out of academia. But to do what?

The University of Cambridge has had an enormous affect on the surrounding area, providing highly-qualified graduates and countless good ideas for commercial opportunities based on new technology. As a result, Cambridgeshire contains a high density of technology-based companies, ranging from myriads of small start-ups and university spin-outs to world-leading companies such as ARM Holdings. It is therefore a fertile place for a new graduate looking for work!

The area also includes a small, but growing, number of technical consultancies that largely operate on a fees-for-time business model. Where these companies differentiate from each other is the way they spend their time: some are conventional consultancies and spend most of their time researching and writing reports for their clients, whilst others use their time to perform technical tasks such as technology, product or process development. I consider myself extremely fortunate to find myself a job with a company with the latter business model: The Technology Partnership (TTP, see

Working at TTP offers a hugely varied and rewarding working environment. We have 200-250 scientists and engineers, virtually all of whom have a high-ranked undergraduate degree, many of whom also have a PhD in a wide variety of sub-sets of physics or engineering. These people collaborate in teams to develop products and technologies for a wide variety of applications including droplet-generation (inkjet, spray coating, aerosols), medical devices, telecommunications, consumer products, optics and optical systems to name but a few.

Droplet generation at TTP

One application for controlled generation of droplets is in
ink-jet printing. Providing medicine through the use of
inhalers is another.

Due to the nature of its business, TTP has enabled me to develop my skills in a variety of areas in addition to my physics including project leadership, business development, legal, financial and business management. After 11 years working at TTP I certainly feel like I have learned a huge amount – with plenty more left to come!

Looking forward to the next few years, my aims are to lead and drive through the creation of significant new business areas for TTP and our clients. A particular focus for me is a proprietary inkjet printing technology, but I am intrigued by the possibilities of a nano-structured coating process we are also developing. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I will be able to point to significant new technologies and substantial businesses that I played a lead role in creating.

The Technology Partnership

First published BDS 2.9.13