Key Sector and Knowledge Transfer Manager for the Growth Hub and the University of Northampton, Charlotte Patrick, explains how academic partnerships can fuel growth and innovation in the private sector.
What are Knowledge Transfer Partnerships?
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) are essentially about creating a triangular partnership between a company, an academic (a lecturer, doctor or professor) and a recent graduate. The idea behind them is that by working together, everyone benefits and it allows companies to scale-up and grow to the next level.
Typically, the graduate is employed by the university but situated at the company involved. The academic provides industry knowledge and training to the graduate, the graduate uses that knowledge to help the business innovate and grow, and the university benefits because it helps them develop new challenges and ideas to their activity and teaching.
The costs for an SME is around £25,000 per year, which is a third of the actual cost, so they’re getting a pretty good deal as Innovate UK provide the remainder. As part of the KTP, alongside the benefits of having a full time graduate based within their company to focus on the project, there is also support that equates to half a day of the academic’s time each week, that they then spend on the project.
Often, the graduate stays with the company at the end of the KTP and ends up quite high in their succession planning. KTPs have been in action for over 40-years now, and that’s down to how successful they have been.
The government is putting more funding into KTPs, because they can see how good they are for the individuals involved and the fact you can demonstrate how it benefits a company’s bottom line in real terms.
Making it work for you
Key to the success of KTPs is picking the right graduate for the project – we will be working with this individual for up to three years. The way the interview works is that I’d be there as a neutral body, along with the academic supervisor and the company supervisor. All of our views are weighted the same, so we all have to agree (it took us an hour and a half to deliberate over the last two candidates!).
Once we have met with the company and the academic to talk through the project and make sure it’s the right fit for all (and benefit for all) we fill in a short form and meet with the regional KTP advisor. They talk us through the project and we then submit our application via an online form to Innovate UK – 80% of applications are successful.
Any company large or small can apply for a KTP – although there are different levels of contributions. KTP’s can last from anything from one to three years and are designed to upscale a business to the next level – so if you have an idea that we can help you progress, contact us!
Are you interested in applying for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership? Email us at IN@northamptonshiregrowthhub.co.uk.