Future Technology Centre

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Find out what a KTP is, what makes a successful partnership, and how to start a project with us

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a government funded scheme which brings universities and businesses together to work on development projects with strategic importance to an organisation's future.

The University of Portsmouth has a proven track record and over 20 years of experience with KTPs across a wide range of academic disciplines and business needs.

Over the past two decades, we've delivered more than 100 partnerships, which have been awarded a cumulative £9.2m in grants and £4.9m in matched funding from businesses.

If your organisation is looking to put new ideas, technology and ways of thinking to work – to create new innovations, grow your business, enter a new market, increase productivity or change your organisation's culture – then a KTP could be perfect for you.

Innovate UK
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Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

KTPs – at a glance


£30k–£50K per year (depending on the size of your Company)


1–3 years

How does a KTP work?

  • The company puts forward a 1 to 3 year project, which demonstrates innovation, challenge, and impact on your business
  • An Academic team with appropriate expertise will be identified and will work together with your company to write a proposal for a grant from Innovate UK
  • The team works together to recruit a graduate, who is employed by the University but works at and for your Company to deliver the project with our Academic support
  • The programme budget covers the graduate’s salary, University supervision, allowances for equipment, training and travel
  • Up to 67% of the KTP project costs are covered by a grant from Innovate UK

What are the advantages to businesses?

  • Access to the knowledge and expertise available at the University of Portsmouth
  • Delivery of a project of strategic importance to your company
  • Delivery of a project that would otherwise be beyond the company’s scope
  • Increased productivity and profits
  • Funding – up to 67% of the project is funded by Innovate UK
  • Over 70% of companies continue to work with the University after the KTP programme is complete

Who can apply? 

  • A UK registered business
  • A UK registered not-for-profit organisation (charity, community interest company, charitable incorporated organisation, a charitable company, and exempt or excepted charity, a registered charitable industrial and provident society of charitable coopoerative)
  • Public sector organisations (non-departmental public bodies/arms length bodies, the NHS, local authorities, government owned companies, nationalised industries, most trading funds and regulators)

Each KTP is a partnership between a university and one of the above organisations. 

What can a KTP offer an associate?

  • £4,000 training budget
  • Acceleration for your career, either in business or research
  • A competitive salary
  • The opportunity to lead and manage a highly innovative and strategic project
  • The support of an academic team from the University
  • The possibility of working towards a higher degree
  • Attendance at 2 one-week management residential workshops

Intellectual Property

Your business know-how is protected throughout the project. Preliminary project discussions and grant writing can be covered by suitable NDAs, as needed. All intellectual property developed during the project stays with your company unless agreed otherwise. Your company has full control over confidentiality of the project results during and after the project.

Case studies

STS Defence

STS Defence are specialists in mission critical communications and intelligent systems and operate in the defence, marine, aerospace and nuclear sectors.

When STS first engaged with the University of Portsmouth in 2008 the company was very different, manufacturing high-reliability electrical and electronic assemblies for use in specialist environments.

An initial KTP in 2010 highlighted the opportunities available for the company to develop an intelligent data logger product for in-transit condition monitoring of high value equipment. The aim was to utilise the existing manufacturing expertise but bringing in two graduates to develop the core artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm and electronic architecture.

During the course of this project, another exciting opportunity was identified. In 2013 a KTP began the development of FiRST, a system to protect firemen by providing a warning of flashovers. The KTP Associate worked with David Brown and Edward Smart from the Institute of Industrial Research (IIR), using statistical pattern recognition and indoor location estimation techniques to provide improved threat assessment and early warning systems for personnel in hazardous search and rescue environments.

Following on from this KTP, STS were awarded Smart Funding (Development of a Prototype) in 2014. FiRST, now patented, has been extensively tested by fire services in the UK and USA; it won ‘Innovation of the Year' at an award ceremony at FDIC 2017 in the USA. This patented technology is currently at TRL 6.

With a culture for innovation embedded in the company STS led a successful proposal for £1M to Innovate UK for project IConIiC (Intelligent Condition monitoring with Integrated Communications) in 2015 to detect marine engine faults through non-invasive means.

The consortium developed innovative technology, using sophisticated signal processing and machine learning, to provide an early indication of impending fault conditions in marine engines. With a patent pending, IConIC was formally launched in June 2019 at the Electric & Hybrid Marine World Expo and co-located Autonomous Ship Technology Symposium.

The latest step on this innovation journey is a 2 year KTP to use AI to improve the effectiveness of transmitting data, making the best decisions about the communication platforms and networks depending on a range of factors including urgency, cost and message content.

Entec International Ltd

Entec International Ltd offer their 3PMRO (3rd Party Maintenance, Repair and Operations) service to major global brand manufacturing companies with multiple operations that hold high values in MRO spares inventory. Their client base includes customers in the Food and Beverage packaging industries, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), Mining, Minerals and Textile sectors.

The innovative procurement, supply chain and inventory management solutions Entec offer assists customers to significantly reduce their capital expenditure, increase production and ultimately improve profitability. Entec’s business operations are 100% export.

Working together, Entec International and the University of Portsmouth developed an industry first analysis process enabling customers to visualise the challenge, size the opportunity and take the steps needed to optimise their MRO inventory and supply chain.

The partnership has been exceedingly successful during and beyond the lifetime of the KTP.  The ongoing impact on the company can be categorised in three areas:

Culture change and commercial outcome

The KTP has challenged the traditional model for maintenance, repair and operations supply chains to deliver a truly disruptive and sustainable business model.  The project has not only changed the culture of the company but is also changing the mindset of the industry and how it will manage MRO.  Knowledge embedded through the KTPcontimues to inform the company's strategic direction.

The effect of the KTP, transformed the nature of the business, taking it from a demand led MRO parts supplier into a fully integrated MRO partner with their clients. Entec’s new capability and reputation in the MRO sector has also led the company to expand their operations from Africa into Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East.  Entec has also developed two regional hubs (LATAM and APAC), to service their increasing client base and plan to develop two additional regional hubs in the next 3 years.  Since the first KTP, Entec has increased their turnover from £13m (2017) to £23m (2021), with the potential to increase its revenue to £100m within 5 years.

Throughout the KTP, Entec absorbed the knowledge and process from UoP to carry out research and development.   This resulted in Entec opening a new Centre for Innovation in Portsmouth, establishing a strategic partnership with the university.  From being able to capitalise significantly on the KTP, Entec has entered into a second KTP programme developing a new business model with the capability to manufacture spare parts using additive manufacturing and has two further funding opportunities in the pipeline.

Increased productivity

The new MRO model developed through the KTP has had a significant impact on productivity in both Entec and their customers.  The new MRO model has resulted in one customer launching a project that will restructure where and how they hold their MRO inventory partnering with Entec in developing a new process that will significantly improve cost, optimise working capital and increase productivity.

Environmental benefit

Direct environmental impact, through the new MRO model, is derived from the reduced CO2 emissions which come from a regular consolidation of shipments to meet planned and unplanned  demand.  Combining multiple shipments from 400+ regular sources also reduces cost associated with handling.

As for indirect impact, the new model also removes plastics from sub-supplier packing replacing it with recyclable material. A recent case study with ONE customer showed the following benefit:

  • 9% reduction in spending
  • productivity gain in reducing complex, multiple and fragmented sourcing of suppliers
  • 59% reduction in transaction process
  • 73% reduction in shipments and logistics cost
  • 67% productivity gain in financial process (less invoicing)
  • CO2 emissions reduced by 463 tons in one year

It is not always possible to quantify the significant impact that KTPs have on SME’s such as Entec but through continuing the partnership we have joined their journey from reactive supplier to a full 3PMRO business partner, witnessed the growth and recognise the full potential within their business model

Royal Navy yard

The engagement with the KTP programme has enabled a strategic shift in thinking within the company; from being in a position of having no IPR/products, to recruiting a team of researchers and engineers and developing product solutions that fully exploit embedded AI.

David Garrity (CTO), STS Defence

Impact at companies we've worked with

  • 25% increase in Sales and 75% increase in profitability (Condair)
  • Unlocked and exploited new national and international markets (Enigma Water Descaler)
  • 200% increased profitability due to significant cost reduction (Adaptsys)
  • Increased turnover from £4.3m to £8.8m, created 8 new jobs and 3 new production lines (Bounce foods)

Contact us

For more information and to make a start, contact our Research and Innovation Services team on 023 9284 6191 or email researchandinnovation@port.ac.uk