With the publication of the KTP’s third annual summary report, it seems like a good time to remind both business and academic communities what an invaluable institution the KTP programme is – to flag up its very considerable achievements to date and to explore where it’s going in the future.

“For every £1m of government money invested in 2012-13, 44 new jobs were created, 366 staff were trained”

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme grew out of a Science and Engineering Research Council initiative which kicked off back in the 1970s. The Teaching Company Scheme was set up in 1975 and originally focussed at engineering projects – interesting to reflect that as long as 37 years ago there was an awareness that effective collaboration between business and academia was a key route to really capitalise on the UK’s talent base.

Since that time the scheme has evolved into the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships – broadening its remit to include disciplines such as the arts, the media and social environment means it now covers most UK business sectors.

And for an objective assessment of how the KTP has performed – the figures speak for themselves.

From a handful of partnerships in 1976, the growth of TCS/Knowledge Transfer Partnerships to over 800 today highlights the value that UK businesses of all sizes place on participation through their commitment and financial investment.

“The KTP programme doesn’t stand still – the commercially-focussed initiative functions in a fast-moving environment and knows it needs to stay flexible”

Taking advantage of the expertise available throughout the UK knowledge base of education and research institutions has undoubtedly provided British firms with fantastic opportunities to break into new technologies, new markets, new processes and production methodologies.

Just to give a snapshot, in 2012-13 KTP supported UK business by drawing on the expertise of 98 higher education institutions across nearly 350 departments. As a result of this KTP investment, UK businesses stand to benefit by:

  • Rise in anticipated annual profits of £178m
  • Employment of over 1,100 new staff
  • Increases of £138m in annual exports
  • Investments of £71m in plant and machinery / research and development.

For every £1m of government money invested in 2012-13, 44 new jobs were created, 366 staff were trained, £1.6m was invested in plant and machinery, and £1.18m was invested in R&D. The one-off increase in profit before tax achieved during the course of KTP projects increased to £780k from £480k last year, while the anticipated annual increase in profit after project completion increased to £6.95m from £4.79m in 2011/12.

In summary, during 2012-13, nearly £82m was committed to new KTP partnerships in the shape of grant support and company contributions. And the KTP programme continues to evolve – KTP themed competitions, originally launched in late 2011-12, continued apace in 2012-13, with three competitions opened in the year and a fourth announced for opening in April 2013.

So where next for the KTP?

The KTP programme doesn’t stand still – the commercially-focussed initiative functions in a fast-moving environment and knows it needs to stay flexible, adapt and keep pace with continuing change to reflect developments in the wider world.

The interface the KTP programme provides between the UK Knowledge Base and businesses that want to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills is a key enabler for effective innovation and the successful commercial exploitation of new ideas.

Current indications show that the KTP programme will achieve its current target of 800 classic projects of 12 months duration or longer. It will also continue to play an active role in supporting and encouraging ongoing relationships beyond project completion between a company and their knowledge base partner. In 2013-14, 84% of partnerships completing a final report confirmed they had plans for further collaboration as an outcome of their KTP – up from 78% the previous year.

KTP is funded by the Technology Strategy Board and 12 other funding organisations. The Technology Strategy Board has every intention of maintaining the KTP programme as the leading knowledge transfer programme in Europe and placing it at the heart of UK business-led innovation.

Dr Clive Hayter, Head of Smart, KTP & Vouchers joined the Technology Strategy Board in March 2014 as Head of Smart, KTP and Innovation Vouchers and has overall responsibility for these responsive programmes. For more info on Dr Clive Hayter click here. 

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.