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Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Copyright: iStock

Call status: Open
Application deadline: apply at any time

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) accelerate business innovation by supporting knowledge exchange with academic institutions. KTP operates through an open call which includes the entirety of BBSRC's remit.

As part of a UK-wide programme, these partnerships serve as a mechanism to transfer knowledge and to develop graduate and postgraduate personnel for industrial careers.

BBSRC co-funds the Innovate UK KTPs which supports UK businesses wanting to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance by accessing the knowledge and expertise available within UK universities and colleges.

We will support KTPs in the biosciences (excluding clinically focused projects) that address company needs and fall within at least one of our priority areas highlighted in our Strategic Plan (see related links). Relevant businesses are likely to include the agricultural, food, chemical, healthcare, pharmaceutical, industrial biotechnology and bioenergy sectors. Partnerships should demonstrate follow-on from, or connectivity to, BBSRC-funded research.

The scheme enables BBSRC to ensure the widest benefit to society and the economy both within and beyond the UK through the successful application of the outcomes of the excellent research it funds. We wish to support KTP projects embedding knowledge and ideas generated by the high quality research it previously supported, into relevant businesses to enable their growth and to ensure the UK society achieves maximum benefit.

To search for active or completed KTPs as well as those that are in the pipeline (‘recently approved partnerships’ and ‘recently supported expressions of interest’) please access the Innovate UK website (see external links). We do not currently support Shorter KTPs.

How to apply

Contact your local KTP Adviser or office or call: 0300 321 4357/0300 321 4357 or email

Benefits for companies:

  • Access to technology of strategic importance
  • Increase sales, reduce costs, increase profitability
  • Utilise skills and expertise in the academic science base.

Benefits for academic partners:

  • Experience of working on real industrial problems
  • Ongoing collaborations with industry
  • Stimulating and fruitful relationship with industry, recognised in the RAE assessment of university research
  • Financial support for release of staff involved in the project.

Benefits for graduates/postgraduates:

  • High profile position within the company and competitive salary
  • Comprehensive training in management and technical skills
  • Enhanced career prospects.

Case study

A three year BBSRC-supported Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between the University of Liverpool's Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease and supermarket Tesco Plc has resulted in the development of a novel rearing strategy and improvement of the health, welfare and long-term productivity of dairy calves.

Copyright: Sarah Parry, University of Liverpool

In collaboration with partnering researchers at the University of Liverpool, KTP Associate Gemma Curtis compared the performance of Holstein dairy calves reared conventionally with restricted access to milk to those granted free access. The benefits of free access to milk-feeding were immediately clear: calves reared in line with the new strategy gained weight quickly, whilst those reared in the conventional way failed to grow during the first two weeks of life.

"The results of this KTP have the potential to have a huge impact on dairy farming," says Curtis. "The research illustrates that allowing unrestricted access to milk replacer from birth means cows can be put in calf more quickly, so they will be productive earlier and produce more milk than those reared in the conventional way."

"The KTP project has helped us understand an area which has previously seen little research and in-depth focus," says Tesco's Graham Wilkinson, Agriculture manager, Dairy Category. "It has enabled us to attribute the potential changes to financial performance which will be a key driver in delivering change throughout the supply-base."

The KTP was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (75%) and the Technology Strategy Board (25%).

Related calls: collaboration industry innovation knowledge exchange partnerships