Services for Business

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Unlocking the power of innovation

A little innovation can go a very long way. It can help you stay ahead of the competition. Start using better materials. Launch new products and services. It can help you develop more efficient ways of working. Upskill your workforce. But where will you find the right specialists to help you innovate? That's where Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) comes in, providing the links to the expertise you need to grow your business and gain a competitive edge.

Connecting you to innovation

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership scheme (KTP) is a leading programme funded by Innovate UK focused on commercialisation of innovation. A KTP will help your company succeed by connecting you to University of Leicester’s academic resources. It is a three-way partnership between:

  1. Your company seeking expertise to develop an innovation-based product, service or process.
  2. Our University providing the knowledge and expertise and
  3. A qualified graduate - known as an Associate – delivering and transferring the knowledge and expertise onto your company.

Transforming your business

To succeed, your project needs to be strategic and have the potential to transform your business. Your academic partner, the University, will provide the expertise and knowledge required to deliver the project. If your application is successful, an Associate will work to help bring your plans to life. The Associate will work on your site to embed the expertise of the academic team and bring their own skills to deliver a project which could mean anything from introducing new products to changing the company's direction.

Funding your project

Your project can last between one and three years.  Project costs typically are around £90,000 to £100,000 a year.  The grant recipient is the university and a financial contribution from the company is required.  Funding will cover project costs up to:

  • 67% if you are a small or medium-sized business, i.e. a contribution of circa £30,000 per year from the company
  • 50% if you are a large business
  • 75% if you are a charity

What our partners say

"Since the beginning of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership, our relationship with the University of Leicester has gone from strength to strength and we continue to take advantage of the specialist knowledge, R&D and operational practices to inform the work we are doing." Jim Willis, MD, Bulb Studios

"We have found the KTP programme to be one of the most effective ways of working with universities. It provides us with a high calibre individual and also a strong support network from the University. The University of Leicester’s research had provided us with a good foundation and methodology for scheduling our processes." Steve Lowes, Technical Team Manager, Plate Production at Alcoa, Europe

Your journey starts here

If you want to grow your business through collaboration and innovation, KTP is the programme that has the power you need to get ahead of the competition. To find out more about how KTP can ignite innovation in your business, contact:

Knowledge Transfer Team

Information for academics

Established in 1975, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) are one of the world’s leading knowledge transfer mechanisms, which provides academics with the unique opportunity to apply their research to real world business projects. 

KTP works with over 100 universities across the UK, which translates into over 450 university departments. That includes all Research Excellence Framework (REF) rated departments, covering a wide range of academic disciplines – including engineering, computer sciences, physics and mathematics, biology, biotechnology, management, social sciences and the arts. 

KTP enables academics to participate in rewarding and ongoing collaborations with innovative companies that require up-to-date research-based expertise to succeed. 

Through KTP, academics can apply their unique knowledge and expertise to businesses, identify new research themes and student projects as well as developing industry relevant teaching and research.. 

Benefits of participating in KTP

  • Generate new research income
  • Deliver impactful, real-world benefits from your research
  • Identify new research themes and teaching material
  • Opportunity to publish unique high-quality research outputs (on average nationally, each KTP resulted in 1 published paper in a refereed journal, 3 new initiated research projects and 1 additional article)
  • Creation of realistic case-study material for both teaching and Undergraduate/Postgraduate projects
  • Demonstrable personal contribution to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise. 
  • Initiating rewarding, long-term relationships with innovative businesses
  • Enhances the research profile of the academic, department and university through demonstration of research novelty and excellence and significant media coverage
  • Accelerate the career of collaborating researchers
  • Enabling staff development through increased commercial awareness and industrial experience

How much of your time will be spent on KTP? 

For most KTPs, academics should expect to commit half a day per week to the project, mainly at the premises of the business partner. This commitment is important to build and maintain relationships with the partner and an understanding of the project environment. KTPs are delivered on a full economic cost basis meaning that the 10% time commitment is 100% funded, including overheads.

How does it work? 

A KTP is a three-way project lasting between 6 months and 3 years between an academic, a company and a recent graduate (known as the associate). The associate is employed by the University of Leicester on a full-time basis and deployed to work within the company to ensure that the required knowledge is transferred and embedded effectively. Throughout the project, the academic remains closely involved providing mentoring support and working directly with the company to ensure project targets are achieved. 

All partners are supported for the project duration by a knowledge transfer team at the University of Leicester who provide guidance and administrative assistance on all aspects of the KTP.

For students

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is one of the UK's largest graduate recruitment programmes. KTP has worked with over 3,000 organisations from micro-sized to large businesses such as Unilever and Rolls Royce. At any one time, there are anywhere between 600-1,000 KTP projects under way, each spearheaded by a recent graduate recruited via the KTP programme. 

Given the wide range of KTP projects available, all degree subjects are considered. KTP has numerous vacancies across the UK, and recruitment takes place all year round. 

How does a KTP work? 

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a three-way project between a graduate (known as an Associate), a business and a University. A KTP can enhance your career prospects by providing you with an opportunity to manage an innovative, challenging project central to a company’s strategic development and long-term growth.

Through the KTP, you play a key role in managing and implementing strategic development activities within the company, transferring and applying knowledge between the industrial and academic partners. Associates own their project and are supported throughout by experienced staff from the business and the university.

Typical challenges you may encounter as an associate include the design and implementation of new or improved products or processes, reorganising production facilities, introducing improved quality systems and technology, and the development and operation of novel marketing strategies to enable access to new markets.

KTP project durations range from 6 months to 3 years and result in ~75% of Associates being offered employment by the host business upon completion.


  • Fast-track career development
  • Ownership of an exciting, strategic project
  • Demonstrable positive outcomes of your work
  • Competitive starting salary with potential for long-term employment
  • Real-world application of your degree specialism
  • On-the-job mentoring from industrial and research experts
  • Opportunity for additional training and development
  • Increased opportunity to register for a higher degree

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