News story

Collaborate to innovate: funding for business-academic projects

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships can make a business more competitive by uniting them with a university or research organisation and a qualified graduate.

Two technicians work together on a drone via goodluz at Shutterstock

Partnership programme promotes competitiveness and productivity in a business.

This financial year, up to £40 million is available for businesses to take part in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

The programme promotes competitiveness and productivity by bringing new knowledge and skills into businesses that are looking to innovate and do things differently.

As announced in the Budget 2018, the programme will also be expanded over the next 5 years with £25 million in additional investment, creating places for more than 200 extra graduates and academics within the UK’s most innovative businesses.

Applying new thinking and know-how

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships offer businesses an opportunity to explore new ideas and approaches by bringing in a graduate.

It can help them turn academic insight into viable products and services, leading to growth and further development.

Businesses can start a new collaboration with a university, college or research and technology organisation, working with a Knowledge Transfer Adviser to set this up, or build on an existing relationship.

Applications must:

  • relate to a specific project
  • clearly explain the nature and goals of the intended partnership
  • include details of the organisations that will take part
  • set out what the graduate will be expected to deliver

Success through partnerships

Businesses currently engaged in Knowledge Transfer Partnerships include the ExtraCare Charitable Trust, which operates retirement communities across the midlands and north of England.

Through a partnership with Aston University, the trust has developed a new resilience app for advisors to use with residents. They can monitor progress, identify those at risk of becoming frail and improve wellbeing and independence.

ExtraCare also has a second Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of the West of England. This will explore smart technologies for assisted living, such as how robots and intelligent sensor systems can aid mobility.

Programme information

  • applications for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are open throughout the year
  • the deadline for applications is 6 February 2019. If an application misses a deadline it will automatically be entered into the next round
  • projects can last between 1 and 3 years
  • businesses and not-for-profit organisations of any size can apply
  • the size of the grant and own contribution will vary. Typically:
    • small and medium-sized enterprises contribute around £35,000 per year, or about one-third of the project costs
    • large businesses contribute about £55,000 per year, or half of the project costs
Published 13 December 2018