Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

If you have an idea for your business but do not have all the in-house expertise needed to develop it, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) may be the perfect solution. KTPs are a UK-wide part grant-funded scheme helping businesses of all sizes to innovate using the knowledge and expertise of UK universities.

You can hear from Knowledge Transfer Advisers explain why in this YouTube video.

How Knowledge Transfer Partnerships work

One of the UK government’s longest running and most successful knowledge transfer programmes, KTPs have been helping academics and UK organisations work in partnership for over 40 years.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships can help your business:

  • Access new expertise and embed new knowledge to drive profitability
  • Apply a new technology, improve a process or develop a new market
  • Drive a culture of increase productivity
  • Create a culture of accelerated innovation to drive competitive advantage
  • Create new ideas or Intellectual Property
  • Gain access to new markets, develop new products, increase efficiency and productivity
  • Gain new strategic insights with cost-effective access to the UK’s world-class knowledge base
  • Access funding from the innovation agency Innovate UK or other organisations in UK Research and Innovation

Knowledge Transfer Partnership have a flyer which explains more about how your company could benefit from a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

What will it cost?

Part of the cost of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership is funded by a grant from Innovate UK or other government co-funders that you apply for in a competitive bid for submissions (there is a success rate for applications of around 90%). The remainder of the project cost is met through a cash payment by your company.

Project costs are variable, but can typically be around £75,000 –  £90,000 per project year. For Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises the grant rate is 67% of the project cost and for large companies 50%.

The cost of a KTP is comparable to employing a well-qualified graduate, but includes so much more:

  • Access to the exceptional resources of the university
  • A dedicated team to deliver a strategic project
  • Expert academic input bringing a breadth and depth of knowledge to support the graduate and the project
  • The consultancy of a highly experienced Knowledge Transfer Adviser who is there at every stage to support and help the project succeed
  • The partnership introduces new capabilities and embeds knowledge
  • The risk of developing the innovation project is shared with the government co-funders
  • The wider support and opportunities offered by links to the Knowledge Transfer Network – one of Innovate UK’s delivery partners.
  • KTPs support the increasing demand to deliver evidence of the impact of bespoke research, while updating strategic decisions of future research.

    The benefits are extensive, but academics can expect to:

    • produce on average more than three new research projects and two research papers for each project
    • apply knowledge and expertise to key commercial challenges
    • publish high-quality journal and conference papers
    • observe and to have impact on the practical application of their research
    • develop industry-relevant teaching material
    • contribute to the Research Excellence Framework (REF)
    • cultivate strategic relationships with regional and national organisations
  • Taking part in a KTP can help you to develop your business. It can help you get the academic expertise that you don’t have in-house. This expertise can help your business perform better and become more competitive and productive.

    A KTP is part-funded by a grant. You will need to contribute to the cost of the supervisor and the salary of the associate. The amount you will need to contribute depends on the scale and length of the project. It will also depend on the size of your company.

    Extra benefits of a KTP

    Outcomes vary but expected benefits for businesses are:

    • an average increase in annual profit of more than £1 million after taking part
    • the creation of two genuine new jobs
    • an increase in skills of existing staff
    • access to highly qualified graduates to lead new projects
    • access to university expertise providing specialist knowledge and access to the latest technology and ideas
    • developing innovative solutions to help your business grow
    • increased competitive advantage
    • improved performance/business operations
    • increased profitability
    • government funding reduces the cost and risk to businesses
    • the University manages the administration
  • A KTP could be the perfect launchpad, helping enhance your career by managing a challenging project central to a business’s strategic development and long term growth.  You’ll ‘own’ your own project, linked to both a university and a business whose experienced teams will provide you with full support. Applying academic knowledge to a real world challenge, this is a chance to deliver impact and shape your career

    As a KTP Associate, you’ll act as a project lead and can expect to benefit from:

    • A fulfilling employment opportunity where you can apply your knowledge to turn a key strategic innovation idea in to reality
    • The chance to manage a challenging, real-world project
    • An opportunity to tailor-make your role, as each KTP Associate position is unique
    • The chance to implement strategic development within an innovative company
    • Dedicated coaching, mentoring and personal development, as you manage your own personal training budget
    • The opportunity to gain a management qualification/training and the chance to work towards a higher degree.

    How to apply

    Most current job vacancies for KTP Associates are listed on their website.

    For more details download the KTP Associate Flyer.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships News

More information

The exchange of knowledge can benefit your business to be more competitive, profitable and to advance your processes and products. To find out more, email

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