Scotland celebrated 40 years of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at a special innovation showcase event held in Glasgow.
There are upwards of 100 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) running at any one time in Scotland, and the showcase heard from individuals and businesses that had benefited from partnerships as well as from representatives of the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council, Innovate UK and the universities.
KTP is Europe’s leading knowledge transfer programme. It helps businesses to match up with universities and recent graduates that can help improve productivity and performance through better use of new technology and skills.
Highland Colour Coaters, of Cumbernauld, took part in a KTP with Glasgow Caledonian University to investigate a solution to a phenomenon known as ‘pinholing’ that was leaving mini craters in the coatings it provides for metal surfaces.
Gordon Bulloch, director of Highland Colour Coaters, said:
Pulling in all the improvements we made throughout the KTP has led us to be a lot more efficient both in use of materials and use of manning. It has meant us cutting back on our rework, which helps with our bottom line. It has made us more competitive.
£64 million invested in business projects
There have been 822 KTPs involving Scottish companies or organisations over the last 30 years, representing 979 different projects and awards of more than £64 million.
Around three-quarters of the partnerships have involved small, medium and micro companies. Larger household names involved have included Diageo, First ScotRail, IBM, Motorola, Scottish Hydro and William Grant & Sons Distillers.
Scottish universities have been involved in 872 KTPs over the last 30 years, representing 1,047 projects and awards of almost £68 million.
The biggest participants include the University of Strathclyde, Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Aberdeen, Glasgow Caledonian University, The Robert Gordon University, Edinburgh University, the University of the West of Scotland and Heriot-Watt University.
Scotland punches above its weight
The Scottish Funding Council is putting £1.5 million into KTPs each year and they are typically co-funded equally with Innovate UK. Scotland punches above its weight in KTP with 11% of UK partnerships involving Scottish businesses or organisations and 12% involving Scottish universities.
It was estimated that in 2013-2014 government investment in KTP across the UK had led to:
- a £211 million increase in business profits
- 450 new jobs
- a £207 million rise in annual exports
- investment of £95 million in plant and machinery and research and development
A new video on KTP in Scotland was premiered at the showcase event. It features testimonials from business people, associates and academics that have taken part in the programme.