What does a university gain from a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?

What does a university gain from a Knowledge Transfer Partnership?

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships bring immense benefits to the universities, higher education and research institutions that participate in them – a quick trawl through a range of university websites flags up how many of them already appreciate this.

"Over the last two decades the Technology Strategy Board, the lead organisation which manages the initiative, has been involved with 100+ academic institutions on a range of projects and activities."

Over the last two decades the Technology Strategy Board, the lead organisation which manages the initiative, has been involved with 100+ academic institutions on a range of projects and activities. So what do they consist of and what are the benefits for both the institution and the individuals themselves?

To recap, a KTP is a relationship formed between a company and an academic institution to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, technology and skills to which the company partner currently has no access. Each partnership employs one or more recently qualified people (known as an Associate) to work in a company on a project of strategic importance to the business, whilst also being supervised by the Knowledge Base Partner1.

The academic institution, staff and individual Associate(s) all stand to benefit from a KTP.

For the academic organisation concerned, a KTP can deliver a wide range of benefits, including the development of new, strategic business relationships, new revenue streams, the identification of commercially-relevant research themes and projects, and new Intellectual Property with commercial potential to mention just a few.

It can also significantly enhance the reputation of both the individual department involved and the institution as a whole. The prospect of enhanced job prospects and employment opportunities on offer for graduates now plays an increasingly key role in the ability of institutions to attract increased interest and uptake from potential undergraduates. In an increasingly competitive academic marketplace, a KTP undoubtedly delivers considerable added value in all these areas.

For Associates, in addition to the opportunity to work on demanding, real-life business challenges, a significant proportion are subsequently offered and accept employment by the host company on project completion.

Recently qualified people benefit from:

  • A competitive salary
  • Fully funded professional management training
  • The opportunity to make an impact on a business from day one
  • 70%+ are offered employment by the host company

It is also generally accepted that two years as a KTP Associate is broadly equivalent to 3-5 years on a general manager training programme business. For some graduates, the KTP role can also have the potential to provide higher education in the form of PhD and Masters Qualifications at a cost which is in effect discounted.

For the teaching staff, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships offer significant potential benefits, including opportunities to:

  • Apply knowledge and expertise to important business problems
  • Develop business-relevant teaching and research materials
  • Identify new research themes and undergraduate and postgraduate projects
  • Publish high quality research papers
  • Gain a relevant and improved understanding of business requirements and operations
  • Lead rewarding collaborations with innovative businesses
  • Supervise and act as mentors for postgraduates working on company-based projects (430)

Applications for Knowledge Transfer Partnership can be made at almost any time throughout the year from businesses of any size, sector and geographical location within the UK, seeking to access expertise from any academic discipline. For each graduate engaged for two years on a Programme, the total available project funding is in the region of £60,000 pa in most cases.

To sum up, as one of the longest standing schemes available to academics for industry collaboration, the quality and reputation of KTP mean it is widely seen as the 'gold standard' in knowledge exchange. KTPs provide a real opportunity to encourage and enhance business relevant research and teaching undertaken by the knowledge base, together with providing business-based training for graduates in order to enhance their commercial and specialist skills.

1. The knowledge base comprises all UK Universities and Colleges of Further Education, public sector research establishments (PSREs) and private sector not-for-profit research and technology organisations (RTOs).

Are you involved in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership? How has your experience been? Join in with our KTP month and share your stories with us online, tweet us @NCUBtweets using the hashtag #KTPMonth.

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