The Background
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a UK-wide programme helping businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership serves to meet a core strategic need and to identify innovative solutions to help that business grow. KTP often delivers significant increased profitability for business partners as a direct result of the partnership through improved quality and operations, increased sales and access to new markets. Social enterprises see improved results, too.

There are three principle players within a partnership:

  • Company partner - this is usually a company (including not-for-profit) but in some cases it can be a health or education organisation or Local Authority. KTP supports a broad cross-section of UK firms, regardless of size
  • Knowledge-base partner - this is a higher education institution (e.g. university ), college or research organisation (public or privately funded)
  • KTP Associates – Each partnership employs one or more high calibre Associates (recently qualified people), transferring the knowledge the company is seeking into the business via a strategic project

Rationale for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
Effective innovation (the successful commercial exploitation of new ideas) involves knowledge, technology, skills and adaptability to implement it, which is not always embodied in equipment or codified in an easily transferable form.

People embody the skills and often the real know-how to effect innovative change in businesses. Knowledge developed or improved in academic institutions (knowledge base) may need extensive or intensive adaptation to particular business applications. A qualified person with a direct link to the academic source is the ideal transfer agent.


  • There are over 700 Partnerships running at any one time and over 800 Associate projects
  • For every £1m of government spend the average benefits to the company amounted to an £4.25m annual increase in profit before tax, £3.25m investment in plant and machinery with 112 new jobs created and 214 company staff trained as a direct result of the project
  • For the knowledge base partner (higher education institution mainly), on average, each KTP Associate project produces 3.6 new research projects and 2 research papers
  • For the Associate 60% are offered and accept a post in their host company on completion of their KTP project. 41% register for a higher degree and 67% of these were awarded a higher degree