Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)

The Innovator's Guide to Knowledge Transfer Partnership

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a long-running UK government programme designed to create partnerships between businesses and academic institutions for specific, timebound innovation projects. The goal is to create new technologies, products and revenue opportunities for businesses by employing the knowledge and expertise, as well as the equipment and resources, of academic institutions. We’ll touch on the role of academics and graduates, but this piece will largely focus on the participation of businesses.

Projects can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on the type of project and the goals of the business. KTP project costs are shared by the company and by Innovate UK and other government supporters. The latter two contribute 50-67% of the project cost to the participating academic or research organisation. The business covers the remaining project cost, with a small-to-medium business contributing 33% and a large business 50%. While KTP projects have typically involved science and technology subjects, the programme has added a new Management KTP stream that works in the same way, with the partnership focused on strategic or organisational change.

Professionals called Knowledge Transfer Advisers (KTA)s are essential to any project and the first call for any businesses interested in the programme. KTAs have extensive experience in research and industry. They provide expert advice and work with the partners throughout a project to ensure its success. Because of their role in the pre-application process, applications for KTPs enjoy a high rate of success, with around 90% of applications being accepted.

The Short Version

  • The programme’s goal is to create new technologies, products and revenue opportunities for businesses by employing the knowledge, expertise and resources of academic institutions. 

 

  • Organisations of any size and in any sector can participate provided they are a UK registered company of sufficient size to support the project and have the financial capacity to make the required contribution to the cost of the project.
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  • Project costs are variable, but can typically be around £75,000–£90,000 per project year. 

Who is eligible?

Each KTP is a three-way partnership between:

  • a UK-based business of any size or a not-for-profit organisation (including social enterprises and charities)

  • A ‘knowledge base’ that could be a university, college, research and technology organisation or Catapult in the UK

  • A suitably-qualified graduate (called an associate) with the capability to lead the project

Organisations of any size and in any sector can participate provided they are a UK registered company of sufficient size to support the project and have the financial capacity to make the required contribution to the cost of the project. In addition to meeting KTP project criteria, businesses must have support and direction from senior management.

Funding and Eligible Costs

Project costs are variable, but can typically be around £75,000–£90,000 per project year. The total eligible costs for a KTP project depend on project duration, the nature of the project work, geographical location and the costs of the knowledge base. A project plan must include the costs of employing the associate and a supervisor at the knowledge base, as well as any laboratory or office space used by the associate. The business partner must cover all their own costs for supervising the associate and supporting the project. Cost are calculated on a monthly basis and typically include:

  • The associate’s salary to a maximum of £45,000 per year

  • The associate’s personal and professional development, including training that is specifically required for the project or training that helps the all-round development of the associate to a maximum of £2,000 per year

  • Travel and subsistence costs of the associate and the knowledge base supervisor, typically £1,250 per year each, with exceptions

  • Consumable items that are essential to carry out and complete the project, including the associate’s personal computer, but not capital items that the business partner will use after the project is completed. Typically £2,000 per year, with exceptions

How to Apply

Contacting a Knowledge Transfer Adviser is the recommended first step for any business interested in a KTP. They can check the feasibility of the project and its suitability for funding. Applications are led by a knowledge base, working with a business. 

Businesses with an existing partnership with a knowledge base are eligible to apply through that organisation’s KTP office. Businesses that don’t already have a knowledge base partner should contact KTN to assess the feasibility of the project and connect to knowledge bases that can assist with creating an application.  Organisations can locate and contact a local Knowledge Transfer Adviser on this map of KTA locations or from the list here.

Applications can only be submitted by a registered knowledge base, and are completed jointly by the prospective business and knowledge base. They should include information about each of the participants, their objectives, the proposed tasks and deliverables for the associate. While the KTP programme runs continuously throughout the year, the programme is competition-based and so there are open and close dates for KTP competitions. 

Applicants are notified within 12 weeks of the competition closing, with successful partnerships receiving a formal grant letter. Once a grant application is approved, the knowledge base and business partner will jointly recruit an associate, usually with a Master’s or PhD, who will work one half day per week on the project.

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