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Collaborative Research and Knowledge Exchange

Collaborative research within industry, business and government develops innovative solutions for real-world problems.

There are a number of sources of funding which support industry collaborations with Abertay University researchers. Some of the most frequently used are outlined below. 

If you would like to collaborate with Abertay and non of the funding schemes listed below are applicable, please contact us to discuss by email, or phone +44 (0)1382 308068.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) is a UK Government funded knowledge transfer mechanism designed to increase the competitiveness of the UK's industrial base. The North of Scotland KTP Centre - of which Abertay University is a member -  supports projects with partners across Grampian, the Highlands and Islands, and the rest of the UK.

KTPs are Europe's premier knowledge transfer programmes:

  • Total budget of £36m.
  • Eligible to large companies and SMEs.
  • Up to 67% grant support available.
  • Projects typically between 12 and 36 months.
  • Can cover any research area/sector, as long as the project objectives are essential to the partner company's growth.

The North of Scotland KTP Centre is tasked with establishing collaborative projects between academia and industry in order to support the development of new products, processes and markets.

Please contact the KTP Centre for more information on working with universities KTPs.

European Funding

Companies have the opportunity to participate in large or small European projects in partnership with the University. Funding support is available via the European Commission's Horizon 2020 scheme.

Horizon 2020 is the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, with nearly €80bn funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020). There are seven main sections to the programme:

  • Industrial Leadership
  • Societal Challenges
  • Spreading Excellence 
  • Widening Participation
  • Science with and for Society
  • European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)
  • Euratom
Many of the opportunities within Horizon 2020 are targeted at partnerships involving academic and non-academic beneficiaries in order to connect academic advances with an impact on the economy. Some require the industry partner to be the leader of a consortium. Pre- and post-award support can be offered to external applicants, as long as the University is participating as co-ordinator or partner in the resulting project.
If you are a Scottish-based SME, there is funding available for you to help support the development of partnerships.

If you are considering European funding for a project, we can help you explore your options. If you have an enquiry about the University as a potential project partner, please contact Ann Kenny.

Research Councils

There are a number of funding routes for industry-academia partnerships available from research councils. Each research council offers distinct opportunities for companies and third sector organisations to work with University researchers. These range from PhD studentships to funded research.

Further information on knowledge exchange schemes supported by research councils can be found in the links below:

If you have any enquiries about working with Abertay on Research Council funded projects, please contact

Innovation Vouchers

There are a variety of Innovation Vouchers to support collaboration between business and universities. These are listed below. If you would like to find out more about these schemes, or about services, facilities and expertise at Abertay University, please email

  • Innovate UK/Technology Strategy Board Innovation Vouchers: The Innovate UK/TSB national innovation voucher scheme enables your business to obtain help from a range of expert suppliers. These include universities, further education colleges, research and technology organisations, technical consultancies and Catapults. Any micro, small or medium enterprise located anywhere in the UK is eligible. Calls are issued around priority areas, with four deadlines per year.
  • Scottish Funding Council Innovation Vouchers: Scottish universities can offer Scottish-based SMEs up to £5,000 towards university project costs in a collaborative project. Your company must match the voucher contribution in cash, in-kind, or a mix of the two. The vouchers are available to all market sectors, but are for new partnerships only. 
  • Scottish Funding Council Follow-on Vouchers: These vouchers are available to Scottish SMEs who wish to continue to collaborate after the completion of a £5,000 voucher project, or enter into a new partnership at the same, or different university. This voucher contributes up to £20,000 to university costs. The company partner must match the voucher contribution in cash.
  • Horizon 2020 SME Engagement Scheme: This scheme is aimed at supporting Scottish-based SMEs explore the opportunities of Horizon 2020 funding and apply for particular schemes or calls under it with the assistance of a Scottish Higher Education Institure (HEI). To explore parnterships at Abertay, please contact
  • Interface Food and Drink: This network is a partnership of 17 Scottish universities and funded by the Scottish Funding Council, trade associations and Scotland Food and Drink. Additional contributions come from companies and universities. The network has voucher funding to deliver a range of knowledge exchange projects in areas including food science, supply chain development, waste management, packaging design and marketing for the benefit of industry. For more information on working with Abertay through Food and Drink Innovation Vouchers, please contact


Studentships: Many businesses support postgraduate students - including PhD students - through their studies, and there are a number of schemes to support businesses in this activity. To find out more about the benefits of working with the University through student sponsorship, visit the Graduate School.

Innovate UK

Innovate UK provides funding for business innovation. It connects business, researchers and policy makers to drive new technological advances. Innovate UK's collaborative R&D scheme co-funds partnerships between businesses and academia. Open competitions can be assessed.


Many businesses support postgraduate students - including PhD students - through their studies, and there are a number of schemes to support businesses in this activity. To find out more about the benefits of working with the University through student sponsorship, visit the Graduate School.