What happens when you bridge education with industry experience?  


Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) were created by Innovate UK and have been helping business growth through dynamic innovation for over 50 years.  


UK businesses can partner with an academic or research institution to develop the KTP that will deliver a strategically important project for that business. The partnership is mutually beneficial as the business can help to foster growth through their KTP Associate, while the associate can work alongside industry experts and gain knowledge directly from the field.  


Over 300 KTP opportunities are available annually, each of which can span from one year to three years, with many of the associates receiving a full time job upon completion. With opportunities spanning from finance to pharmaceuticals, and engineering to creative arts and design, a KTP can be the springboard for innovation within SMEs across the UK.  


What are the benefits of a KTP? 


Crafted to be mutually advantageous for all parties involved, KTP’s offer associates: 


  • Opportunities to acquire professional certifications. 
  • Access to high level, experienced training, and support. 
  • Valuable experience in overseeing challenging, real-world projects crucial to a business or organisation. 
  • A competitive graduate salary. 
  • A platform to kick start or advance their careers.  

Furthermore, associates benefit from support provided by designated experts, company personnel, the regional Knowledge Transfer Advisor and, typically, a University KTP office. There are many benefits to joining an KTP programme, both for the graduate and the organisation.  

Reece Thompson, who is a product development engineer and KTP Associate here at Lionweld Kennedy, has been with us since November 2022 as part of a KTP partnership with Teesside University 


We sat down with Reece to ask him some questions on his KTP programme and understand what his daily tasks entail as well as his aspirations for his KTP project.  


What is your career background?


“I interned as a CFD engineer before finishing my masters in July 2022, I then worked in a material science lab developing geopolymer cements from January 2022 to October 2022.”


What does your day to day look like?  


“My working week is quite varied based on the workplan from both my university and Lionweld Kennedy. This can range from the development of business processes to material science for a brand new product which comes with resourcing and testing, and more.” 


How did you learn about KTP’s and why did you want to pursue one?  


“Teesside University were advertising while I was studying and a couple of my friends who were on my course had completed a KTP with Teesside University before I started so they informed me of the benefits and how the course ran.   


I wasn’t specifically looking for a KTP when I started University, the academic lead of my KTP project posted the job listing with information on the KTP on LinkedIn and I found it very interesting. The academic lead was my Master’s dissertation supervisor so I could ask him questions on the KTP before I applied.” 


How are you supported by Teesside University?  


“I have access to any labs and equipment within the University for my project, this is a help for product and material testing. They provide me with the resources I need to advance the project to the level I want it to be at, whether that be general IT stuff, material science testing equipment, rapid prototyping facilities and specialist software (such as FEA software). 


All this resource allows me to progress my project in a safe and scientific way which is a major benefit to a KTP programme.  


Three lecturers are available for weekly support in structural design, material design, marketing, business process development and other varying topics to provide comprehensive support across the KTP programme. “ 


How are you supported by Lionweld Kennedy?  


“I receive direct support from the directors who rose to the role of KTP supervisor and KTP facilitator. Karl Wrightson, who is our Operations Director, took the role of supervisor in my KTP programme and other members of the board have been my facilitators.  


They have provided opportunities to develop myself and the project further. I recently visited India with Karl, my supervisor, where we learnt more about composite grating manufacturing from our supplier and then discussed manufacturing of the KTP product with Bergen Pipe Supports who are another Hill & Smith group company. “ 


What are the benefits to you of undertaking the KTP? 


“The benefits to me are the experience, there is a lot of different aspects that go into being a KTP Associate. Through InnovateUK and the KTN network, you have access to a lot of training that you may not typically find at this level.  


Another benefit is that I have a seat at the table with the decision makers, not just within Lionweld Kennedy, but with external companies who may be interested in our developmental product.”  


What is the end goal of the KTP, in your eyes?  


“The ultimate goal is the market launch of the project I am working on. This is what the KTP project is based upon. There is still work to be carried out on the product, but we have a good focus on what we want to achieve. “ 



A KTP may be a brilliant way to foster a culture of innovation within your business, offering a brilliant opportunity for a graduate to apply and expand upon their knowledge.  


If you would like to learn more on Reece and his experience within the KTP partnership, watch the case study here which was carried out in partnership with Teesside University.

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