KTN's online platform helps you to make the connections you need


The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) has refreshed its online platform to intelligently connect you to relevant events, funding, thought pieces and specialist staff to help your business innovate and grow.

You can discover content using your area of interest, from Defence Security to transport; from space to health – all major UK economic sectors are covered. Once you have selected your interests, using our intelligent tagging system, we will then display rich and relevant content related to your area, often from surprising sources.

An example might be new satellite technology from the space sector that is applicable in the agri-food sector. KTN-UK.co.uk will help you form these unusual and valuable connections.

All content on the platform has been carefully curated by our team of innovation specialists – not by an automated algorithm – so you can be confident that KTN is connecting you to the most relevant cutting-edge information.


The move also marks a closer alignment with our main funder, Innovate UK , with the website branding making a clear visual link. Knowledge Transfer Network is Innovate UK's innovation network partner, and also works with other funders to provide innovation networking services and fulfil our mission to drive UK growth.

We link new ideas and opportunities with expertise, markets and finance through our network of businesses, universities, funders and investors. From agri-food to autonomous systems and from energy to design, KTN combines expertise in all sectors with the ability to cross boundaries. Connecting with KTN can lead to potential partners, horizon-expanding events and innovation insights relevant to your needs.

Visit our people pages to connect directly with expertise in your sector.

Visit the KTN refreshed online platfom here

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Manufacturing and materials competition

Innovate UK has announced the opening of its Manufacturing and materials competition, offering support totalling up to £15 million for manufacturing and materials projects that could lead to increased productivity, competitiveness and growth, especially for SMEs.

The type of projects Innovate UK seeks to support are those that focus on technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development, depending on the nature of the challenge faced by business looking for funding.

Background to the competition

Innovate UK forecasts strong growth in markets such as automotive, food and drink, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and off-site construction, for which innovations in manufacturing and materials could provide UK businesses with ways to differentiate products and services and so gain competitive advantage.

Opportunities could be produced from, for instance, more resource-efficient processes, customisation of products, diversification of product and service lines and novel services that open up new sources of revenue from manufacturing.

CBI analysis suggests that if UK manufacturing supply chains are boosted in this way, they could contribute an extra £30 billion to the economy by 2025, and create around 500,000 extra jobs.

In the UK, manufacturing accounts for 10.3% of UK GVA, 8% of jobs, over 50% of exports and 69% of business R&D. Raw materials and processing represent approximately 40% of the costs for manufacturing businesses.

However, Innovate UK considers that innovation is required to increase productivity, material efficiency and competitiveness into the long term.

As outlined in Innovate UK’s Delivery Plan 2016 to 2017, its Manufacturing and Materials sector group’s focus this year is on the development, validation and application of cross-cutting manufacturing and materials technologies and processes to drive productivity and growth.

Among activities planned are competitions themed in areas of Additive Manufacturing, Manufacturing Readiness, and Manufacturing and Materials.

Materials innovations for manufacturing productivity, material efficiency and competitiveness

According to Innovate UK, new ideas are required to increase UK manufacturing productivity, material efficiency and competitiveness into the long term. Suggested sources of such innovation could arise from:

  • addressing manufacturing readiness of growing sectors
  • developing more flexible or efficient processes
  • greater customisation of products to fit consumer needs
  • diversification of product and service lines to serve new markets
  • development of novel services for new sources of revenue from manufacturing

To be in scope, a project must cover one of the following areas:

  • innovation in a manufacturing system, technology, process or business model. For example, in process engineering, industrial biotechnology, mechanical conversion processes, coatings, textiles, supply chain management, new product introduction processes or remanufacture
  • innovation in materials development, properties, integration or reuse. For example, for light-weighting, energy generation and storage (such as heat and electricity), electronics/sensors or for operation in demanding environments. For the purposes of this competition, materials include, but are not limited to, nano-materials, ceramics, metals and inter-metallics, polymers, composites, coatings, smart materials and joining of dissimilar materials

Proposals should aim to enable a step-change in productivity and competitiveness for at least one UK SME involved in the project. The focus of the project must be on manufacturing or materials developments that have cross-sector applicability.

Competition themes

For this competition competition, Innovate UK is encouraging applications featuring:

  • novel application of a digital technologies or approach to manufacturing or materials development (such as automation, modelling and simulation, data analysis)
  • design for manufacture, use and end-of-life

Projects with costs of up to £100k, or up to £2m

Projects need to be led by a business and must involve at least one SME. They can be carried out by an SME working alone or in collaboration with other organisations.

Stream 1: Projects with total eligible project costs of up to £100k and 12 months or less in duration

Stream 2: Projects with total eligible project costs of up to £2 million or between 12 and 36 months in duration.

The competition is open to all UK businesses. Projects of over £100k must be collaborative.

Innovate UK is looking for projects which focus on any of the technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development research categories.

Projects should last between 6 months and 3 years, and should range from total costs of £50,000 to £2 million.


Competition Brief