By Max Clarke

Businesses working in partnership with further and higher education institutions stand to benefit from a total increase in annual pre-tax profits of £150 million and significant numbers of new jobs as a result of support provided by Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP), a new report shows.

Led by the Technology Strategy Board, KTP accelerates business innovation by facilitating collaborative partnerships with further and higher education institutions. According to the latest KTP annual report, businesses participating in the programme during 2009/10 report the creation of more than 1,400 new jobs, in addition to improved profits. The report also cites a 26% rise in KTP project numbers during 2009/10 compared to 2008/9 — itself a good year for the scheme.

Head of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at the Technology Strategy Board, Dr Debbie Buckley-Golder said: “Despite the year’s economic challenges, this report demonstrates that businesses have continued to respond very positively, harnessing expert knowledge and innovation to drive growth across the economy.

“At the 2009/10 year end, the portfolio comprised 1,301 individual projects, the highest total number of active KTP projects in the history of the programme, and demand for new projects is also now at its highest ever level.”

The introduction of the shorter KTPs — which run for between 10 and 40 weeks — has provided a new way for companies to access the expertise available within academic institutions, with more than 250 projects initiated following their launch in July 2009.

Dr Buckley-Golder adds: “As much as £118 million was invested in R&D by business in 2009/10, as a direct result of their participation in KTP, and as well as the increase in their profits, businesses involved in partnerships saw the value of their exports rise by £65 million.”

KTP partnerships support the recruitment of high-calibre graduates (Associates) to undertake challenging, needs-based projects in individual business organisations, helping to transfer the required skills and expertise from an academic institution which acts as the ‘knowledge base’ in support of the project’s implementation. During 2009/10 over 60% of Associates completing their KTP project were offered permanent employment by the participating business.