Innovation is the beating heart of progressive, successful companies; so making it happen is key.


That’s why thousands of businesses – big and small, all around the UK – use a powerful innovation engine to effect dramatic positive change: Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs).

These are dynamic collaborations between a business and one of the UK’s world class knowledge bases (Universities, Research organisations, Catapults) and they’re all about making strategic innovation happen.

As a host of universities “go live” with a series of KTP Events all around the UK over the next few weeks, we talk to Knowledge Transfer Adviser, Sharon Perry, about what makes these partnerships so special. She’s one of a team of KTP specialists at Innovate UK KTN – a delivery partner of the programme for Innovate UK.

“All businesses recognise the constant need to innovate, whether that’s to improve their systems and processes or to design new products and services. But often they don’t have the full knowledge within their own teams to do this effectively.

“KTPs work by matching a business to a knowledge base with the right expertise for the specified business goal. A well qualified associate (a graduate or postgraduate) is employed to run the partnership project, which enables the expertise to be embedded within the business. By setting up a collaborative partnership with a research base team, businesses benefit from being able to apply deep knowledge and fresh thinking to their innovation challenges. Not only do they achieve innovation impact and a lasting culture of innovation, but there are often societal and environmental benefits too. The KTP project often concludes with the business employing the KTP associate to help them continue on their innovation journey.

“The success of these partnerships speak for themselves: the programme has been running for nearly 50 years and thousands of businesses, in all sectors of the economy, and including the third sector, have been positively transformed as a result of engaging in a KTP.

“Right now, over 800 businesses are engaged in the programme, giving them exceptional access to expertise and facilities within universities, research organisations and catapults. Alongside this, the same number of associates get the opportunity to apply their knowledge to a real world problem and elevate their career prospects. 75% of Associates are offered employment by the host business at the end of their KTP project.

“This is a busy time for KTP. Over the next few weeks, many of our knowledge base partners are running events where you can discover more about how these dynamic partnerships work, and how they could revolutionise your business. You’ll probably find a Knowledge Transfer Adviser, like me, there too. There are over 30 of us based throughout the UK and we’re here to support you at every step, from establishing whether KTP is right for your business, through to evaluating its impact.”

Find a KTP event near you here. Find out more about KTP here.

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