African agriculture knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP): 2020 to 2021, round 4

UK registered higher or further education institutions, RTOs or Catapults can apply for a share of up to £2 million to help fund an innovation project with another knowledge base and a business partner registered in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya or South Africa.

Opportunity Details


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Funding can cover project costs of any amount if we judge the costs to be appropriate. Typically, projects cost about £125,000 per year.


Global Challenges Research Fund
Innovate UK

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The African agriculture strand of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) scheme supports a partnership between:

  • a UK registered higher education or further education institution, research and technology organisation (RTO) or Catapult (which we will refer to as the ‘UK knowledge base’)
  • an African business or not-for-profit organisation (which we will refer to collectively as the ‘business partner’)
  • a knowledge base in Africa (which we will refer to as the ‘African knowledge base’)

The business and African knowledge base must both be based in one of the following countries: Republic of Ghana, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Republic of Kenya or Republic of South Africa

The partnership brings new skills and the latest academic thinking into the business partner to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project. The knowledge base partner will recruit 1 or 2 graduates (known as ‘associates’) to work on the project.

In this round Innovate UK is investing up to £2 million towards the funding of projects.

Each application must be led by a UK registered knowledge base, working with an African business partner and African knowledge base. If you are from a knowledge base that has not yet developed a project, get started by reading the KTP guidance. If you are from an African business, read the guidance then contact the Knowledge Transfer Network or a knowledge base.

This award is provided on a non-aid basis. This means the knowledge base partner must publish or make openly available, on a non-selective basis, all project outputs. If the business partner decides to commercially exploit the project outputs, it can only do so with no selective advantage.

Typically projects last 24 months, depending on the project requirements.

KTP does not support projects with public sector organisations.

UK knowledge base partner

Each application must be created by a UK knowledge base, with the help of a knowledge transfer adviser.

The UK knowledge base must lead the project and must:

  • be a UK registered higher education (HE) or further education (FE) institution, RTO or Catapult
  • invite one business or not-for-profit organisation from Republic of Ghana, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Republic of Kenya or Republic of South Africa to join the application and collaborate with them on the development of the project
  • invite one African knowledge base from the same African country to join the application and collaborate with them on the development of the project

African business partner

African business partners can work with knowledge bases of their choice, one from the UK and one from their own country. We encourage business partners to approach knowledge bases directly.

To collaborate with the knowledge bases, the business partner must:

  • be a business, of any size, or a not-for-profit organisation registered in Republic of Ghana, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Republic of Kenya or Republic of South Africa
  • have more than 2 employees
  • demonstrate its ability to financially support its contribution to the project
  • be invited by the UK knowledge base and complete its parts of the application
  • provide business finance information for the past 3 years

The definition KTP uses for ‘not-for-profit organisation’ includes social enterprises and charities.

Funding for African agriculture KTP comes through Innovate UK from the UK Global Challenge Research Fund.

Projects are fully funded. Typically, projects cost about £125,000 per year.

Each knowledge base can collaborate on any number of applications.

Each African business partner (including separate businesses with a business group) can take part in up to 4 KTP funded projects at any one time.  Additional applications may be allowed at the discretion of the programme manager.

Your project

Your project must align with the scope of the ‘Agri-tech catalyst round 9: agriculture and food systems innovation, late stage’ competition. Visit the agri-tech catalyst round 9 competition page.

Your application must be for a specific, strategic innovation project that tackles one or more challenges faced by the business partner. It can be any kind of project but it must show:

  • that it helps the business with a real need
  • how it fits the strategic aims of the business partner
  • there is a genuine market opportunity and route to market
  • how the knowledge gained will be embedded within the business partner
  • the commercial impact for the business partner, and any wider impacts
  • that you have a clear understanding of what qualifications, skills, attributes and experience the associate will need

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