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Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)

KTP is a collaborative project between the University, a business and a suitably qualified graduate or post-graduate, known as the KTP Associate.

A KTP enables a business to access knowledge, technology or skills within the University in order to resolve a strategically important business or technical issue; while allowing academics to test, apply and translate their research into industry, creating real-world impact.


KTP is a UK Government scheme funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency. It has co-funding from other UKRI research councils such as BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC and others, as well as a financial contribution from the business partner.

KTP exists to solve a strategically important challenge for a UK-based business of any size (including virtual companies). Third sector organisations and pre-revenue companies (R&D stage) are also eligible.

A KTP project should be between 12-36 months; the national average is 24-28 months. There must be an expectation that the project will increase the business’s profitability, productivity, competitiveness, market share, or other measurable outputs.

For not-for-profit organisations, socio-economic and other impacts must be anticipated. The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) are a key delivery partner of the KTP scheme.

The KTP Associate is based at the business premises for the majority of their time. Depending on the project’s needs, the KTP Associate can also spend time at the University to access specialised facilities and expertise.

Each project’s designated academic team (comprising a Lead Academic and Academic Supervisor) supervises the KTP Associate and provides regular input to the project. This ensures knowledge is transferred to, and embedded in, the organisation. The academic team’s overall time commitment is 10% FTE which equates to 0.5 days per week.

A KTP project is:

  • strategic – the project is strategically important to the business
  • innovative  – the solution is not available ‘off the shelf’ or through consultancy
  • impactful – successful completion of the project will bring a step-change to the company’s capability and processes leading to increased profits, efficiencies, productivity, access to new markets and/or greater market share. For Third sector and not-for-profit organisations, there must be demonstrable socio-economic impact
  • challenging – sufficiently challenging for the academic team and KTP associate

Management KTP (MKTPs)

Management KTPs (MKTPs) are aimed at addressing a company’s management capability to enhance overall productivity.

Ideally, MKTPs should be led by Leeds University Business School (LUBS) or other centres / institutes with significant management experience. Other schools can be co-investigators in MKTP projects.

They are unique in that they are underpinned by management theory and focus largely on implementation of change in management practice and leadership.

MKTPs support strategic management projects across core activities such as:

  • motivation & communication
  • organisational change
  • resource planning & strategic thinking
  • coaching & mentoring
  • problem solving & decision making

Academic benefits

For academics, the application of knowledge and research in an industrial context enables an improved understanding of industrial requirements and operations and can foster a lasting relationship with industry.

Nationally, the KTP scheme has an 80% success rate for applications. The University of Leeds has a longstanding track record of success, having submitted and supported over 100 projects.

Typical project outputs include publication of journal papers and impact case studies for the Research Excellence Framework (REF), Knowledge Exchange Framework (KEF), as well as informing teaching and research. AKTP can lead to Masters or postgraduate student projects which can run alongside the KTP or after it has completed.

KTP can enable access to vital data and samples from industry, which may otherwise be inaccessible within an academic environment, and offer a strategic long-term relationship with industry.

On average, 70% of KTP Associates are retained by the business partners and 80% of the companies go on to undertake further collaborative projects with the University.

Having been involved in several KTP projects as an Academic Supervisor, it is rewarding to see we are able to help organisations to become more competitive by collaborating with academics.

Professor Chee Yew Wong, Leeds University Business School

More information is available for industry contacts considering a KTP.

KTP support at Leeds

The KTP Office, part of the Innovation and Business Development Team within RIS offers complete end-to-end project support, from initial contact with a business through to developing your proposal and submission.

Once the grant has been awarded, we offer support to recruit a KTP Associate, as well as project administration and management throughout the life of the project, and will work with partners to develop case studies.


KTP project costs are funded jointly by a government grant and the business partner in a ratio determined by the size of the business:

  • An SME (with less than 250 employees) contributes 33% of total project costs (in the region of £32,000 - £35,000 p.a.).
  • A large business (with more than 250 employees) contributes 50% of total project costs (in the region of £45,000 - £55,000 p.a.).

Factors such as the distance between the business and the University, and an increased consumables budget, may affect the total project cost.

Submission deadlines

KTP (including MKTP) deadlines are every couple of months.

Case studies

We have worked successfully with more than 100 businesses of all sizes locally and nationally. Recent successful projects include:

  • ASDA – using ASDA’s customer insight data to apply its research to identify, investigate and implement ways of helping customers to reduce their food waste.
  • Sandvik Coromant helping a tooling manufacturer make their products more reliable through the use of computational fluid dynamics.
  • SouthernsBroadstock  using our expertise to help a furniture, fixtures and equipment supplier capture the value of their data to drive their business forward.
  • Austin Hayes – understanding optimal paint curing conditions for subsea and offshore applications in the oil and gas industry.

Contact us

Please contact us at if you would like further information about any aspect of KTPs or to discuss a potential project.