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Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership links your business to a world-class academic partner in the UK to drive innovation through collaboration.

For over 40 years Knowledge Transfer Partnerships have been helping businesses innovate for growth by accessing the UK’s world-leading knowledge base.

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 may be the answer. It creates a dynamic three-way collaboration – between a business or not for profit organisation, a UK university or research organisation, and a suitably qualified graduate – to help realise a strategic innovation project, bring about transformative change and embed new capability.

Visit the new KTP website – the new hub for all things KTP. You’ll find news, case studies, details on how to participate in a KTP either as a company, a knowledge base or a graduate – and the site will also feature the latest KTP Associate job vacancies.

This year saw the return of the popular KTP Best of the Best Awards. Competition was stiff across all categories, with nominations reflecting the diversity and quality of the KTP programme which spans all sectors and can benefit organisations of all sizes. Find out more about the finalists here, and click here to download a commemorative brochure with all the winners.



A Unique Three Way Collaboration

The unique collaboration formed by a Knowledge Transfer Partnership is designed to be mutually beneficial to all three partners:

  • A business or not for profit organisation: driving innovation, increasing productivity and improving business performance
  • A research organisation or university: creating business-relevant teaching, research and publishing opportunities
  • A suitably qualified graduate (known as the Associate): providing a rewarding employment opportunity and the chance to apply academic knowledge to real world business challenges

If you think a Knowledge Transfer Partnership might be appropriate for your organisation, talk to one of our expert Knowledge Transfer Advisers who are there to advise you at every stage.

Find out more about how Knowledge Transfer Partnerships works

Find out more about funding for Knowledge Transfer Partnership


Benefits to the business include:

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships can help your business:

  • Embed expertise, generate new knowledge, expand capability and foster a culture of innovation
  • Drive competitive advantage through accelerated innovation and the possibility of creating Intellectual Property
  • Gain privileged and cost-effective access to the UK’s world-class knowledge base and resources 
  • Increase revenue/profits through access to new markets, new product development, increased productivity and better processes
  • Benefit from the strategic input of a highly experienced Knowledge Transfer Adviser

Our guide tells you more about how your company could benefit from a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

Interested? Contact a Knowledge Transfer Adviser here who can help assess your project idea and help you every stage of the way.

Benefits to the research organisation / university include:

  • Business relevant teaching and research, and the ability to apply knowledge and expertise to real-world problems
  • On average 3 new research projects and 2 research papers created for each project as a result of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership
  • Source of valuable research income
  • Identifying new research themes and contributing to the Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • Leading a rewarding and ongoing collaboration with innovative companies requiring research-based expertise to succeed
  • Publishing high quality journals and conference papers.


Benefits to the Graduate (Associate) include:

  • A fulfilling employment opportunity where suitably qualified graduates can apply their knowledge to realise a key strategic innovation
  • Gain experience of managing a challenging real-world project
  • The chance to implement strategic development within an innovative company
  • Gain further professional qualification
  • Dedicated coaching, mentoring and personal development; opportunity to gain management qualification/training and the chance to work towards a higher degree
  • The possibility of a rewarding job with the company at the end of the project


How a Knowledge Transfer Partnership works:

The Knowledge Transfer Network provides local experts called Knowledge Transfer Advisers to help you every step of the way.

They are on hand throughout and will work with you to help scope out the idea, find an academic partner, cost the project and help with your grant application, right through to working with you to shape and manage your project and deliver it on time.

Once you have had your grant application approved (nearly 90% of applications are successful), the university or research organisation will recruit a suitably qualified graduate (known as the Associate), usually with a Master’s or PhD, to work on the project, based at your company.

The Associate will be the conduit for change, transferring and implementing the knowledge generated and providing feedback from you to the academic partner, who will devote 0.5 days per week to your project.

Your Knowledge Transfer Adviser will visit every 3 – 4 months to provide on-going support to you, and coaching and mentoring support to the Associate. S/he can access colleagues elsewhere in the network to help your business fully exploit the project.

The length of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships varies from 12 – 36 months, depending on the nature of the project and the requirements of your business.

Find and contact your nearest Knowledge Transfer Adviser


Introducing the Management KTP

Effective management can be the difference between thriving companies and failing companies. That is why Innovate UK has introduced a new programme designed to inject significant management expertise that expands business capability, increases efficiency and enables lasting change and growth.

The Management KTP works just like the KTP programme but links companies with some of the UK’s world-class Business Schools in partnerships focussed on management-based projects.

The first round of funding for MKTP opens on 12th December and closes on 19th February at midday.


Funding a Knowledge Transfer Partnership

Part of the cost of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership is funded by a grant from the innovation agency Innovate UK, and other government co-funders, that you apply for in a competitive call for submissions.  Project costs are variable, but can typically be of the order of £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 remainder of the project cost is met by a cash payment by your company.

See the latest funding opportunities here


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