Knowledge Transfer Partnership guidance - Innovate UK



You can improve your business’ competitiveness and productivity through funded partnerships with academics and researchers.

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 partner (known as the Knowledge Base) will help to develop the project, provide academic input and recruit a suitable graduate, known as an associate. They will act as the employer of the associate, who then works at the business for the majority of the project.

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

Who can take part

Each KTP is a three-way partnership between:

  • a UK-based business of any size or a not-for-profit organisation (including social enterprises and charities)
  • a knowledge base – this could be a university, college, research and technology organisation or Catapult 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 don’t have in-house. This can improve your business processes and performance, helping you to become more competitive and productive.

A KTP is part-funded by a grant. You will need to contribute to the overall cost of the project.

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 business. 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 knowledge bases

Knowledge base partners who take part in a KTP create on average more than three new research projects and two research papers for each project.

Most knowledge bases 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.

Become a KTP knowledge base

Telephone: 0300 321 4357

Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 11:30 and 14:00 to 16:30 (except bank holidays)

KTP for graduates

KTP is one of the UK’s largest graduate recruitment programmes. There are over 300 job opportunities each year for graduates (known as ‘associates’) to lead KTP projects.

Successful completion of a KTP project often leads to a permanent job.

Every associate is given a dedicated training and development budget that supports:

  • developmental training that is specifically required for the project
  • training that helps the all-round development of the associate.

Visit the KTP website to find out more about the programme.

You can find more information and opportunities at:

Get a closer look at some of the successful KTPs in the North East.

How to apply

Each application must be led by a knowledge base, working with a business.

If you already have a partnership with knowledge base or know who you would like to work with on a KTP, you should go via that organisation’s KTP office.

If you’re interested in taking part in a KTP but don’t already have a knowledge base partner, you should contact KTN. They will:

  • check the feasibility of your idea and tell you if it is suitable
  • help you contact knowledge bases that can assist you in developing a KTP application.

Submitting an application

KTP applications can only be submitted by a registered knowledge base.

A KTP application must be completed jointly by the prospective business and the knowledge base. Each application is supported by a knowledge transfer adviser appointed by Innovate UK.

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

To review projects funded by Innovate UK you can explore our transparency data.

What happens after you apply

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

If your partnership is successful you will then receive a formal grant offer letter.

Once our offer is accepted you can begin to recruit an associate. Recruitment should be undertaken jointly by the knowledge base and business partner. The associate’s contract of employment will be with the knowledge base.

Dates and deadlines

The KTP programme runs continuously throughout the year. This table contains the list of current open and close dates for all KTP competitions. Please check these dates regularly as they may change.

Round Open date Close date
KTP R5 20-21 2 November 2020 27 January 2021
KTP R1 21-22 8 February 2021 14 April 2021
KTP R2 21-22 19 April 2021 30 June 2021
KTP R3 21-22 5 July 2021 29 September 2021
KTP R4 21-22 4 October 2021 1 December 2021
KTP R5 21-22 6 December 2021 2 February 2022

All competitions are listed on the Innovation Funding Service

Last updated: 17 August 2021

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