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A crowd of graduates - photo taken from above

KTP for Graduates

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a unique 3-way collaboration involving a growth orientated business, a highly capable graduate and a university team that is established to deliver a strategic, transformational innovation project within the business.

A KTP Associate

KTP Associate is name given to the position of the graduate (or post-graduate, or post-doctorate) involved in a KTP project and who leads on the delivery the project under the supervision of the company and academic partners. The KTP Associate is often described as the lynchpin of the partnership which is typically 2-3 years in duration.

An Opportunity to Participate in an Innovative, Impactful Project

Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, sponsors and oversees the delivery of KTPs across the industrial and business landscape and projects are hugely varied in their nature and the academic disciplines they involve. Depending on the focus of the project and your graduate specialism, as a KTP Associate you could be:

  • designing and introducing new or improved products, processes or services
  • introducing new technology, re-shaping production facilities or supply-chains or,
  • developing and implementing marketing strategies to break into new markets.

Working as a KTP Associate

A KTP project will have a high profile within both the business partner organisation and the academics’ university department as they are designed to deliver significant impact for all parties not least the KTP Associate’s personal and professional development.

  • Once you’ve been appointed as a KTP Associate, you will be aided by a long established KTP support structure.
  • KTP Associates are employed by the University partner but are based at the business, and are actively guided by both a business based supervisor and a university supervisor who’s steeped in the subject matter around which your business based project is focused.
  • Your supervisors will have already put much thought and planning into the project plan you’ll be working on long before you start. This will provide you with a roadmap that enables you to hit the ground running.
  • As would be anticipated in a challenging project there can be twists and turns along the way! Your business and academic supervisors however will provide inspiration as well as guardrails to enable you to reach the finish-line.

Strong Focus on Personal and Professional Development

Working on a KTP project will be challenging as well as rewarding.    To ensure that KTP Associates are well equipped, the support offered and provided is significant. 

  • Within the first months you’ll engage in a structured training programme that’s designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge required to complete your project successfully.
    • This will involve some on-line learning and taking part in two, one-week residential training modules with other KTP Associates from all over the UK.
    • You’ll cover a range of topics that will help you to manage the project itself, manage people and improve your interpersonal skills, as well as providing a commercial context to what you are doing.
    • o These skills will not only help you with your current project but will also be invaluable in your future career.
  • Alongside the Associate training modules, Associates are provided with an annual budget of £2000 to spend on training and development activities agreed with their Supervisors, and are encouraged to use up to 10% of their time on these. So conference attendance, training courses, networking events, professional memberships etc. can all be accessed by Associates.

An Exceptional Career Launchpad

Professor James M Ritchie

Professor James M Ritchie of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh started his career as a KTP Associate with an aeronautical engineering company. Hear what he has to say about the unique career launchpad that is KTP.

Start your KTP Journey now

Find a KTP opportunity to suit your interests and aspirations via the Innovate UK KTP website that contains details of all currently advertised Associate positions.