Detailed guide: Knowledge Transfer Partnerships: what they are and how to apply

Innovate Uk

October 31
15:40 2019

What is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme helps businesses in the UK to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate.

A KTP enables a business to bring in new skills and the latest academic thinking to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project through a knowledge-based partnership.

The academic or research organisation partner will help to recruit a suitable graduate, known as an Associate. They will act as the employer of the graduate, who then works at the company for the duration.

The scheme can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on what the project is and the needs of the business.

Knowledge Transfer Partnership success story: Qioptiq

Who can take part

Each KTP is a 3-way partnership between:

  • a UK-based business of any size or a not-for-profit organisation
  • an academic or research organisation. This could be a university, college or research and technology organisation in the UK
  • a suitably-qualified graduate, with the capability to lead a strategic business project

KTP for businesses

Taking part in a KTP can help you to develop your business. You can get academic expertise that you dont have in-house. This can improve your business performance and help you to become more competitive and productive.

A KTP is part-funded by a grant. You will need to contribute to the salary of the Associate who will work with your business, plus the cost of a supervisor who will oversee the scheme.

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. Typically:

  • small and medium-sized enterprises contribute around 35,000 per year, about one-third of the project costs
  • large businesses contribute around 55,000 per year, or half of the project costs

KTP for academic or research organisations

Academic partners who take part in a KTP produce on average more than 3 new research projects and 2 research papers for each project.

Most academic and research organisations will have a dedicated KTP office. These offices work with the business and academic partners who intend to collaborate together to scope out the project. They can also help with the application to Innovate UK.

KTP for graduates

KTP is one of the UKs largest graduate recruitment programmes. There are over 300 job opportunities each year. It supports career development and often leads to a permanent job.

You can find opportunities at:

  • KTP vacancies online
  • an academic or research organisations dedicated KTP office
  • university departments
  • career offices
  • recruitment websites
  • local newspapers
KTP associate Lydia Chan in a meeting with colleagues at Renown's manufacturing facility.

KTP associate Lydia Chan in a meeting with colleagues at Renown's manufacturing facility.

How to apply

There are 2 main routes to applying for a KTP as a business.

Via a Knowledge Transfer Adviser

If youre interested in taking part in a KTP but dont already have a university partner, you should contact your local Knowledge Transfer Adviser. They will:

  • check the feasibility of your idea and tell you if it is suitable
  • find the right academic or researcher to work on your project

Via the academic or research organisation

If you already have a partnership with an academic or research organisation or know who you would like to work with on a KTP, you should go via that organisations KTP office.

Submitting an application

A KTP application must be completed jointly by the prospective business and the academic or research organisation partner, with the agreement of a Knowledge Transfer Adviser.

It should include information about each of the participants, their objectives, the proposed tasks and deliverables for the Associate.

The completed application should be submitted by the academic or research organisation. They will have access to a KTP applicants site where they will be able to do this.

What happens after you apply

Applications are assessed by an independent group of assessors. You will normally be notified of the outcome within 12 weeks or less of application.

If your partnership is successful you will be notified by your KT Adviser in the first instance. You will then receive a formal grant offer letter.

Once accepted this marks the point at which you can begin to recruit an Associate. Recruitment should be undertaken jointly by the academic organisation and business partner. The Associates contract of employment will be with the academic organisation.

You must recruit the most appropriate Associate for the work. Your Knowledge Transfer Adviser or KTP office can advise.

Dates and deadlines

Our KTP programme 2019 to 2020 is run continuously throughout the year. This table contains the full list of open and close dates.

Open date Close date
7 February 2019 3 April 2019
4 April 2019 29 May 2019
30 May 2019 24 July 2018
25 July 2019 2 October 2019
3 October 2019 11 December 2019
12 December 2019 BEIS mKTP only 19 February 2020 BEIS mKTP only
12 December 2019 4 March 2020

Find and contact your local KT Adviser

KT Advisers - London and South East

East Sussex, Kent, Central and South London, West Sussex

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

Hertfordshire and London North and Central

Berkshire, Surrey and London West and Central

Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and London North and Central

KT Advisers - East of England

Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and London North/Central

Essex, Suffolk and London East

Norfolk and London Central

KT Advisers - South West

Dorset and Wiltshire

  • Stephen Woodhouse - 07860 863 652 -

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