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Sophie O'Callaghan, Enterprise and Innovation Programmes Manager (KTP)

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Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

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What is a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a collaborative project between a business and a university, which is facilitated by a high-calibre graduate. They last between one and three years and are are co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. They focus on growing business capabilities and are an excellent way to embed knowledge and access new expertise. 

The objectives of every KTP are:

  • For businesses: Facilitate the transfer of knowledge and technology and the spread of technical and business skills.
  • For academics: The opportunity to develop long-term relationships with industrial partners and enhance business relevant research and training undertaken by the knowledge base.
  • For graduates: Provide company-based training for graduates to enhance their business and specialist skills.


We partner with businesses to deliver a wide range of KTP projects, including the development of recyclable wetsuits with Finisterre; improving cashbox security using graphene technology with Spinnaker and the development of a new high-performance compact heat exchanger with Hieta Technologies.

We’ve successfully delivered more than 80 projects to date, delivering increased business profitability and wider benefits for all involved.

The University of Exeter has a dedicated KTP team who will manage the application process and support the project through to its conclusion. We have a high success rate, with 95 per cent of applications being awarded funding.

KTPs are suitable for any project where there is a clear need for input from the University in order to develop an innovative solution of clear strategic relevance to the business.

Examples of previous projects where KTPs have been successful include:

  • Developing new products or services
  • Finding innovative solutions to a manufacturing or processing challenge
  • Adopting and embedding new technologies
  • Addressing sustainability challenges
  • Developing new service models and operational capacity

This list is not exhaustive and if you have an idea that might be the basis of a suitable KTP project please contact us to discuss your specific needs.

Benefits to businesses

  • Develop innovative solutions to problems and acquire new capabilities.
  • A cost-effective way to access new expertise and recruit a highly qualified graduate.
  • Projects are part-funded by government; the typical project costs £27,000 per annum (33 per cent of total) for SMEs and £40,000 per annum (50 per cent of total) for larger businesses. 

Benefits to associates

  • Fast-track your career by leading an exciting, high-profile project.
  • A dedicated training budget, with a bespoke package of training to support career development.
  • Close mentoring and support from a range of people involved with the project. 

Benefits to academics

  • Develop strong relationships with academics and generate research income (typical two year project will generate around £160,000 of REF eligible research income).
  • Apply research to real business problems and develop impact case studies.
  • Explore new research areas and generate high-quality research papers.