What is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?

Established in 1975, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is one of the world’s leading knowledge transfer mechanisms, which provides academics with the unique opportunity to apply research to real world business projects.

Through KTP, academics can:

  • Develop business relevant teaching and research material
  • Apply knowledge and expertise to important business problems
  • Identify new research themes and undergraduate/postgraduate projects

About KTP

A (KTP) is a three-way project between an academic, a business and a recently qualified person (known as the Associate).

KTP works with over 140 universities, further education (FE) colleges, and research and technology organisations (RTO) across the UK, which translates into over 450 university departments. That includes all Research Excellence Framework (REF) rated departments, covering a wide range of academic disciplines – including engineering, computer sciences, physics and mathematics, management, social sciences and the arts.


How does KTP work?

Part-funded by 13 Government organisations, and led by the Technology Strategy Board, KTP projects apply the world-leading knowledge and expertise of academics to business critical projects.

Each KTP project lasts between 6 months and 36 months, depending upon the time required to deliver real outcomes.

KTP enables academics to participate in rewarding and ongoing collaborations with innovative businesses that require up-to-date research-based expertise to succeed.

What are the benefits of KTP?

The benefits of KTP to academics are wide ranging. KTP provides leading academics with the opportunity to:

  • Apply knowledge and expertise to important problems facing businesses
  • Develop relevant teaching and research material
  • Identify new research themes and undergraduate and post graduate projects
  • Publish high quality journal and conference papers
  • Gain an improved understanding of business requirements and operations
  • Contribute to the (REF)
  • Participate in rewarding and ongoing collaboration with innovative businesses
  • Supervise and act as mentors for past graduates working on business based projects

How much of my time will KTP occupy?

KTP is delivered on a full economic cost basis, which means that the 10% of the academic's time is 100% funded, including overheads. Typically, academics should expect to commit half a day of their week to a KTP project, mainly at the premises of the business partner. This is important to build and maintain an understanding of the project environment and relationships with the people involved.

Opportunities for collaboration

KTP projects strengthen the relationship between the academic and the business community, providing opportunities for ongoing collaboration.

Businesses from the full range of sectors are eligible to participate in KTP, as are a range of value driven organisations, including voluntary and community groups, social enterprises, charities, co-operatives and mutuals. 66% of businesses that participate in KTP are small to medium size enterprises (SMEs) with high growth potential.

All businesses must be financially viable and committed to strategic change. A KTP is expected to deliver a step change in the businesses capability and performance.

The process

In the early stages of developing a KTP application, a dedicated, highly experienced KTP Adviser will be allocated to work in partnership with you. The role of a KTP Adviser is to facilitate the development of new Partnerships, guiding the partners through the approval process. Once a KTP project is approved, the Advisers also monitor and support progress throughout the life of the Partnership.

Advisers are key in assisting and supporting academics in helping to meet their objectives – in the short term and in the longer term.

Advisers provide guidance on the implementation of Associate training and development policy, and on the conditions governing payment of grants. Advisers also provide access to the body of KTP experience and encourage best practice in knowledge transfer.

All KTP Advisers have extensive knowledge of higher education and business.

As well as the allocated KTP Adviser, there is ,  a central team based at the Technology Strategy Board in Swindon, which includes a KTP helpline.

To find out more about how KTP could benefit you and your university department, please register your interest here.