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Rumour buster for businesses looking to join knowledge exchange

31 May 2024

3 minutes to read

Rumour buster for businesses looking to join knowledge exchange

Are you a business thinking about collaborating with us? Are you unsure what the University of Exeter can offer you? Or, do you think universities are just for students? Read on to debunk any lingering misconceptions.

Universities are just for students 

Universities have many roles. One, is educating students. However, they also play a pivotal part in innovation and research, community outreach, policy, entrepreneurship and startups. Knowledge Exchange is a two-way relationship where information is exchanged between researchers at the university and external organisations. You can find some examples of knowledge exchange on our website here.

University knowledge lags behind business knowledge 

Whether you are a large corporate, NGO or small business owner, Universities are a hub of current knowledge with access to world leading experts and resources to develop your organisation. They are a key force for creating and retaining skilled workers in the region and work symbiotically with business partners both providing and receiving knowledge.

Exeter Innovation is the University of Exeter’s specialist team, facilitating business engagement and innovation activities. We work with other 2000 businesses each year, generating over £80M in value. We offer a range of ways to collaborate with us. You can work with our award winning Knowledge Transfer Partnerships team – 85% of KTPs are rated as outstanding or good. Or, you can work with the SETsquared Partnership who is the UK’s leading and Europe’s #3 start-up hub, supporting emerging businesses (as ranked by the Financial Times and Stanitista’s Special Report on Europe’s Leading Start-ups Hubs).

For businesses interested in thriving in a green economy, we also offer Green Futures Solutions, which focuses on helping businesses become more climate positive, nature positive and business positive. Our Green Futures Solutions team is made up of over 1,500 experts, including 5 of the world’s top 21 climate scientists, working to deliver game-changing solutions.

Universities only deal with blue sky thinking

Not true. Exeter Innovation at the University of Exeter provides pragmatic and challenge-specific structures to help grow your business at every stage. Local businesses can access support at the  Innovation Hub in the centre of Exeter, which provides one-to-on support as well as hosting regular workshops. Exeter Innovation also runs programmes such as Help to Grow, a comprehensive course that provides you with the managerial skills necessary to build your capabilities in leadership, innovation, digital adoption, employee engagement, marketing, responsible business, and financial management. Additionally, we can provide custom programmes to support your individual needs.

What grants are available when working with a university?

We can make your resources go further by helping you access government grants from Innovate UK and Research Councils. Working with the University of Exeter may also make you eligible for research and development tax credits.

Translational Funding can be available to support collaborations between academics and external partners.

Our business acceleration team helps start-ups find funding and grants, while also providing workshops and drop-in surgeries over a 6-12 month period.

There is also an Apprenticeship Levy to help businesses train and develop staff according to the strategic aims of their business, the University of Exeter can help you maximise the benefits this offers.

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), which give your organisation the opportunity to access new expertise and capabilities, are led by Innovate UK, who will fund between 50-75% of the project costs.

For businesses based in Cornwall, our EVOLVE FUTURES team offers a In-Residence Scheme which allows you to engage with academics to address an issue or develop you innovations so you are able to apply for grant funding to take your ideas to the next stage.

I won’t be in control of confidentiality 

We can set up NDAs for all parties involved.

Working with a University is a one-way transaction

We need experience from industry and organisations to support the research we do and make a real-world impact. We give back as much as we take and provide you with access to world-leading experts, resources and facilities . By collaborating with us you will not only grow your business, you will also be an essential partner in achieving a greener, healthier and fairer future.

Knowledge Exchange takes too long…

The length depends on the project, but it can be tailored to fit your timeline and circumstances – to explore options with us, please contact




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