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Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2022 to 2023 Round 3

Project Size:
Share of up to £9million

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme allows a UK registered business or not for profit organisation (which we will refer to collectively as the ‘business partner’ from now on) to partner with a knowledge base partner’ (either a UK higher education (HE) or further education (FE) institution, research and technology organisation (RTO) or Catapult).

The KTP partnership brings new skills and the latest academic thinking into the business partner to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project. The knowledge base partner recruits the ‘associate’ to work on the project. The associate has the opportunity to lead a strategic development within the business developing new skills and gaining valuable experience.

Each application must be led by a knowledge base, working with a business partner and supported by a knowledge transfer adviser.

If you are a business and do not yet have a relationship with a knowledge base partner, the knowledge transfer adviser can help you to identify one.

Typically, a project’s total costs are no more than £75,000 per year. A proportion of the knowledge base partners costs will be funded by Innovate UK. The remainder of the project costs are paid by the business partner.


Each KTP is a partnership between the following:

  • a UK knowledge base, acting as lead organisation and submitting the application
  • a UK registered business or not for profit organisation

We use the term ‘business partner’ for both businesses and not for profit organisations.

The definition KTP uses for ‘not for profit organisation’ includes social enterprises and charities.

KTP does not support projects where the business partner is in the public sector.

Knowledge base partner

The knowledge base partner cannot work alone.

The knowledge base partner must lead the project and must:

  • be a UK-registered higher education (HE) or further education (FE) institution, Research Technology Organisation (RTO) or Catapult
  • be registered as a knowledge base with the KTP programme
  • invite one UK registered business or not for profit organisation of any size into the Innovation Funding Service application
  • invite one knowledge transfer adviser to support the application
  • not have ownership of 50% or more of the business partner or a controlling interest via a shareholder agreement
  • recruit associate roles in a demonstrably open and fair manner
  • allow associates to participate in the typical working patterns of the business for the majority of the project, unless working virtually, this should take place at the business partner’s premises
  • agree to provide at least half a day per week of academic support for the associate
  • complete the application form in partnership with the business
  • make sure the application is completed and submitted with the agreement of a knowledge transfer adviser before the competition closes
  • submit a current full economic costing (fEC) letter with each application if you are using the full fEC costing model and support the project in accordance with its provision
  • provide the project secretariat
  • reach an IP agreement with the business partner before the project commences
  • agree to attend specified meetings at a location identified by the business partner
  • ensure that none of the proposed academic team are directors, consultants or otherwise engaged by the business or group

As part of their involvement in the project the knowledge base partner must provide a case study to Innovate UK using the template provided, upon completion of the project.

Academic knowledge base partners must also seek to publish a minimum of 2 academic papers for publication per completed project.

Catapults must create at least 2 industry focused publications per project.

Your business partner must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the knowledge base partner to collaborate on a project. When the business partner accepts their invitation, they will need to:

  • login or create an account
  • enter estimates of their own project costs, which may be updated as part of the final reporting process

Business partner

Business partners cannot work alone. They must develop the project with a UK knowledge base who can provide the right skills to meet the knowledge gap within the business. We encourage business partners to approach Innovate UK KTN or knowledge bases to discuss the suitability of KTP for their specific circumstances.

To collaborate with the knowledge base, the business partner must:

  • be a UK registered business or a not for profit organisation of any size
  • have 2 or more full time equivalent employees
  • determine the size of their business or group
  • complete the application form in partnership with the knowledge base partner
  • provide evidence of their ability to financially support their contribution
  • host the associate and provide them with day to day supervisory support
  • host monthly supervisor, Local management Committee (LMC) and other mandatory meetings at their own expense
  • provide evidence that demonstrates their ability to financially support the exploitation of the project
  • reach a written intellectual property (IP) agreement with the knowledge base before the project commences

The business partner must provide financial accounts from the current financial year and the previous two years. Other supporting documentation may be required. For businesses less than 3 years old, the knowledge base or Knowledge Transfer Adviser will give further guidance.

The size of your business determines the proportion of eligible costs we will fund. If the business is part of a group, it is the overall size of the group should be declared.

Please refer to the company accounts guidance or speak to your accountant, to help determine the overall size of your business or group.

The KTP programme is accessible to any UK registered business. This is normally demonstrated on a public register, such as on Companies House.

The registered name and registration number provided must match the official public register.

UK subsidiary businesses of overseas parent companies are eligible, provided they are individually registered in the UK.

The knowledge base partner and the business partner must sign a joint commitment statement. The business partner’s registered name must be used for both the application and the joint commitment statement.

You must deliver an exploitation plan during your project. By completing all sections of the application form you will have completed your initial exploitation plan.

Subcontractors are not allowed in this competition.

Your application must be for a specific, strategic innovation project that tackles one or more challenges faced by the business partner.

It can be any kind of project and must show:

  • how it helps the business with a real need
  • how it fits the strategic aims of the business partner
  • a genuine market opportunity and a viable route to market
  • how the knowledge gained will be embedded within the business partner
  • what makes your project innovative

Projects that will not be funded are:

  • projects that are not strategic for the business partner
  • projects that do not demonstrate a genuine market opportunity or viable route to market
  • research projects
  • projects where the business partner is in the public sector
  • projects which are classed as State aid under EC regulations or a subsidy under the EU-UK TCA
  • undertakings which gain a selective economic or commercial advantage from the funding
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