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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > NanotechnologyKTN > The Strategic Role of KTP in the UK Nanotechnology Sector

Fiona Brewer

The NanoKTN's key objective is to encourage collaboration and knowledge transfer between key players in industry and academia to support the UK supply chain and to create the continued economic wealth for UK industry. One way to achieve this is through the use of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs).

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), a programme led by the Technology Strategy Board, support UK businesses wanting to improve their competitiveness, productivity and performance by accessing the knowledge and expertise available within UK Universities and Colleges.

April 11th, 2013

The Strategic Role of KTP in the UK Nanotechnology Sector

The NanoKTN works with companies in the nanotechnology sector to secure KTPs with academic institutions (Knowledge Base Partners). This enables them to improve their performance or business operations. The partnerships benefit all the partners by bringing together the best resources from academia and industry. Each KTP employs one or more recently qualified person (known as Associates) to work on a project of strategic importance to the business. Associates are based with the company, while also being supervised by the Knowledge Base Partner.

In one recent example, the NanoKTN secured a KTP associate from Southampton University's Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) for Romsey-based Covesion. The ORC is one of the world's leading institutes for photonics research and an associate is now working with Covesion to improve the company's manufacturing efficiency.

Working with a KTP gives Covesion a number of attractive benefits over and above just employing a new member of staff. With the KTP, Covesion has access to the University clean room, and additional resources to help support the work that the associate is doing for the company. The relationship also gives the company access to other knowledgeable contacts and all the expertise that the ORC offers - which wouldn't be an option without a KTP.

Business performance outputs vary depending on the project, but figures show that over half of companies engaged in a KTP had an increase in the overall value of the business, with 62% reporting an increase in sales. KTPs have also increased the interaction between businesses and academia, demonstrating the clear contribution that academia can make to business development and growth.

KTPs can also stimulate and improve the business-relevant training and research undertaken by the academic institutions. This obviously enhances the career prospects for associates and many are given the opportunity to manage a challenging project central to a company's strategic development and long-term growth. Some 75% of associates are offered employment by the host company following the project.

Last year, the NanoKTN also helped to support and facilitate a KTP between Cardiff University and European Thermodynamics. Working directly with the NanoKTN, a graduate was able to secure a position as a KTP associate with Cardiff University, managing a high-profile project at European Thermodynamics, establishing processes and facilities for the assembly of thermoelectric modules.

Funded by 15 Government organisations and led by the Technology Strategy Board, the UK's innovation agency, there are now over 800 KTPs across the whole of the UK working across a wide variety of organisations, ranging from UK-based companies and charities to education institutions and health organisations. By helping UK businesses improve their productivity and by providing graduates with these opportunities, the NanoKTN is helping to ensure the future of the UK nanotechnology market, by encouraging collaboration and knowledge transfer between key players in industry and academia.

To discuss KTPs as a route for your business and to see how the NanoKTN can assist you, please contact

Further information on KTPs can be found here:

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