I’m often asked why a company should consider using Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
, and while every business has its own particular reasons, I’ve come to believe there are five that apply to most:
- to increase profit
- to attract new talent
- to spread the risk of innovation
- to find partners
- to get noticed
I’ll take a look at these in more detail. But first, a reminder of the key points of KTP: it’s based on a project, planned in advance between a company and a university, that typically lasts two years. It delivers some innovation – be it a product, a technology, a system or a capability based on university knowledge – to make the company more profitable.
It’s achieved by recruiting a recent graduate, who leads the project in the company, but who is employed and supervised by the university. Up to two-thirds of the cost is contributed by government.
Reason 1: to increase profit
Glenn Le Faou, Oxford Brookes University KTP Associate at CMS Industries, working on designs for the 'aircharge' product range
Companies go in for KTP in the expectation of increased profits, and the latest national survey confirms this perfectly by showing an average annual increase in profits before tax of more than £1m per annum. It’s clear that KTP succeeds not just in bringing in new ideas from universities, but also in making them work for a company in a way that translates directly into business growth.
Reason 2: to attract talent
An ageing workforce and a dearth of new recruits: if you’re in engineering or IT, among other areas, you’ll recognise this scenario and appreciate the dangers it brings. With KTP, there’s the winning combination of a challenging project and support from a university that can appeal to the best young talent. The KTP Associate that we recruit for each of our projects is an ambitious young person, and they benefit from exceptional training and development while on the job. In most cases they go on to work for the company; it’s an obvious strategy for a business that needs bright new people.
Reason 3: to spread risk
If that clever R&D idea, or that enticing market opportunity, comes with a few uncertainties, what to do? Smart companies will look to mitigate the risk by seeking an experienced partner, or perhaps some external funds. KTP comes with both: academic experts from the university, and funding from government. It’s an ‘innovation platform’ that makes it possible to explore new opportunities in a manageable way.
Reason 4: to find a partner
Once a working relationship is established in a KTP, companies often find they get other benefits from partnership with a university – maybe students on projects and placements, or staff to consult about technical issues. There may be lab or workshop equipment to use that’s beyond the reach of the business; the list goes on.
Reason 5: to get noticed
Many companies appreciate the endorsement of their work by an independent, research-led body. The outcome of a KTP can therefore be a product or process that is seen to be tested and validated; this can raise the profile of a business, demonstrate its credentials and enhance its reputation.
To find out more about KTPs, talk to John Corlett KTP Manager at Oxford Brookes University, Stand 7 at Venturefest Oxford 2016
. Book an appointment via Venturefest’s new Get Connected
networking system or email: [email protected]