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
  • an African business or not-for-profit organisation
  • a knowledge base in Africa

The business partner and African knowledge base partner must both be based in the same 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 KTN 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.

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
  • invite one knowledge transfer adviser to join the application
  • not act in any way to gain selective commercial or economic advantage from the outputs of the project
  • allow associates to carry out the majority of the project at the business partner’s premises

Eligible projects

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

Your proposal must show the potential to have a positive impact on poverty through the uptake of agricultural and food systems technology and innovation.

You can choose from one or more of the following areas:

  • primary crop and livestock production, including aquaculture
  • non-food uses of crops, excluding ornamentals
  • challenges in food processing, distribution or storage, and value addition (such as through a change in the physical state or form of the product)
  • improving the availability and accessibility of safe, healthy and nutritious foods

Your project’s innovations must:

  • be sustainable in the context of environmental challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity
  • minimise negative effects such as pollution, food loss and waste
  • promote safe, healthy and nutritious diets

Your project and its outcomes must fit within the Official Development Assistance (ODA) criteria.

Your application must demonstrate how the primary benefit from your project will be a contribution to international development outcomes, specifically:

  • enhanced food and nutrition security and
  • welfare of the poor in urban and rural areas in developing countries

Activities carried out in the UK must clearly deliver impact in an eligible African country. Any benefits to the UK must be secondary in nature and result from delivering the primary benefit. Your proposal must clearly demonstrate the ways it will have an impact in the country.

If your project will support crop breeding it must have clear potential for impact at scale, in more than one eligible African country.

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

The following are not eligible:

  • forestry or ornamentals
  • wild-capture fisheries
  • equine
  • crops for energy production


To find who your local knowledge transfer adviser is (in the UK), click here.

For help with applications, you can additionally contact our agrifood team.