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University of Brighton: ‘Knowledge is power in business development’

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Small and medium-sized businesses in the South and beyond looking to innovate and grow can tap into a deep pool of expertise at the University of Brighton through a government-supported programme. 

Liz Johnson, University of Brighton’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Manager explains how businesses work with the university and the benefits that offers

What does the University offer?

We help businesses to solve challenges and grow. I see our role as translating their desires and ambitions into achievable business plans. What excites us most is partnering with companies to help them unleash their potential. 

Expertise is available from our seven academic schools and 15 centres of research excellence – new knowledge is core to any knowledge transfer project. 

In addition to providing direct support from our academics, we can also offer advice on other types of funding.

One of the most popular funding programmes is the Knowledge Transfer Programmes (KTP), which is delivered by Innovate UK. Recently, Innovate UK has expanded its programme to provide Management Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (mKTPs). 

More than 250 businesses to date have taken advantage of the government-funded KTP programme and worked in collaboration with the University of Brighton. 

This powerful business tool injects expertise to deliver real, positive change through strategic and innovative initiatives that expand business capability and increase productivity and flexibility. Embedding new knowledge within the business, enables lasting change and growth.

KTPs typically last two or three years and are used by businesses to achieve a broad range of strategic objectives, from developing products, accessing new markets and cutting costs or waste to improving operational efficiency and management processes.

What does a University of Brighton mKTP look like?

Our mKTP takes the same structure as a classic KTP and comprises the business partner, the university and a KTP Associate, which is a full-time, in-house graduate role based at the business for the duration of the KTP. An mKTP applies expertise from the University’s School of Business and Law and enables transformational improvement by identifying strategic, management-based initiatives that increase business resilience and agility.

We start with a needs analysis to find out what the business does, understand its strategic vision, where it wants to be and what is stopping it from getting there. We then introduce the company to academics who have the expertise they need and work together to write the KTP application, which includes a detailed workplan for every stage of the project.

Once successful with the funding and the project is underway, the KTP team meets regularly to track project progress. We are flexible to changes in business circumstances, such as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and can respond quickly with guidance and advice to ensure end targets are achieved.

What does the graduate mKTP Associate do?

At the heart of every project is a full-time graduate who works with the business, implementing and embedding the new knowledge and capabilities under the skin of the business. Finding the right Associate is crucial and we work closely with the business throughout the recruitment process. 

Interestingly, around three-quarters of our mKTP Associates are offered permanent roles by the businesses at the end of the project.

How much do businesses pay for a mKTPs

The Government covers up to 67% of the cost, businesses usually provide 33% or 50% of costs depending on their size. A typical project is valued at £100,000 per year. In other words, for about £33,000 a year, companies not only get a full-time specialist but also access to the university’s range of academic expertise, facilities, resources and a dedicated project support team to make the process as smooth as possible. This is a cost-effective way for businesses to gain knowledge they are missing and take a major step forward – KTP costs are also eligible for R&D tax relief.

Where can businesses find out more?

For more information about our support for businesses and details on funded programmes and eligibility criteria visit:

brighton.ac.uk/business-innovation 

Alternatively, contact Liz Johnson at: 

[email protected]

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