Funding competition Knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2020 to 2021, round 4

UK registered higher or further education institutions, RTOs or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £10 million to help fund innovation projects with businesses or not-for-profit organisations.

This competition is now closed.

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Competition sections

Description

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme 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 UK higher education (HE) or further education (FE) institution, research technology organisation (RTO) or Catapult (which we will refer to as the ‘knowledge base partner’).

The partnership brings new skills and the latest academic thinking into the business partner to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project. The knowledge base partner will recruit 1 or 2 graduates (known as ‘associates’) to work on the project.

In this round Innovate UK is investing up to £10 million towards the funding of projects, with the business partners in the funded projects also contributing to the costs.

Additionally, £2 million is available for Management KTPs that focus on improving productivity within a business, with the business partners also contributing to the project costs.

Each application must be led by a knowledge base partner, working with a business partner. If you are from a knowledge base that has not yet developed a project, get started by reading the KTP guidance. If you are from a business, contact the Knowledge Transfer Network.

By applying for this competition, you are entering into a competitive process. The competition closes at 11am UK time on the deadline stated. It takes time to prepare an application. If yours will not be ready before the close date, please apply to a later round.

Visit the KTP website to find out more about the programme and the current roles available for graduates.

Funding type

Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP)

Project size

We will consider partially funding project costs of any amount if we judge the costs to be appropriate. Typically, projects cost no more than £75,000 per year. A proportion of this will be paid by the business partner.

Who can apply

This award is provided on a non-aid basis. This means the knowledge base partner must publish or make openly available, on a non-selective basis, all project outputs. If the business partner decides to commercially exploit the project outputs, it can only do so with no selective advantage.

Each KTP is a partnership between the following:

  • a knowledge base, which will be the lead organisation and submit the application
  • a UK registered business or not-for-profit organisation

Your project can last between 12 and 36 months, depending on the project requirements.

KTP does not support projects with public sector organisations.

Knowledge base partner

Each application must be created by a knowledge base partner, working with a business partner, with the help of a knowledge transfer adviser (KTA).

The knowledge base partner must lead the project and must:

  • be a UK registered higher education (HE) or further education (FE) institution, RTO or Catapult
  • invite one UK registered business of any size or not-for-profit organisation into the Innovation Funding Service
  • invite one KTA
  • not act in any way to gain selective commercial or economic advantage from the outputs of the project
  • recruit associate roles in a demonstrably open and fair manner
  • allow associates to carry out the majority of the project at the business partner’s premises
  • make sure the application is completed and submitted before the competition closes

The knowledge base partner cannot work alone.

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

Business partner

Business partners can work with a knowledge base of their choice. We encourage business partners to approach knowledge bases directly.

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

  • be a UK registered business, of any size, or a not-for-profit organisation
  • have more than 2 employees
  • demonstrate its ability to financially support its contribution to the project
  • be invited by the knowledge base partner and complete its parts of the application
  • provide a summary of their financial accounts from the past 3 years

The definition KTP uses for ‘not-for-profit organisation’ includes social enterprises and charities.

We use the term ‘business partner’ for both businesses and not-for-profit organisations.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are not allowed in this competition.

Funding

We will consider partially funding project costs of any amount if we judge the costs to be appropriate. Typically, projects cost about £75,000 per year.

Find out which project costs are eligible for funding.

Contribution from Innovate UK

Innovate UK has allocated up to £10 million in this round of the KTP programme, which will contribute towards the total costs of the individual projects.

KTP receives funding from the following:

  • Invest Northern Ireland
  • Scottish Funding Council
  • Welsh Government
  • Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • UK Research and Innovation

Your project may be funded wholly or in part by one or more of the KTP funders. You can ask to receive support from a specific funder in your application.

Typically Innovate UK and its co-funders support projects with:

Contribution from the business partner

The business partner in your application must also provide funding. The amount depends on the:

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

Additionally, the business partner must fund:

  • the time spent on the project by their own staff
  • other non-eligible costs such as the purchase of capital equipment.

Non-aid

This competition provides funding that is classed as non-aid. The business partner should seek independent legal advice on what this means for it, before applying.

Non-aid is only granted to organisations which declare that they will not use the funding:

It is important to note that it is the activity the business partner intends to perform in the project which is assessed as eligible for non-aid, and not the business as an entity.

Application rules

Multiple applications

Each knowledge base partner can collaborate on any number of applications.

Each business partner (including separate businesses with a business group) can take part in up to 4 KTP funded projects at any one time. Additional applications may be allowed at the discretion of the programme manager. You must provide justification by email to support@innovateuk.ukri.org at least 20 working days before the competition closes. We will decide whether to approve your request.

Previously submitted applications

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

We will not award you funding if you have:

  • failed to exploit a previously funded project
  • failed to comply with grant terms and conditions

Your project

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 but it must show:

  • that it helps the business with a real need
  • how it fits the strategic aims of the business partner
  • there is a genuine market opportunity and route to market
  • how the knowledge gained will be embedded within the business partner
  • the commercial impact for the business partner, and any wider impacts
  • that you have a clear understanding of what qualifications, skills, attributes and experience the associate will need

The knowledge base partner and the business partner must sign a joint commitment statement.

You must deliver an exploitation plan during your project and you will need to share your initial plan as part of your application.

Projects we will not fund

We are not funding:

  • projects which are classed as state aid
  • undertakings which gain a selective economic or commercial advantage from the funding
  • research projects
  • projects that are not strategic for the business partner
  • projects that work with public sector organisations
  • projects that do not demonstrate a genuine market opportunity

30 September 2020
Competition opens
28 October 2020 11:00am
Competition closes
7 January 2021
Funder's panel
14 January 2021
Applicants notified

Before you start

You must read the guidance for KTP applicants before you apply.

The assessors will score your overall application holistically. They will score on:

  • impact
  • challenge
  • innovation
  • cohesiveness

They will score each of these 4 areas out of 10 marks (for a maximum total of 40 marks). They will also take into account the financial viability of the overall project. You will not be funded if you have failed to meet all the eligibility rules.

What we ask you

The application is split into 3 sections:

  1. Project details.
  2. Application questions.
  3. Finances.

1. Project details

This section provides background for the assessors and is not scored.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Please complete the EDI survey and then select yes in the application question. We collect and report on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) data to address under-representation in business innovation and ensure equality, diversity and inclusion across all our activities.

The survey will ask you questions on your gender, age, ethnicity and disability status. You will always have the option to ‘prefer not to say’ if you do not feel comfortable sharing this information.

Public description

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

If your application is successful, Innovate UK will make use of this public description to comply with government requirements. Summarise the project goals. Please ensure it is suitable for public disclosure. We reserve the right to amend the description before publication if necessary, but will consult you about any changes.

Your answer can be up to 400 words long.

Scope

Describe how your project fits the scope of the competition. If your project is not in scope it will not be eligible for funding.

Your answer can be up to 1,000 words long.

Funder

Do you want to receive funding from a specific funder? Type one or more of the following as your answer:

  • Invest Northern Ireland
  • Scottish Government
  • Welsh Government
  • the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
  • the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
  • UK Research and Innovation

2. Application questions

KTAs are available to help you with your application and your project. Find out more about KTAs.

You must not name the associate in your application or include any website addresses (URLs) in your answers.

Question 1. Number of associates

How many associates do you need to support this project?

You can have up to 2.

Question 2. Where will the associates be based?

Will the associates be based at the business partner’s address provided in question 6? If not, provide the full address for each associate, including:

  • town or city
  • county
  • postcode

Question 3. Business partner type

Select from the following:

  • limited company
  • limited liability partnership (LLP)
  • not for profit
  • partnership
  • public limited company
  • sole trader
  • unlimited company

Question 4. Business partner size

Give the size of the business partner’s organisation. If the business partner is part of a group give the size of the overall group.

Select from the following:

  • micro
  • small
  • medium
  • large

We use the EU size definitions.

Question 5. Business area

What area does the business partner work in? Clearly state its revenue generating activities.

If the business partner is not yet generating revenues please provide details of their funding sources. If part of a business group, please also indicate the broader business activities undertaken by the group.

Your answer can be up to 800 words long.

Question 6. Business partner address

Provide the full registered address of the business partner including:

  • town or city
  • county
  • postcode

Question 7. Business partner SIC code

Enter the business partner’s Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code.

Question 8. Senior business employee

Provide details of the senior employee at the business partner who is committing its resources and finances to the project or projects.

Give their:

  • title
  • first name
  • surname
  • job title
  • email address
  • phone number

The individual named must:

  • demonstrate the business partner or its group’s commitment to the partnership
  • provide evidence of the authority received to commit its resources to support the delivery of the projects

Your answer can be up to 800 words long.

Question 9. Business partner supervisor

Which business partner employee will supervise the associate on each of the projects? If you are doing 2 projects you can use the same person for both of them.

Give their:

  • title
  • first name
  • surname
  • job title
  • email address
  • phone number

Question 10. Knowledge base supervisor

Which knowledge base partner employee will give the associate academic supervision on each project? If you are doing 2 projects you can use the same person for both of them.

Give their:

  • title
  • first name
  • surname
  • job title
  • email address
  • phone number

Question 11. Knowledge base supervisor’s background

For each knowledge base supervisor:

  • describe how their research interests and experience are relevant to the project
  • give evidence that they are the right person to supervise the associate

Your answer can be up to 500 words long.

Question 12. Knowledge base lead

Who will be the knowledge base lead? The knowledge base lead is the senior academic on the project.

Give their:

  • title
  • first name
  • surname
  • job title
  • email address
  • phone number

Question 13. Knowledge base lead’s background

How are the knowledge base lead’s research interests and experience relevant to the project?

Give evidence why they are the right person for the role.

Your answer can be up to 500 words long.

Question 14. Associate arrangements

How will the associate or associates be supervised?

Associate supervision is critical to the success of any partnership. We expect the majority of the project to take place at the address you have given in question 2. Each associate should be supervised by the knowledge base supervisor for at least half a day each week or one day a fortnight (excluding travelling time).

If the associate spends any time at the knowledge base, the business partner supervisor must make a similar commitment.

You must ask your KTA what level of supervision is appropriate for your partnership.

Your answer can be up to 800 words long.

Question 15. Partnership administrator

Who will be the partnership administrator? The partnership administrator is the main person we will contact at the knowledge base partner to ask questions about this application or partnership.

Give their:

  • title
  • first name
  • surname
  • organisation
  • job title
  • email address
  • phone number
  • town or city
  • county
  • postcode

Question 16. Person responsible for submitting claims

Provide details of the person responsible for submitting claims on behalf of the knowledge base partner.

Give their:

  • title
  • first name
  • surname
  • organisation
  • job title
  • email address
  • phone number

Question 17. Strategic aims

Explain how this project fits with the strategic aims of the business partner.

Explain:

  • why this project is important to the business partner
  • the business vision that this partnership addresses
  • how this KTP will make a significant difference to this business partner

Your answer can be up to 1,000 words long.

Question 18. Missing knowledge

What knowledge or expertise does the business partner currently lack that it will need to carry out this project?

What knowledge, technology or skills does the business partner need from the knowledge base partner?

Your answer can be up to 1,000 words long.

Question 19. Use of knowledge

How will the knowledge and expertise transferred during the project be embedded and exploited within the business partner?

Demonstrate how the knowledge and expertise will stay in the business beyond the lifetime of the project, and how it will continue to boost the business's success.

Your answer can be up to 1,000 words long.

Question 20. Reason for partnership

Why is an academic and business partnership the most appropriate approach for this activity?

Explain why the KTP structure and funding is necessary to achieve the desired outcomes. Explain why this could not be delivered 'off the shelf' or through consultancy.

Your answer can be up to 1000 words long.

Question 21. Business partner’s challenges

What challenges does the business partner have that will be addressed through the partnership?

Explain why the solution moves the business partner, or one of the business partner’s products, forward in such a way that it challenges current or accepted practice in the business partner or sector.

Your answer can be up to 1,000 words long.

Question 22. Associate’s challenge

What makes this a challenging project for the associate?

Explain what the associate will focus on, for example:

  • stakeholder management
  • converting academic theory into commercial practice
  • data acquisition
  • setting up test environments or labs

Your answer can be up to 1,000 words long.

Question 23. Knowledge base partner’s challenges

What challenges does the knowledge base partner have that will be addressed through the partnership? What additional benefits and outcomes will the KTP bring to the knowledge base partner?

Outline what challenge this offers the academic team, and why they want to undertake this project.

Your answer can be up to 1,000 words long.

Question 24. Market opportunity

What is market opportunity will this project open up?

Specify the target markets, their relative size or value and the market share you are expecting to achieve. State the business partner's current position in these markets and the main competitors, and if possible the impact COVID-19 has had on businesses or sectors that are a focus of your project.

Your answer can be up to 1,500 words long.

Question 25. Route to market

What is your route to market, particularly if COVID-19 is likely to change market dynamics?

What is your strategy to achieve the market share indicated above?

Your answer can be up to 1,500 words long.

Question 26. Commercial impacts

Quantify the likely commercial impacts of the project using our template.

Download the commercial impacts template, complete it and upload it.

Select ‘Yes’ to confirm you have uploaded the completed template.

Question 27. Rationale behind likely impacts

What rationale did you use to generate the likely impacts of the project?

Explain how you calculated the net profit before tax figures in your commercial impacts template in question 26, including any assumptions you based the numbers on.

Your answer can be up to 1,000 words long.

Question 28. Additional business actions and investments

What additional business actions and investments will be needed for you to achieve the business case, beyond those needed to deliver the work plan?

The KTP can only be a part of the journey to full exploitation. What does the business partner have to do, over and above what is required to deliver the KTP, to realise the business case? Where an investment is required, please quantify it.

Your answer can be up to 1,000 words long.

Question 29. Additional benefits

What additional benefits will be delivered from the project, such as the number of new and safeguarded jobs, or any wider societal and environmental benefits?

Indicate and justify any other benefits that this project will deliver that may help your case for support.

Your answer can be up to 1,000 words long.

Question 30. Phase and milestones

How will you manage the project effectively?

Use our work plan template to detail the project phases and milestones, including benefits realisation phase and the exploitation phase.

Download the work plan template, complete it and upload your work plan. Select ‘Yes’ to confirm you have uploaded the completed template.

Question 31. Associate

In order to deliver your project successfully, what are you looking for from your associates?

Briefly describe the:

  • qualifications
  • skills
  • attributes
  • experience

Your answer can be up to 1,000 words long.

Question 32. LMC members

Who will be on the local management committee (LMC)?

List the members, giving each one’s name and job title.

Your answer can be up 500 words long.

The LMC is the formal project meeting. It should be chaired by the senior business employee listed in question 8. It should also include the:

  • associates
  • knowledge base supervisor
  • business supervisor
  • knowledge base lead
  • knowledge transfer adviser

Secretariat must be provided by the knowledge base partner.

Make sure each member you nominate understands their individual role and its responsibilities, and is aware of the commitment required to take part in a KTP.

Question 33. Joint commitment statement

The knowledge base partner and business partner must declare a commitment to work together on the project by completing our joint commitment statement template.

Download the joint commitment statement (JCS)template, complete it and upload it as a PDF. Select ‘Yes’ to confirm you have uploaded the completed template.

Question 34. Full economic costing certificate

Does your knowledge base use the full economic costing (fEC) approach? Select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

If you are using full economic costing, you must upload your fEC certificate as an appendix to this question. It must be a PDF with a file size of up to 10MB. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Question 35. Management KTPs

Are you applying for a Management KTP? Select ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

Question 36. Supporting documents 1

You can use this question to upload up to 3 other supporting documents, such as in support of the business partner’s finance position. They must be in PDF format with a file size up to 10MB. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Select ‘Yes’ to confirm you have uploaded the document.

Question 37. Supporting documents 2

You can use this question to upload up to 3 other supporting documents, such as in support of the business partner’s finance position. They must be in PDF format with a file size up to 10MB. The font must be legible at 100% zoom.

Select ‘Yes’ to confirm you have uploaded the document.

Question 38. Declaration of accuracy

You must agree to the following declaration. Select ‘Yes’. If you select ‘No’ your application will be rejected.

The partnership confirms that the proposal meets the overarching criteria for KTP and, to the best of their knowledge, the information provided in this grant application form is accurate and complete.

Question 39. Declaration of KTA approval

You must agree to the following declaration. Select ‘Yes’. If you select ‘No’ your application will be rejected.

The partnership confirms that the knowledge transfer adviser has reviewed and approved this proposal for submission into this competition.

3. Finances

The knowledge base partner must give the funding requested, broken down into all the individual costs for the project and the associate.

The business partner must give:

  • details of its finances over the past 3 financial years
  • details of any funding applied for elsewhere

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

Background and further information

If you are successful

The partnership will have 9 months to jointly recruit an associate and start the project from the date the grant offer letter (GOL) is issued.

Knowledge transfer advisers

A KTA must support your application. The knowledge base partner must invite a KTA to join the project. Find and contact your local KTA.

Your KTA will:

  • help you plan the project
  • identify benefits
  • review proposals before submission
  • support and monitor the project
  • mentor and coach the associate
  • help you connect with the Knowledge Transfer Network

Help with applying

If you need more information about how to apply email Innovate UK at support@innovateuk.ukri.org or call 0300 321 4357.

Our phone lines are open from 9am to 11:30am and 2pm to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

About the Knowledge Transfer Partnership

To find out more about KTP, read the KTP guidance.

About Management KTPs

Management KTPs (MKTPs) focus on increasing effectiveness and improving productivity through better management practices. They create a partnership with a UK business school or academics that can demonstrate how their experience relates to management practice.

Management KTPs are funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and aimed at supporting micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) businesses. Large companies are considered by the funder on a case by case basis. You will not be able to contest their decision.

To find out more, read the Management KTP guidance.

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