Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2023 to 2024 Round 3

Key Features

UK registered academic institutions, RTOs or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £9 million to fund innovation projects with businesses or not for profits.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Share of up to £9 million

Opens: 23rd May 2023

Closes: 5th Jul 2023

! This scheme is now closed


The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) programme allows a UK registered business or not for profit organisation, (which we will refer to collectively as the ‘business partner’ from now on) to partner with a ‘knowledge base partner’ (either a UK higher education (HE) or further education (FE) institution, research and technology organisation (RTO) or Catapult).

The KTP partnership brings new skills and the latest academic thinking into the business partner to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project. The knowledge base partner recruits the ‘associate’ to work on the project. The associate has the opportunity to lead a strategic development within the business developing new skills and gaining valuable experience.

Guidance on how to apply for a KTP is available.

Each application must be led by a knowledge base, working with a business partner and supported by a knowledge transfer adviser.

If you are a business and do not yet have a relationship with a knowledge base partner, the knowledge transfer adviser can help you to identify one.


Your application must be for a specific, strategic innovation project that tackles one or more challenges faced by the business partner.

It can be any kind of project and must show:

  • why the business needs this KTP
  • what new knowledge is required by the business
  • what new capabilities will be embedded as a result of the KTP


Each KTP is a partnership between the following:

  • a UK knowledge base, acting as lead organisation and submitting the application
  • a UK registered business, not for profit organisation or eligible public sector organisation

We use the term ‘business partner’ for businesses, public sector organisations, not for profit organisations charities or charitable businesses.

The definition KTP uses for not for profit organisations charities or charitable business include:

  • a registered charity
  • a registered Community Interest Company
  • a registered Charitable Incorporated Organisation
  • a charitable company
  • an exempt or excepted charity
  • a registered charitable industrial and provident society or charitable Cooperative (Bencom)

A “charitable business” refers to an organisation which is both a registered company (normally a private company limited by guarantee) and a registered charity (all charities with an income over £5,000 p.a. being required to register with the Charity Commission)

Public sector organisations can only apply for a Management KTP. The definition KTP uses for eligible public sector organisations is:

  • non-departmental public bodies and arm’s length bodies (ALBs)
  • the NHS
  • local authorities, bodies owned and controlled by local authorities
  • government owned companies, nationalised industries, most trading funds and regulators

The following public sector organisations are specifically excluded:

  • UKRI organisations and businesses owned or operated either wholly or partially by UKRI or one of its councils
  • Advanced research and invention agency (ARIA)
  • central government departments and the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  • any organisation eligible to become a KTP knowledge base

Under current restrictions, this competition will not fund any procurement, commercial, business development or supply chain activity with any Russian and Belarusian entity as lead, partner or subcontractor. This includes any goods or services originating from a Russian and Belarusian source.

Knowledge base partner

The knowledge base partner cannot work alone.

The knowledge base partner must lead the project and must:

  • be a UK registered higher education (HE) or further education (FE) institution, Research Technology Organisation (RTO) or Catapult
  • be registered as a knowledge base with the KTP programme
  • invite one UK registered business, not for profit organisation or eligible public sector organisation into the Innovation Funding Service application
  • invite one knowledge transfer adviser to support the application
  • not have ownership of 50% or more of the business partner or a controlling interest via a shareholder agreement
  • recruit associate roles in a demonstrably open and fair manner
  • allow associates to participate in the typical working patterns of the business for the majority of the project, unless working virtually, this should take place at the business partner’s premises
  • agree to provide at least half a day per week of academic support for the associate
  • complete the application form in partnership with the business
  • make sure the application is completed and submitted with the agreement of a knowledge transfer adviser before the competition closes
  • submit a current full economic costing (fEC) letter with each application if you are using the full fEC costing model and support the project in accordance with its provision
  • provide the project secretariat
  • reach an intellectual property (IP) agreement with the business partner before the project commences
  • agree to attend specified meetings at a location identified by the business partner
  • ensure that none of the proposed academic team are directors, consultants or otherwise engaged by the business or group

As part of their involvement in the project the knowledge base partner must provide a case study to Innovate UK using the template provided, upon completion of the project.

Publications are linked to the no subsidy status of this competition. It is therefore essential that knowledge base partners publish a minimum of 2 academic papers for each completed project or create at least 2 industry focused publications per project, publicly sharing project outcomes.

Your business partner must be invited into the Innovation Funding Service by the knowledge base partner to collaborate on a project. When the business partner accepts their invitation, they will need to:

  • login or create an account
  • enter estimates of their own project costs, which may be updated as part of the final reporting process

Business partner

Business partners cannot work alone. They must develop the project with a UK knowledge base who can provide the right skills to meet the knowledge gap within the business. We encourage business partners to approach Innovate UK KTN or knowledge bases to discuss the suitability of KTP for their specific circumstances.

To collaborate with a knowledge base, the business partner must:

  • be a UK registered business, not for profit organisation or eligible public sector organisation
  • have 2 or more full time equivalent employees
  • determine the size of their business or group
  • declare the total number of employees within the business and if part of a group of businesses, within the group
  • complete the application form in partnership with the knowledge base partner
  • provide evidence of their ability to financially support their contribution
  • host the associate and provide them with day to day supervisory support
  • host monthly supervisor, Local management Committee (LMC) and other mandatory meetings at their own expense
  • provide evidence that demonstrates their ability to financially support the exploitation of the project
  • reach a written IP agreement with the knowledge base before the project commences

The business partner must provide financial accounts from the current financial year and the previous two years. Other supporting documentation may be required. For businesses less than 3 years old, the knowledge base or Knowledge Transfer Adviser will give further guidance.

The size, location and type of your business determines the proportion of eligible costs we will fund. If the business is part of a group, it is the overall size of the group should be declared.

Please refer to the company accounts guidance or speak to your accountant, to help determine the overall size of your business or group.

The KTP programme is accessible to any UK registered business. This is normally demonstrated on a public register, such as on Companies House.

The registered name and registration number provided must match the official public register.

UK subsidiary businesses of overseas parent companies are eligible, provided they are individually registered in the UK.

The knowledge base partner and the business partner must sign a joint commitment statement. The business partner’s registered name must be used for both the application and the joint commitment statement.

You must deliver an exploitation plan during your project. By completing all sections of the application form you will have completed your initial exploitation plan.


Subcontractors are not allowed in this competition.

No Subsidy

This competition provides funding that is not classed by Innovate UK as a subsidy. You should still seek independent legal advice on what this means for you, before applying.

‘No subsidy’ status is only granted to organisations which declare that they will not use the funding:

  • in any way which gives them selective economic or commercial advantage
  • in any way which would determine the funding as a subsidy as defined by the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (

It is the responsibility of the lead organisation to make sure all collaborators in the project remain compliant with these requirements.

It is important to note that it is the activity that an organisation is engaged in as part of the project and not its intentions, that define whether any support provided could be considered a subsidy.


Innovate UK will not fund:

  • projects that are not strategic for the business partner
  • projects that do not demonstrate a genuine market opportunity or viable route to market
  • research projects
  • projects where the business partner is an ineligible public sector organisation
  • projects which are classed as State aid under EC regulations or a subsidy under the EU-UK TCA
  • undertakings which gain a selective economic or commercial advantage from the funding

Funding Costs

Find out about the cost of participating in KTP and understand which project costs are eligible for funding.

Any funding is provided on a no subsidy basis. This means you must publish or make all project outputs openly available on a non-selective basis. If you decide to commercially exploit project outputs, you can only do so with no selective advantage.

Contribution from Innovate UK

Innovate UK has allocated up to £9 million in this round of the KTP programme, which will contribute towards the total costs of the individual projects. The number of public sector management KTPs is limited to a maximum of 10 applications per competition round.

The grant contribution to your project may be funded wholly or in part by one or more of the KTP financial supporters. You must choose at least one of the following financial supporters:

  • UKRI KTP (Innovate UK)
  • Invest Northern Ireland
  • Scottish Funding Council
  • Welsh Government
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

The delivery of the KTP programme is supported by the UKRI Research Councils. If their involvement could be beneficial to your project, this must be indicated in the application.

Eligible costs depend on a number of factors, including:

  • the duration of the project
  • where the project will be located
  • the size of the business or group
  • if your business operates virtually

For full details on what costs you can claim, see the KTP project costs guidance.

Successful applications are partially funded on the following basis:

  • large companies and eligible public sector organisations may receive a grant contribution of up to 50% of eligible project costs, with the business paying the balance
  • SME’s may receive a grant contribution up to 67% of eligible project costs, with the business paying the balance
  • not for profit organisations charities or charitable business may receive a grant contribution of up to 75% of eligible project costs, with the charity or charitable business paying the balance
  • as virtual businesses have no geographical location they may only receive a grant contribution of 50% or 67% depending upon the size of the business and must support additional costs as outlined in the KTP project costs guidance

Contribution from the business partner

In the application the business partner must describe and agree to provide funding towards project delivery. The amount depends on the:

  • total eligible project costs
  • duration of the project
  • registered location of the business
  • location of the project
  • size of the business or group
  • type of business

Additionally, the business partner must fund:

  • items listed in the additional costs section of the application form
  • the time spent on the project by their own staff
  • other non-eligible costs such as the purchase of capital equipment
  • commercialisation of the project outputs

Application rules

All applicants should read and understand the following:

  • Innovate UK General Guidance
  • KTP guidance
  • cost guidance for KTP
  • all competition details
  • Terms and Conditions

If you have any questions regarding the rules of this competition, you should contact your knowledge transfer adviser, prior to submission. By submitting your application you acknowledge that you are entering a competitive process and that you will abide by the outcome of the competition.

Number of applications

Each knowledge base can collaborate with any number of business partners.

Each business partner (including separate businesses within a business group) can only take part in up to 4 concurrent KTP funded projects.

Additional applications may be allowed at the discretion of the programme manager.

Previous applications

You cannot use a previously submitted application to apply for this competition.

We will not award you funding if you have previously failed to:

  • exploit other Innovate UK or UKRI funded projects
  • comply with the grant terms and conditions of any Innovate UK or UKRI funded projects

Knowledge Transfer Advisers

Applications must be supported by an Innovate UK appointed Knowledge Transfer Adviser (KTA) who will be informed of your application. It will be withdrawn from the competition if they have not given their support.

The adviser will provide the knowledge base and business with guidance throughout the application process. To support all projects equitably, the adviser may set a timetable for the knowledge base and business during the development of an application. Should the timetable or the guidance offered not be followed, the adviser may choose not to support an application.

Interested in applying for this competition?

Book an appointment to speak to one of our advisors to discuss your eligibility to apply for this Grant Funding opportunity.