The agency identified collaboration with the region’s universities as a key factor in driving new economic growth and assisting companies in being more innovative. The agency awarded £1.3m to the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) and £700,000 to the Collaborative Innovation Partnership (CIP); both of which have been set up to help companies realise their competitiveness through better use of knowledge, technology and skills.
The KTP is focused on larger companies within the Three Pillar areas of healthcare and health sciences, new and renewable energy and process innovation, and design, while CIP targets SMEs.
Each partnership employs an associate, usually post-graduate researcher or university graduates. Each associate works with a company on a project, which is core to its strategic development, and is supported by a regional university. Statistics show that over 75 per cent of associates are offered employment by their host company on completion of their project and of these 60 per cent accept.
It is suggested that businesses that sign up to the KTP can expect an increase of over £290,000 in annual profits before tax, the creation of eight new jobs and an increase in the skills of existing staff.