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Research post-graduates can’t help my business – or can they?

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In the commercial world, there’s often a perception that research post-graduates aren’t especially useful – after all, businesses need to be proven in the real world of commerce rather than the research lab.

But while it’s often said that taking on a graduate uses resources that could be better spent elsewhere, this is far from the case. A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) matches businesses with research post-graduates to bring expert knowledge to commercial projects.

Female graduate thinking against a background of hanging lightbulbs with one glowing yellow

Post-graduates can provide specific expertise in a subject area that can help a business idea or project to thrive.

A successful business needs to put ideas to good use to generate growth. So if you have a significant problem holding back your innovation, a KTP can pair you up with someone who might just be the solution.

Who are KTPs for?

KTPs aren’t exclusively for certain industries, like those specialising in technology and the sciences. Any business that could benefit from an injection of enthusiasm from a knowledgeable expert can apply.

In the past, KTPs have been launched between businesses in everything from hospitality – designing a chemical formula to help clean stains from hotel towels, saving thousands of pounds in disposing of reusable materials – to the film industry.

Group of workers, representing various industries standing in a line

It doesn’t matter on the size of your business. KTPs are co-funded by a grant from Innovate UK so you can get access to expertise from a university or research institution that is exclusive to your business and your project.

What happens next?

KTPs often develop into long-lasting partnerships. 86% of businesses want to continue working with the university after the original KTP ends. And 75% of post-graduates on the KTP scheme are offered jobs with the company after completion, showing how valuable the partnership can be.

Success story: KTPs in a billion pockets

Bemrose-Booth Paragon is a manufacturing company producing over 1 billion train tickets annually. Although successful, they had a problem with the durability of the data strip on the back of the tickets, which meant they were prone to data loss. As a result, printed tickets were much less cost-effective both for the customers and for the company.

Through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Hull, Bemrose-Booth was able to take on a post-graduate who helped them to develop a longer-lasting link strip for the back of the tickets.

Over several months, the post-graduate's knowledge was used to adapt the production process of the tickets.  This technology is now being used in the USA, Europe, and Australia.

Man presenting ideas to two colleagues in front of a flip chart, holding a lightbulb representing an idea

Let’s get started

If a KTP sounds like the opportunity that could help to grow your business, look at Innovate UK’s online resources. They help explain KTPs in more detail and point to the people to talk to if you’re looking for funding.

We’re looking for more businesses to support with a KTP. So, if you’ve got the capacity to invest in knowledge and ideas, we want to help you put this into practice.

Find out more and apply now.


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