Knowledge Transfer Partnership – generating business growth


The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme is a cost-effective way to grow your business by tapping into the wealth of expertise and know-how available in local academic institutions. It also gives you a highly qualified person to spearhead the new project.

It is a three-way partnership between a business, a university or college and a qualified graduate delivering a project lasting about two years. Over 600 companies have already benefited from the scheme since it was first established.


These collaborations can improve your company's competitiveness, productivity and profitability and the scheme will cover up to two-thirds of the costs.

A KTP gives your business access to:

  • Graduate skills
  • The wide research and technical base in third level institutions
  • A channel for commercialising research
  • The know-how to add value through new product development and new types of service delivery

Northern Ireland out-performs other regions in the UK in terms of delivery of KTP projects with over 50 live partnerships each year. Queen’s University Belfast is the top knowledge base in the UK with 30 live partnerships. Ulster University is currently placed joint sixth with 17 live partnerships.

One such company is Bullivant Tarranto, an SME which designs and manufactures reinforced and pre-stress concrete. They began a KTP project in 2010 with the aim of reducing the energy costs and environmental impact of pre-stressed concrete. Not only did the project exceed their aims to develop low energy concretes, but it has also led to the company expanding into new markets. As a result the company has increased its turnover and profit, and expanded its customer base. The project won Best Overall UK KTP project in the national Innovate UK KTP Awards 2013, and was one of only four companies nominated for the UK Parliamentary Innovation Awards 2016 in the “Innovation Leading to New Markets” category.

Another company which has benefitted from KTP is Seating Matters Ltd, who are manufacturers of specialist chairs for adults and children with disabilities. The KTP commenced in 2011 and aimed to research the effectiveness of Seating Matters’ chairs in positively impacting people in nursing and care environments. Through the KTP Seating Matters has gained an invaluable amount of clinical research and evidence into the effectiveness of its products. This has enhanced the company’s credibility with a larger audience and led to increased sales and exports and demand for their products.


Interested in taking part in a KTP? Firstly, read here for more details and if you think this is right for your business, contact us to discuss your project. You can contact

  • A regional KTP adviser
  • A university or college KTP office
  • Call our helpline on 0800 181 4422 or submit an enquiry

There were 23 KTP projects supported with Northern Ireland companies in 2015-16 with grants totalling £1.7 million mainly in the manufacturing sector. These projects were jointly funded by Invest NI and Innovate UK.

The process is straightforward. Once your project is agreed, a university academic will be assigned to co-supervise it. They will be able to access the university’s materials and human resources that can be useful to your project.

A high calibre graduate will be recruited to work full time on the project in your business. If you are a graduate who is interested in taking part in a KTP project,click here for details of the current vacancies.