The old adage of ‘knowledge is power’ can hardly be more appropriate than when looking at businesses trying to increase their market share with new products or services. But in today’s fast paced world where and how do competitive businesses access new knowledge? How do they develop it and take it forward to create economic growth and increase prosperity?
With this in mind, the Government-backed Technology Strategy Board (TSB) aims to facilitate and manage some of the challenges facing businesses today and looks at how supporting innovation and encouraging technology developments can play a key role in overcoming both commercial and societal challenges.
The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) programme, managed and funded by the TSB and supported by other public sector funding organisations, is just one of the support mechanisms the board offers to business and academia. The aim is to help individual businesses develop new capability which will then help their organisation to develop and grow. KTPs enable businesses of all sizes to work with further and higher educational institutions to establish both long and shorter term collaborative projects – with the ultimate aim of creating or improving a viable commercial product or service at the end of the scheme.
The Board works to support businesses by providing them with the support and tools that they need to speed up the process between concept and commercialisation. KTPs provide a significant tactical contribution to this – offering a partnership approach that has benefits for all involved – not just the company at the heart of the process.
Iain Gray, chief executive of the TSB, said: ‘KTP provides the perfect platform for creativity and growth by facilitating successful partnerships. It’s a great example of the development of long-term sustainable relationships between businesses and higher education to help drive the UK’s future economic prosperity.
‘KTP is an integral part of our business support toolkit. We see it as a strategically important tactic in which we will continue to develop the fantastic research and knowledge base we have in the UK and to ensure that this in turn helps to deliver new jobs and support wealth creation. However, as an organisation we are always looking at ways in which we can widen the outreach of our support and work with the business and academic communities to achieve this.’
This is clearly demonstrated by the Board’s launch of its Grant for R&D programme earlier this year. The scheme will support small and medium-sized companies across the UK that want to carry out research and development, generating new and innovative products and services. The model will support single companies with small amounts of money at critical points in their growth cycle, specifically proof of market, proof of concept and development of prototype grants.
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