Partnering for growth: 100 success stories


The University of Leeds is marking the completion of its 100th successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).

KTPs are a national government initiative, which encourages businesses to recruit recent graduates or postgraduates for specific projects, so they can benefit from specialist skills and expertise. 

The aim is to support UK businesses wanting to improve their competitiveness and performance.

The University of Leeds has been involved with the KTP programme since the late 1970s and has around 20 KTP projects running at any one time, making it one of the most prolific university participants in the scheme in the UK. 

Current project partners range from large international businesses such as Asda to companies such as Leeds-based IT healthcare software company, The Phoenix Partnership Ltd. 

The University’s 100th successful KTP has involved Dyson Technologies Ltd teaming up with the Centre for Technical Textiles in the School of Design

The project has involved developing novel filter fabrics for Dyson’s innovative vacuum systems, ensuring the company sustains its competitive edge in future technology. 

Mark Taylor, Global Strategy and Research Director at Dyson, said: “New technology starts with research - and some of the world's best research is found in British universities. Combining the expertise of Dyson engineers with the knowledge base at Leeds will lead to new technologies that we can export from the UK."

Professor David Hogg, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the University of Leeds, said: “Reaching the milestone of 100 KTP projects is testament to the research strengths at Leeds. Companies recognise the relevance of the expertise at Leeds and the competitive edge it can give their business.

“By having a dedicated KTP office at Leeds, we provide our staff and our commercial partners with the best fit for our academic expertise and the development of the partner’s business. The transfer of knowledge makes an impact in the commercial world and reinforces the importance of collaborations between universities and businesses.”

The national KTP programme is led by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, and is funded by over 12 public sector bodies. Around 800 KTPs are running nationally at any one time, with projects varying in length from six months to three years. 

There are three principal partners in a KTP. Firstly the company with the business need; secondly, the university with the academic knowledge; and, finally, the KTP Associate - often a recently-qualified graduate or post-graduate - who is employed through the project funding to connect the partners and support the exchange of knowledge and technical skills between partners. 

Dr Debbie Buckley-Golder, former Head of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships at Innovate UK, said: “The Leeds approach demonstrates perfectly the ethos of the KTP. The university develops a relevant and improved understanding of the challenges that companies encounter which, in turn, stimulates business-relevant teaching material and new research themes. 

“The benefits to a company are wide-ranging and commercially valuable and often the relationship between the partners continues after the end of the project. Students who will go on to be the next generation of business people can only benefit from these projects.”

The national KTP programme is celebrating its 40th year in 2015.

For further information

Contact University of Leeds press office on 0113 343 4031 or email or visit

The University of Leeds worked successfully with both large companies and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) including Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s, DePuy, CGI International and Yorkshire Bank.

In November 2014, the KTP between Leeds-based The Phoenix Partnership (TPP) and the University of Leeds won a national Research Council UK impact award from Innovate UK. 

For more information about the national programme, visit