Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) are three-way collaborations between the University, an external organisation and a graduate.

KTPs are a UK-wide programme, run and managed by Innovate UK on behalf of the 17 major research councils.

They often grow out of existing partnerships when the organisation identifies a strategic need that the university has the expertise to address.

The partner organisation can be a commercial company – in any sector – or service provider such as an education authority, NHS Trust or local council.

A graduate, supported by an academic team, joins the organisation to work on the project for anything from one to three years.

Projects are equally varied, spanning business processes, commercial development, efficiency savings, manufacturing, product design and technical innovation.

To find out how to establish a KTP, please download our KTP step-by-step guide.

Frequently asked questions about KTPs

I’ve heard of KTPs but I’m not sure exactly how they work. Can you explain?

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships involve the transfer of the University’s knowledge and expertise to an external organisation. The knowledge is transferred through the employment of a recently qualified graduate.

The graduate will be placed in the organisation to work on a specific task for the duration of the KTP. Projects can run for anything from one to three years. During that time, he or she will receive regular briefings from a University academic to ensure the effective transfer of knowledge and expertise. Impact is clearly demonstrated throughout the lifecycle of the project and after completion.

In this way, KTPs enhance both the organisation’s performance and the University’s teaching and research activities.

The cost of a KTP is split between the organisation and a central Government funding contribution.

What are the benefits of a KTP?

The organisation has access to the expertise and support to address a business critical issue in a cost effective manner.

KTPs can make a real impact, applying research expertise to real problems faced by organisations. They can also feed into research and teaching materials across the University, and their outcomes can form the basis of case studies which count towards the REF. The KTP experience also provides excellent support material for research grant applications.

The KTP also provides an income stream for your department or school, buying half a day per week of your time, and some of the project budget covers travel and consumable costs.

Most academics who participate in a KTP say it’s the non-financial benefits that make the project so worthwhile. Not least of these is the research material which occurs naturally from the partnership. On average, each KTP Associate project produces 3.6 new research projects and two research papers.

So KTPs can make a real impact, applying research expertise to real problems faced by organisations. It can also feed into research, teaching materials and case studies, which also count towards the Research Excellence Framework. The KTP experience also provides excellent support material for research grant applications.

So, how does a KTP differ from Research Council funding?

The KTP scheme has been around for 40 years starting life as the Teaching Company Scheme, so it has a well-established framework. Nationally, the KTP Programme has an 85% success rate and you can apply for KTP funding at any time.

The project is supported throughout by the Business Development team – from application to final report.

How much funding would my partner organisation get?

That depends on the size of the organisation and the length of project, but the KTP team will cost the project and provide the partner organisation with an accurate contribution figure. Typically, the government contribution ranges from 40% to 67%.

What level of commitment will actually be required of me on a KTP project?

Initially, you will need to work closely with the KTP team and your partner organisation to develop the grant application. If successful, you will be involved in the recruitment of a graduate – the KTP Associate – for the project and supervise them for the duration of the project which equates to half a day per week, structured to suit the project.