Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) enable UK businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity by providing access to the wealth of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within UK universities.


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The KTP scheme enables a three way partnership between your business, the university and a recent graduate. The graduate is part funded by Innovate UK to work for up to 2 years on a strategic innovation problem of your choosing.

This individual, called the KTP Associate, will be supervised by an experienced member of our academic staff, bringing the latest skills and academic thinking into your organisation.

By participating in KTPs you can

  • Find an innovative solution to help your business grow
  • Increase your competitive advantage
  • Access recently qualified people to spearhead new projects
  • Access experts who can help take your business forward
  • Develop your company for today's market
  • Improve your performance/business operations
  • Increase profitability

How does it work

A KTP is part-funded by a grant. You will need to contribute to the salary of the Associate who will work with your business, plus the cost of a supervisor who will oversee the scheme.

The amount you will need to contribute depends on the scale and length of the project. It will also depend on the size of your company. Typically:

  • small and medium-sized enterprises contribute around £35,000 per year, about one-third of the project costs
  • large businesses contribute around £55,000 per year, or half of the project costs for more information on KTPs at the University of Sheffield.

Case studies

See what other businesses we've partnered with gained from the KTP scheme:

Passion for Life Healthcare (UK) Ltd

Passion for Life Healthcare (UK) Ltd manufacture and supply products for the treatment of sleep disordered breathing. They partnered on a KTP with Professor Guy Brown, Head of Department in Computer Science at the University of Sheffield, to develop measurement software to distinguish between snoring and background noise.

This software was then successfully developed into an app for smartphones so that monitoring can take place at home rather than in a sleep clinic.

The KTP has enabled the company to move forward with research that would not have been possible in any other way. The access to world-class academics and leading edge technology has positioned the company well to progress in the area of digital healthcare and the treatment of sleep disordered breathing.

William Webb

Commercial Director, Passion for Life Healthcare

Read more about this KTP

Project aims

Diagnosis of sleep disorder conditions in a sleep clinic can be costly and the environment doesn’t provide a natural sleep environment. Simple low-cost inhome testing could bypass these issues and allow for multiple-night studies to be carried out.

Therefore, the aim of the partnership was to develop an accurate acoustic measurement system that can differentiate between the characteristics of snoring and background noise. This software can then be utilised on a smartphone or similar device.

Working with Dr Amy Beeston, the KTP Associate, a recent graduate from the University of Sheffield who completed her PhD in 2015 focussing on speech and hearing, the team hoped to prove that a phone based sound analysis of sleep breathing problems is possible.

What was achieved?

Dr Amy Beeston and Professor Guy Brown created a comprehensive literature review and market analysis of current technologies. A collection of recordings of sleep disordered breathing sounds was also collected.

All of these developments resulted in a smartphone app allowing sample-accurate streaming of audio over a network for whole-night recordings.

Subsequent work funded by Passion for Life Healthcare has developed a number of audio classification algorithms, which are able to discriminate snoring from other sounds with high accuracy. One of these algorithms is currently being implemented in a smartphone app, which will be released in 2019.

Value to the business?

As a result of drawing on university expertise working with Amy Beeston and Guy Brown, Passion for Life Healthcare were able to prove that an in-home diagnosis of sleep disordered breathing conditions is possible and practical.

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership has increased focus and understanding of the condition and improved the effectiveness of their products. The KTP has also enabled Passion for Life Healthcare to open up new business opportunities in healthcare networks.

Through this successful partnership the foundations for future collaborations between Passion for Life Healthcare and the University of Sheffield have been established.

Value to the University?

The KTP helped to open up the area of sleep disordered breathing as a research interest in the Department of Computer Science and also helped establish connections between the department and a number of clinical contacts in the UK and internationally.

Following project completion in April 2017, the University continued to worked on additional funded projects with Passion for Life, enabling them to further demonstrate the application of their research and expertise in a real-world setting.

HR Wallingford Ltd

HR Wallingford is an independent civil engineering and environmental hydraulics organisation which undertakes computer and physical modelling to develop solutions to water-based challenges.

One of their core business aims is to work alongside universities to make research output available to the broader industry sector.

Having identified the need for improved testing methodology they approached Professor Jeremy Oakley at the University of Sheffield to set up the collaboration as the School of Mathematics and Statistics (SoMaS) is well known for its pioneering research in computer model uncertainty

We are delighted with the contribution the KTP has made to our organisation. We now routinely apply this software on projects and have noted others are already starting to follow suit, a sure sign we have hit the mark!

Ben Gouldby

Chief Technical Director (Flood Risk), HR Wallingford

Read more about this KTP

Project aims

Modelling which simulates a range of complex processes, such as coastal flooding, can require huge computing resources and be time consuming to apply.

The main area of focus for the KTP was the theory and application of statistical emulators, computer modelling software which uses mathematical solutions to estimate outputs of real-life physical processes.

This could provide a more efficient and cost-effective solution to streamline a number of HR Wallingford’s projects.

What was achieved?

The three year project was carried out by KTP Associate Sajni Malde who brought specialist expertise to the company following her recent masters degree which focussed on flood risk modelling.

Sajni enabled the development of new modelling software, that is now extensively used within the company, to replicate and predict flood risk scenarios. To date, the software has been adopted on over 80% of projects in one sector of the company.

The technology is also being incorporated into a web-based software tool that will be freely available to the industry.

Value to the business?

As a result of Sajni’s work with HR Wallingford and the relationship with the University, a new type of modelling software has successfully replaced their traditional method and has helped to improve efficiency and accuracy.

The software will save approximately a weeks-worth of effort for every future project it is used on, whilst also adding accuracy and robustness to specific technical areas within the organisation.

The software is now a standard piece of kit which has already been used on several key projects and is expected to be introduced across wider sectors of the company.

Sajni’s work made a meaningful contribution to the business and following the completion of the KTP she was offered a permanent job in Statistics Research with HR Wallingford, demonstrating how a KTP can open up recruitment of graduate talent to businesses.

Value to the University?

Professor Oakley gained valuable insight into the process of knowledge transfer from academia to industry, for example, in overcoming obstacles where the adoption of new methods may require changes to established practice.

The KTP allowed him to apply his research knowledge and expertise to solve real industry problems. Testing and evaluating more substantial cases than had previously been considered enabled a deeper understanding of how well particular methods work in practice.

The partnership enabled the department to identify new research challenges and priorities in line with industry need. A key benefit to Professor Oakley and the department is the establishment of a new mutually beneficial relationship between the University of Sheffield and HR Wallingford with potential for further knowledge transfer, grant applications and joint publications.

JRI Orthopaedics Ltd

JRI Orthopaedics are a Sheffield based company with world-class expertise in the design, development and manufacture of orthopaedic implants and surgical instruments.

They have a long established reputation for making pioneering innovations in the development of hip implants and are keen to explore the use of new materials and novel manufacturing techniques to bring about benefits to surgical procedures and improve patient wellbeing.

The Mercury Centre have de-risked not only the technical elements of our research-led innovation, but also the financial. Without that, a lot of areas would have been closed to us.

Edward Draper

Executive Innovation Manager, JRI Orthopaedics.

Read more about this KTP

Project aims

To develop, evaluate and test a selection of new bioactive surface coatings for orthopaedic implants.

These new coatings will be developed to improve biological responses to enable the patient to recuperate more quickly therefore reducing their hospital stay.

The project goal was to discover a product differentiator that would meet clinical and patient need, increase company market share and sustain the future growth of JRI.

Project outputs

The project was successful in sourcing, designing and manufacturing a range of new surface coatings for the next generation of hip implants.

These were tested using an entirely new approach and ultimately used to select an optimum surface. A major output was the new testing process developed to evaluate the biological responses to the surfaces.

Business benefits

The KTP project enabled the development of a rapid and robust pre-clinical number of test methods for selecting a range of bio-active surfaces with the potential for orthopaedic application, as well as a new candidate coating for commercial use.

Academic knowledge of the bone/implant interface was greatly increased, with benefits to both JRI and the University. Existing relationships with partners have been strengthened and new relationships with future collaborators have been developed.

The Mercury Centre was involved in the design and manufacture in some of the new orthopaedic materials.

The Mercury Centre

LabLogic Systems Ltd

LabLogic is a worldwide market leader in the supply of radio-chromatography (RC) equipment to the pharmaceutical industry.

The on-going collaboration with the University of Sheffield, which was forged via the KTP, has brought a number of advantages to our business. Through the KTP, we have established our R&D capability in a more formal sense and, in addition, the company now has access to knowledge, expertise and resources that would normally be out of reach

Richard Brown

Managing Director, LabLogic Systems Ltd

Read more about this KTP

Project aims

RC equipment is used in pharmaceutical studies to investigate the uptake of drugs into the blood stream.

The project aimed to improve the sensitivity and resolution of existing RC equipment in order to meet the increasing needs of these pharmaceutical studies as companies come under increasing pressure to accelerate the drug development process.

Project outputs

The KTP Associate, Dr Tom Deakin, and Professor Lee Thompson helped LabLogic increase the sensitivity of their equipment. Future generations of LabLogic’s on-line RC detector will now lead the way in terms of resolution and reproducibility.

The company now has detailed insight into the fundamental scientific processes that underpin this technology.

Business benefits

The KTP helped build strong relationships between LabLogic and the University of Sheffield giving LabLogic ongoing access to expertise and resources. As a result further projects are underway including two KTPs.

Dr Tom Deakin is now employed by LabLogic and continues to work closely with Professor Lee Thompson and the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

William Beckett Plastics Ltd

William Beckett Plastics Ltd (WBP Ltd) is a leading manufacturer of Specialised Cutting Tool Packaging for the cutting tool industry and supplies its product range worldwide.

The company hold a competitive advantage in the UK; possessing the manufacturing facilities for plastic injection moulding, blow-moulding and thermo-forming.

The internationally active company were looking for ways to achieve growth by expanding their existing core competencies and exposing themselves to new ideas and markets.

WBP Ltd has significantly benefited from the knowledge and enthusiasm of the associate and academics at the University of Sheffield which has enhanced the company’s knowledge of the MIM process, ensuring future growth and success in the marketplace

William Beckett

Managing Director, WBP Ltd and William Beckett MIM.

Read more about this KTP

Project aims

The aim of the KTP was to develop Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) technology for the production of components for the use in engineering and other applications. Metal Injection Moulding (MIM) offers a myriad of advantages over other manufacturing processes.

Where small part size, complexity, and high volume are primary factors; this sophisticated, time-saving, and cost-effective technology offers the optimal solution. The main challenge of the project was to develop a MIM process suitable for production scale.

Project outputs

The KTP enabled the business to access knowledge and expertise within the University to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance in this new technology area.

Extensive materials analysis and testing were performed using these expertise and facilities available at the Mercury Centre. This resulted in new products being developed using the new technique.

Business benefits

The growing interest and number of enquiries has led to the successful launch of a new company Beckett MIM, capable of mass producing complex functional parts, and the employment of the KTP associate, Lukas Jiranek as Technical Manager at Beckett MIM Ltd.

The partnership with the University also assisted WBP Ltd with the technical leverage needed to receive Regional Growth Funding necessary for the relocation of the new company and the purchase of machinery.

The company will have continued access to the Mercury Centre’s facilities and further projects have since been launched.

The Mercury Centre

KTP Associates' Conference 2021- The KTP Springboard Effect

The University of Sheffield was delighted to host the annual KTP Associates' Conference on 7-8 July 2021.

Read all about the Conference here.  

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