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 What is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?
A relationship formed between a company and an academic institution ('Knowledge Base' partner), which facilitates the transfer of knowledge, technology and skills to which the company partner currently has no access. Each partnership employs one or more recently qualified people (known as an Associate) to work in a company on a project of strategic importance to the business, whilst also being supervised by the Knowledge Base Partner.

Projects vary in length between 6 and 36 months. The Associates are either postgraduate researchers, university graduates, or individuals qualified to at least NVQ (Level 4) or equivalent.

 What are the aims of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships?


  • Facilitate the transfer of knowledge through projects undertaken by high calibre, recently qualified people under joint supervision from a company and an academic institution
  • Provide company-based training for recently qualified people to enhance their business and specialist skills
  • Stimulate and enhance business-relevant training and research undertaken by the academic institutions
  • Increase the interaction between businesses and academic institutions, and awareness of the contribution academia can make to business development and growth


 What are the benefits of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships?
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships can help enhance career prospects by providing the opportunity to manage a challenging project central to a company's strategic development and long-term growth.

According to figures, recently qualified people benefit from:

  • A competitive salary
  • A fully funded professional management qualification
  • The opportunity to make an impact on a business from day-one
  • 75% are offered employment by host company

Benefits to company partners
Business performance outputs vary from case to case, given the rich variety of the projects. According to Knowledge Transfer Partnership figures, 52% of companies who completed a final report had an increase in the overall value of the business whilst 62% had an increase in sales.

Latest Knowledge Transfer Partnership information shows that the business benefits that can be expected are, on average:

  • An increase in annual profit of over £290k
  • 8 genuine new jobs created
  • Investment in plant and machinery of over £220k
  • Commercial benefits from application of IP~24%

Companies benefit from:

  • Opportunities to develop competitive advantage by linking with academia
  • The high calibre of graduates accessible through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
  • Transfer of knowledge/expertise
  • Embedding of innovation culture

Benefits to academic institutions
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships provide academic institutions with the potential to:

  • Apply knowledge and expertise to important business problems
  • Develop business-relevant teaching and research materials
  • Identify new research themes and undergraduate and postgraduate projects
  • Publish high quality research papers
  • Gain a relevant and improved understanding of business requirements and operations
  • Potentially impact the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)
  • Lead rewarding collaborations with innovative businesses
  • Assist strategic change in businesses
  • Supervise and act as mentors for postgraduates working on company-based projects


 How long has Knowledge Transfer Partnerships been running?
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships was launched in 1975 as Teaching Companies Scheme (TCS). In 2003 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships replaced TCS and, since 2007, the programme has been managed by the Technology Strategy Board.


 Who funds Knowledge Transfer Partnerships?
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is currently funded by fifteen Government organisations led by the Technology Strategy Board. Each Partnership is part-funded by Government with the balance of the costs coming from the company partner.

In 2005/06 the grant support to new partnerships across the UK was over £36.5m with over £54m from participating companies.


 When can I apply for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?
At almost any time throughout the year. The Partnerships Approvals Group meets approximately every eight weeks.

Your Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Adviser must be satisfied that your proposals meet the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships criteria before a submission is made.


 How many Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are there and where are they?
There are currently 800 Partnerships across the whole of the UK.

 Who are the company partners?

  • Stable UK-based companies of all sizes from all industrial sectors
  • Charities and not-for-profit organisations
  • Education institutions (LEAs and schools)
  • Health organisations (hospitals and NHS Trusts)


The Knowledge Base

 Who does the Knowledge Base currently consist of?

  • Higher Education Institutions
  • Further Education Institutions (teaching NVQ Level 4 or equivalent)
  • Research and Technology Organisations
  • Public Sector Research Institutes

 What is in it for the Knowledge Base?

  • Income
  • Higher degree registrations
  • Graduate career opportunities
  • IP - negotiated with the company
  • Strategic relationship with company
  • Published papers
  • Teaching materials, case studies and projects
  • New research themes - commercial relevance
  • Staff development - commercial awareness


Research Organisations

 What is in it for Research Organisations?
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships can help Research and Technology Organisations and Research Institutes to:

  • Extend their services to business customers
  • Enhance their levels of industrially relevant research
  • Develop their own staff

A Government grant, plus the contribution from the company partner, fully covers a Research Organisation's costs of participating in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership; the grant also includes a significant contribution to overhead costs.

For each graduate (known as a Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Associate) engaged for two years on a Programme, no matter what the size of the company, the total funding available is in the region of £60,000 pa in most cases.

Funding & Costs

 How are partnerships funded?
Each Knowledge Transfer Partnership is part funded by a Government grant to the Knowledge Base Partner. This contributes to the costs that the Knowledge Base Partner incurs through participating in that particular Knowledge Transfer Partnership, whilst the balance of the costs directly attributable to a Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Associate's Project is borne by the company partner.


 What does the grant for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership and the company's contribution pay for?
The largest part of the costs of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership is the employment costs of one or more Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Associates and the cost of staff from the Knowledge Base Partner who are directly involved in the Partnership. The remainder includes provision for equipment and travel costs, the Knowledge Base Partner's indirect and administrative costs and costs associated with the personal and professional development of the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Associate(s).


 How is the amount of a grant calculated?
The amount of a grant to the Knowledge Base Partner and, therefore, the amount the company has to pay, is determined almost entirely by the number of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Associates to be employed, the length of their project, whether the company is, or is part of, a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise and, in some cases, e.g. in London, the location of the Company Partner and/or the Knowledge Base Partner, and whether the company has collaborated on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership in recent years.

The financial arrangements for any potential Knowledge Transfer Partnership should be discussed with a Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Adviser.


 How much should a company expect to contribute?
The budget for any individual Knowledge Transfer Partnership, and a company's contribution to it, depends on the details of the specific Partnership. However, annual company contributions per KTP Associate employed could be at around the following levels for a first Knowledge Transfer Partnership:

  • Contribution by an SME company, that is one with fewer than 250 employees* can expect to contribute a third of the project costs
  • Contribution by a large company or group, i.e. with more than 250 employees* or a company that does not qualify as an SME, would be around a half of the project costs
  • Currently, average annual project costs are around £60,000

* Where a company is part of a group, the company size is determined by the number of employees in the group as a whole. There are also balance sheet and turnover criteria.


 What other costs are involved for companies?
Companies will need to cover the full overhead costs of their own participation in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. These include management and supervisory effort, additional materials, capital equipment and accommodation. They are also expected to contribute to the cost of equipment purchased specifically for the use of a KTP Associate during their project work above the contribution provided for in the grant. Companies should also be prepared to enhance the salaries of Associates to reflect pay levels in their organisation, business sector and location. Companies are invoiced by their Knowledge Base Partners, normally quarterly.

Eligibility & Opportunities

 What types of companies are eligible for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?
Companies and organisations from a broad range of industrial and commercial sectors are eligible to participate. Searching current partnerships on the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships website provides a good idea of the types of companies and organisations currently engaged on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.


 Why should I become an Associate?
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships can help Associates enhance their career prospects by providing them with opportunity to manage a challenging project central to a company's strategic development and long-term growth.

 How often do vacancies appear?
The Partnership Approvals Group meets approximately every six weeks and therefore vacancies for Associates change on an almost daily basis. The types of projects that are available vary enormously. It is strongly recommended that you bookmark the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Home Page and view it on a regular basis. There are currently over 800 Partnerships and this is growing all the time.

How do Partnerships advertise vacancies?
Partnerships use a variety of methods to attract the right Associate.

  • Advertise on the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships website. You can view current vacancies on the KTP website. If you are interested in a particular Knowledge Transfer Partnership you should contact the partners directly. You may also wish to view recently approved partnerships also available on the website. It is likely that these partners will be recruiting in the near future unless the vacancy has already been filled (it will be listed as 'No Vacancy' if this is the case)
  • Receive details of suitable individuals from the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships database. You may post your details by submitting a 'profile', which can be viewed by partners that are currently recruiting for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. To do this click on 'register' on the left hand side of the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Home Page and complete your details. Select 'interested in becoming a Knowledge Transfer Partnerships Associate' from the drop down menu. You will receive an email confirmation and you can then log in to the site and post your profile for recruiters
  • Advertise locally, nationally or in journals such as 'Prospects Today', trade journals or using on-line vacancy sites such as Monster.co.uk


 Are there opportunities to undertake further training and development?
A key feature of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is that every Associate should spend at least 10% of their time on other training and personal development opportunities. The Knowledge Base partner will consider offering the opportunity to obtain a higher qualification.