Knowledge transfer partnerships


Innovate with KTP

Helping businesses innovate for growth! content

Helping businesses innovate for growth!

Take your organisation to the next level with academic know-how and funding to generates positive impact and drives innovation!

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a collaborative project between:

  • Your business
  • A university – in this case, it’s the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)
  • And a suitably qualified graduate or postgraduate, known as the KTP Associate.

A KTP enables your business to access knowledge, technology, or skills within the university to resolve a strategically important business or technical issue; while allowing our academics to test, apply and translate their research into industry, creating innovative, real-world impact. They can be for almost any kind of project and have been helping businesses across the UK since 1975!

UK RI | Innovate UK | Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

North of Scotland KTP Centre Innovation through collaboration

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What are the two types of KTP? content

What are the two types of KTP?

What are the two types of KTP?

  • Classic KTPs focus on developing new or better products and services
  • Management KTPs focus on developing better businesses by enhancing processes and building management capability
How long does a KTP project last? content

How long does a KTP project last?

How long does a KTP project last?

A KTP project can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on the challenge and the needs of the business.

What will it cost? content

What will it cost?

What will it cost?

What will it cost?

A KTP is part-funded by a grant. A typical KTP project delivers a package of support with an average value of £100,000 per year. This includes the costs of:

  • The academic team
  • Project consumables
  • The associate’s salary
  • Mentoring, training, and development
  • Travel and subsistence
  • Associate support costs

The proportion of the costs covered by KTP varies according to several factors including the size and nature of the business or group you choose to work with. Typically, the grant rates are:

  • 75% of project costs for not-for-profit businesses of any size
  • 67% of project costs for micro, small and medium-sized businesses
  • 50% of project costs for large businesses and public sector organisations

Your business will need to fund the remaining cost of the project but may be able to use research and development tax relief to recoup some of these costs. To access research and development tax relief, you will need to speak with your accountant or seek other professional advice.

The size of your business is determined by several factors, which will be discussed in detail if you make an application, including:

  • Number of employees
  • Turnover
  • Location
  • If your business is part of group of businesses
  • Evidence of charitable status (where applicable)
  • Evidence of public sector status (where applicable)
Who can take part? content

Who can take part?

Who can take part?

Each KTP is a partnership between:

  • A UK-based business of any size. This includes not-for-profit organisations such as social enterprises, charities and some public sector organisations. Within KTP these partners are always referred to as ‘the business’
  • A registered knowledge base. This could be a university, college, research and technology organisation or Catapult in the UK

A suitably qualified graduate, with the capability to lead a strategic business project

KTP for businesses content

KTP for businesses

KTP for businesses

Taking part in a KTP can benefit your business by helping solve a specific challenge you are facing. You can get access to academic expertise and resources that you don’t have in-house.

Working with your academic partner you will improve your business processes and performance, helping you to become more competitive and productive.

KTP for the public sector content

KTP for the public sector

KTP for the public sector

Some public sector organisations are eligible to apply for a management KTP. This will help public sector organisations work with experts from your chosen knowledge base to improve systems, processes, and management capabilities.

The following UK-based public sector bodies may apply for a management KTP:

  • Non-departmental public bodies and arm’s length bodies (ALBs)
  • NHS organisations
  • Local authorities, bodies owned and controlled by local authorities
  • Government-owned companies, nationalised industries, most trading funds, regulators

Bodies not eligible for KTP funding include:

  • All councils, organisations and businesses owned or operated either wholly or partially by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) or one of its councils
  • Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA)
  • Central government departments and the devolved administrations
KTP for knowledge bases (universities) content

KTP for knowledge bases (universities)

KTP for knowledge bases (universities)

Knowledge base partners who take part in a KTP create on average more than three new research projects and two research papers for each project.

Most knowledge bases (including UHI) have a dedicated KTP office. These offices work with the business and academic partners who intend to collaborate together to scope out the project. They can also help with the application to Innovate UK. Contact the North of Scotland KTP Centre for more information on the support available to partnership teams.

UHI academics should contact their nearest knowledge transfer adviser for more information about the process: Susie Ranford (North Scotland)

Academic benefits of taking part in a KTP include:

  • Building rewarding and long-lasting relationships with external partners
  • Lead research with real world impact
  • Identify new research themes
  • Produce high quality publications
  • Build on collaborative skills
  • Enrich teaching material
  • Contribute to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) Impact Case Studies

Find out more about KTPs at UHI.

KTP for graduates (KTP Associates) content

KTP for graduates (KTP Associates)

KTP for graduates (KTP Associates)

KTP is one of the UK’s largest graduate recruitment programmes. There are over 300 job opportunities each year for graduates (known as ‘associates’) to lead KTP projects. Successful completion of a KTP project often leads to a permanent job.

Every associate is given a dedicated training and development budget to support:

  • Developmental training specifically required for the project
  • Training to help all-round development of the associate

KTP roles are advertised by the knowledge base and successful applicants will have an employment contract with them, but you will primarily be based at the business for the duration of the project, embedded into the company team. As most KTPs are full time roles, it can be difficult to juggle the demands of completing a course or submitting a thesis, so these need to be completed before the likely start date of a KTP graduate role.

You can find more information and opportunities at:

Starting your application content

Starting your application

Starting your application

Each application must be led by a knowledge base, working with a business.

If you already have a partnership with knowledge base or know who you would like to work with on a KTP, you should develop your application with that organisation’s KTP office.

If you’re interested in taking part in a KTP but don’t already have a knowledge base partner, you should contact Innovate UK – Business Connect. They will:

  • Check the feasibility of your idea and tell you if it is suitable
  • Help you contact knowledge bases that can assist you in developing a KTP application

Submitting an application

Developing a KTP application takes time and requires the partnership to work closely together. Once complete the application will be submitted on behalf of the partnership by the North of Scotland KTP Centre.

All applications are supported by a knowledge transfer adviser appointed by Innovate UK. The adviser will work closely with the North of Scotland KTP Centre to provide the knowledge base and business with guidance throughout the application process. To support all projects equitably, the adviser may set milestones during the development of the application.

What happens after you apply

KTPs are competitively awarded to the best projects in each competition round.  Applications are reviewed by an expert group of assessors. You will normally be notified of the outcome within 12 weeks or less of the competition closing.

If your partnership is successful, you will then receive a formal grant offer letter.

Once the offer is accepted you can begin to recruit an associate. Recruitment should be undertaken jointly by the knowledge base and business partner. The associate’s contract of employment will be with the knowledge base.

Dates and deadlines

The KTP programme runs continuously throughout the year.

Further details on dates and deadlines.


For more information on the KTP scheme, please visit KTP North | Home or North of Scotland KTP Centre, or email 

For UHI academics who are interested in the KTP scheme, please email: