Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

A graphic of business people and cogs representing the collaborative nature of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

Helping businesses to access the University's pioneering research 

Innovation is the lifeblood of any business. But how do you access the kind of expertise to make it happen? Knowledge Transfer Partnerships could be the answer. They create a dynamic three-way collaboration between:

  • A business or not for profit organisation
  • The University
  • A suitably qualified graduate.

Working together this partnership powers strategic innovation projects, embeds expertise and drives commercial growth. The partnership is mutually beneficial, designed to result in lasting and transformative performance enhancements for the business; enriched applications of knowledge and research for the University; and an employment opportunity in a highly fulfilling role for the graduate.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are funded by a grant to the University from Innovate UK and other government co-funders, and a cash contribution from the business involved. 

Roger White and Tony Fella

Atkins Global

“The KTP scheme has been extremely useful in providing a facility whereby the work undertaken in the University of Birmingham can be applied into Atkins business plan. This will provide significant benefit to Atkins as a business and to the efficiency of the UK and international rail industry.”

Find out more about the benefits for each partner in a KTP in the sections below or take a look at some of our case studies. Additional information about the KTP programme is also available on the dedicated Knowledge Transfer Partnership website (external link)

KTP for Business

Help your business to grow with subsidised access to the University's knowledge

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships provide an opportunity to forge a long-term, strategic relationship with the University. For between one and three years your company will play host to a recent graduate (normally Master's or PhD level), who will work on a discrete project designed to meet the business needs of the company. Benefits to businesses typically include:

  • New knowledge and expanded capability as a result of embedded expertise
  • Competitive advantage through accelerated innovation, new product development and the possibility of creating Intellectual Property
  • Privileged and cost-effective access to fresh thinking, deep research knowledge, and leading edge technology and equipment
  • Increased revenue and profits, through efficiency gains, improved processes and access to new markets

Businesses of all sizes can participate in KTP and projects can involve any academic field. They are funded by Innovate UK, along with a number of other public bodies, and the host company. The contribution that the company is asked to make varies depending on its size; SMEs can expect to pay less than a large corporate partner would. 

The University of Birmingham's KTP Office can help with the development of your KTP application at every stage. We can suggest the right academic to partner with, comment on application documents, and provide HR and post-award support for the duration of the project.

KTP for Academics

Turn your impact into Impact

With the growing importance of demonstrating the non-academic application of publicly-funded research, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) provide a proven pathway for using research to create real-world change. Outcomes and outputs from KTP can be referred to in future research evaluation exercises.

Yet KTP is not just about achieving impact. Named academics involved in projects will spend 10% of their time (approx. half a day per week) with the partner company. New research generated can form the basis of publications and conference presentations, with partner companies providing access to equipment and resources that would otherwise be unavailable.

Dr Tim Overton

Dr Tim Overton

Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering

“KTP has enabled me to develop my understanding of industrial needs and working practices. It is a great method of delivering impact and increasing my research and collaborative profile; I feel far more knowledgeable about what industry needs and how I can translate my basic research into industrially-applicable ideas.”

The University of Birmingham's KTP Office can advise on all aspects of developing your proposal. Working closely with the University's Business Club and Business Engagement teams, we can help to find and facilitate interactions with potential company partners for your idea. We're on hand to help draft your application to Innovate UK, the sponsors of the scheme. And once the project has been awarded we're here to support you in the supervision of your project, from recruitment through to project management.

KTP for Graduates

Create your own graduate scheme

KTP provides graduates with the opportunity to gain industrial experience while keeping one foot in academia. Along with a competitive salary and £2,000 per year for personal development, graduates employed on KTP projects (known as KTP Associates) have a reputation for being some of the most exciting young business minds in the country.

For between one and three years, KTP Associates work on a discrete co-led research project that is designed to be both innovative and challenging. You might be applying a proven technique to a new field, or helping to embed cutting-edge technology within a commercial setting. KTP Associates are often ambitious, creative and looking to effect real change throughout their host company. The benefits for graduates participating in a KTP project typically include:

  • A fulfilling employment opportunity where graduates can apply their knowledge to realise a key strategic innovation
  • Gaining experience of managing a challenging real-world project
  • The chance to implement strategic development within an innovative company
  • An opportunity to gain further professional qualifications
  • Dedicated coaching, mentoring and personal development; opportunity to gain management qualification/training.

Dr Kieran Khamis

KTP Associate, RS Hydro Ltd

“The structure helps with the collaboration, because it keeps you all talking and keeps everyone on the same page, but then there's flexibility for you to put your own mark on the project. It's not just about the project, it's about your development as a scientist or as someone in a business environment.”

KTP is a national scheme, and current opportunities can be found by visiting the KTP Portal. Opportunities at the University of Birmingham are advertised both nationally and via the University's jobs website.

Management KTPs

Management KTPs (MKTPs) operate in the same way as KTPs but with the focus specifically on management-based projects to increase business effectiveness and productivity. MKTPs embrace a broad approach that can incorporate a range of leadership and management skills with the requirement 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 - MKTPs 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


African Agritech KTP

Innovate UK have allocated £5M to support up to 20 AAKTP projects and the initial competition, Round 1A, opens on 6 February 2023 and closes on 22 March 2023.

Each project should have a duration of no more than 24 months and a maximum budget of £250K split 50/50 between the UK University and the African University i.e, £125K each as part of a three stakeholder AAKTP partnership including an African business. 

These AAKTP projects are 100% funded with an in–kind only business contribution with the business hosting the AAKTP project and the AAKTP Associate. The AAKTP Associate, like the business, will reside in Africa.

The focus is specifically on only four countries in Africa and those are Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa. The AAKTP scope is detailed below.

Your project can focus on one or more of the following:

  • Integrating smallholders into global and local supply chains
  • Increasing the value of production to smallholders
  • Control of crop pests, weeds, and diseases
  • Meeting quality standards and improving productivity
  • Reducing food losses ‘post-farm gate’ and through the value chain
  • Addressing food safety issues through the value chain
  • New food technologies and data-driven food systems, including for urban areas
  • Addressing challenges in downstream food processing, distribution, or storage and value addition
  • Innovation that supports food systems to deliver nutritious, healthy, and safe food

Businesses or academics interested in discussing a possible collaboration and application, please contact Kate Jermey, KTP Manager

Application Deadlines

For 2023/24 shedule Innovate UK will be running standard KTPs but also African Agriculture projects.

  • 25 January 2023
  • 22 March 2023 
  • 17 May 2023
  • 5 July 2023
  • 6 September 2023
  • 1 November 2023
  • 13 December 2023
  • 7 February 2024

African Agritech KTP deadlines

For projects with partners in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

  • 22 March 2023
  • 6 September 2023

Contact the KTP Office

Contact a member of our team to discuss your Knowledge Transfer Partnership proposal:

Kate Jermey (KTP development)
+44 (0)121 414 5070
Twitter: @KatieJatWork

Ben Dobson (KTP post-award and support)
+44 (0)121 414 9545