From education to employment

Benefit from a business-academic partnership: apply for funding

UK businesses can get a grant to work with a university or research organisation and highly-qualified graduate on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

A researcher looks through a microscope via Likoper at Shutterstock
A Knowledge Transfer Partnership can help translate academic thinking into commercial products and services.

Up to £40 million is available this financial year for businesses to collaborate with an academic or research organisation and a graduate on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

Translate the latest research into commercial success

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships offer funding and support for a UK business to bring a graduate into their organisation and work on an innovation project.

The idea is that it will enable the business to translate academic thinking into commercial products and services, leading to growth and future development.

Projects can focus on any technology or industry area and last between 1 and 3 years. Businesses should have a specific project in mind when applying.

If a business already has a relationship with a university, college or research and technology organisation, they can choose to work with them. Alternatively, they can contact a Knowledge Transfer Adviser to find a partner and get advice, including support with their application.

Applications should:

  • outlines who the participants are
  • set out the objectives of the project
  • explain what the project is proposing to do
  • set deliverables for the graduate

Specialist machinery manufacturer, Cygnet Texkimp and the University of Manchester previously took part in a 2-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

Their project brought in PhD graduate and composites academic, Dr Yan Liu, who helped to develop the world’s first 3D winder for carbon fibre. This machine is able to create complex and curved composite parts for use in next generation, lightweight, fuel-efficient cars and aeroplanes.

This success saw Yan offered a permanent role with Cygnet Texkimp.

Programme information

  • applications for Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are open throughout the year
  • the deadline for applications for this round is 31 October 2018. If an application misses a deadline it will automatically be entered into the next round
  • projects can last between 1 and 3 years
  • any size business or not-for-profit organisation may apply. This will affect the amount of grant you can get and your contribution. Typically:
    • small and medium-sized enterprises contribute around £35,000 per year, or about one-third of the project costs
    • large businesses contribute about £55,000 per year, or half of the project costs

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