Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) are a unique three-way collaboration, linking forward thinking businesses with the UK’s leading research institutions to deliver innovative projects, led by a skilled and inquisitive graduate, known as a KTP Associate. 

Part-funded by Innovate UK, KTPs are available to UK registered businesses and charities looking to solve a strategic business challenge. Projects are designed collaboratively to address your specific needs and challenges by transferring knowledge and expertise from within the university and embedding it into your organisation. 

Here at the University of Nottingham we’ve delivered over 200 KTP projects, securing more than £13.5 million in government funding to help businesses unlock their potential.

Our Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Nottingham has been a gamechanger, revolutionising our approach to construction cost prediction with cutting-edge AI and data analytics. 

James Garner
Head of Data, Insights and Analytics, Gleeds


How it works

KTPs are a dynamic three-way collaboration between: 

  • A UK registered business or charity
  • An academic or research base i.e. the University of Nottingham
  • A qualified graduate, with the capability to lead a strategic business project, known as a KTP Associate

Projects last between 12 months and 3 years.

Funded by Innovate UK, grants vary depending on size and type of business:

  • Large businesses receive 50% of the project cost
  • SMEs receive 67% of the project cost 
  • Charities receive 75% of the project cost

Skip to the FAQs below for more details.

 What are the benefits to your business? 

  • Gain access to world-leading expertise from the university to help expand your capabilities and drive innovative ideas and solutions. 
  • Attract and retain a high-calibre graduate. During your project, the graduate will be based at your business, delivering your project with full support, supervision and backing from the university.
  • Generate a significant increase in profitability.
  • Boost productivity through improved operations.
  • Increase revenue through access to new markets and new product development.
  • Develop a long-term, strategic relationship with the university.

You’ll be supported throughout the project by our expert KTP team, plus one of Innovate UK Business Connect’s Knowledge Transfer Advisers.  

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Improve management practices through
Management KTPs

Management KTPs are very similar to a standard KTP but with a focus on driving effectiveness and productivity through improved management practices. They aim to enable transformational improvement by identifying key, strategic management-based initiatives to increase business effectiveness. This can be achieved by partnering with academics from a Business School and/or a multidisciplinary academic team according to your aims and needs.

Management KTPs take a wide view, incorporating a range of leadership and management skills and requirements to build a strategy that drives change and improves business performance. Spanning all key business functions – from marketing to IT; creativity to strategic management; HR to employment relations; finance to logistics – Management KTPs seek to support strategic management projects across core activities including:

  • Monitoring and target setting
  • Communication and motivation
  • Organisation, resource planning and strategic thinking
  • Problem-solving and decision-making
  • Commercial awareness and risk management
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Options evaluations, horizon scanning and foresighting


How much does it cost?

KTPs are part-funded by an attractive government grant. For small and medium-sized enterprises the grant rate is 67% of the project cost; for large companies 50%; and for charity organisations the grant rate is 75%.  

Project costs are variable, but the typical budget for a two-year programme with a single Associate is approximately £220,000 made up as follows:  

  • Associate employment costs (salary plus NI and pension) £110,000  
  • Associate supervision, support, and overheads £96,000  
  • Associate development, travel and subsistence, consumables etc. £14,000  

An independent business with fewer than 250 employees will contribute 33% of the project costs approximately £34,000 – £37,000 p.a. Large businesses, or businesses that are ultimately owned by a large organisation or group, contribute 50% of the costs, approximately £52,000 –£55,000 p.a. Third-sector organisations and charities contribute 25% of the costs, approximately £25,000 – £28,000 p.a. This is a cash contribution and will be subject to VAT. 
The grant is awarded to the university to administer, therefore a KTP does not count as state-aid and the business contribution towards the KTP may be eligible for R&D tax credit. 

What are the financial arrangements?

As the budget holder for the KTP, the university will administer the finances and grant claims. The university’s KTP Team will invoice the business to request the business’s contribution to the budget. The invoicing arrangements will be agreed up-front prior to the start of the KTP (normally in equal amounts each quarter in arrears). Any equipment bought from the KTP budget usually remains the property of the university at the end of the KTP, however this can be negotiated towards the end of the project.

How to apply

KTP proposals are submitted as an online grant application through Innovate UK open competitions, there are five deadlines each year. The proposal is jointly written by the business and university and outlines the project objectives and deliverables. 

The partnership receives support and guidance throughout the application process from the university’s KTP Team and an Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Adviser. This support enables a very high success rate. The process takes an average of three to four months from first contact to the awarding of a grant.  

How long does a KTP last?

Projects can run from 12 months to three years, depending on the time required to transfer the knowledge and deliver the outputs; the average project duration is two years.

Can we have more than one KTP?

A business may have up to four projects running at the same time, however the business will need to demonstrate how the proposed projects differ from each other.

How is the partnership managed?

To ensure that the knowledge is transferred, objectives delivered, and benefits maximised for each party, the KTP is monitored by a Local Management Committee (LMC). The LMC is made up of all the key project members; senior business representative, business and academic supervisors and the KTP Adviser. Although not a formal member of the LMC, the Associate attends and reports on project progress. The LMC meets quarterly throughout the KTP and many of the key decisions on the project are made at the LMC meetings. 

In addition to the LMC meetings, monthly three-way project meetings are held between the Associate, business, and academic supervisors, to review progress against planned objectives and agree short-term targets. 

How is the Associate recruited?

The Associate will be recruited on the open market, facilitated by the university’s HR Team. The recruitment process is agreed between the business and the university. Interviews usually take place at the business premises and the decision on who to appoint is taken jointly. The recruitment process normally takes no longer than six months from the date of the grant offer.


Ready to start your KTP journey? 

We’ll talk you through the process, and help develop your proposal to give you the best chance of securing funding.

Contact our KTP team: