Business Expertise

Expertise, business support and funding

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Our research can transform your business

Essex has a successful track record of delivering innovative and disruptive projects with industry.

From award-winning Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) to consultancy and contract research, we're sharing our expertise and innovating business. 

You don't need a detailed brief when you approach us - simply bring us the issues you're facing and we'll pinpoint the expertise you need, cost the project, and help you find the right solution.

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Innovate UK funding

Essex has successfully secured more Innovate UK KTP funding than any other university in the East of England or London (and we're number 1 in the UK). You could access around £150k through this program or equally partner with us on a Smart grant and secure up to £3m to work with a consortia on your project. Essex will lead the entire process and have a sector-leading track record at winning this funding. All projects are commercially driven and underpinned by world class research from Essex.

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Innovate UK Funding opportunities

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)

We're number 1 in the UK for the number of Innovate UK funded KTPs

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are part-government-funded collaborations between universities and businesses.

We have successfully secured more Innovate UK KTP funding than any other university in the East of England or London (and we're number 1 in the UK). You could access around £150k through this program. Essex will lead the entire process and have a sector-leading track record at winning this funding. All projects are commercially driven and underpinned by world class research from Essex.

Come to us with an issue and we'll identify one of our academic teams to work with you and recruit a high-calibre graduate who will be based in your company as an associate to manage the project. 

Innovate UK Smart Grants

Innovate UK Smart Grants, are funding for game-changing and disruptive ideas no matter what sector for UK based companies.

To apply your business needs either:

  • an idea for a completely new product, service or process
  • a brand-new use or an unprecedented use for an existing product, service or process that take it above and beyond what’s currently available

If you think your business fits the bill, contact our Business Engagement team for more details. 

Innovate UK Accelerated Knowledge Transfer (AKT)

This new programme from Innovate UK has been designed to create short-term collaborations between a business and a UK Knowledge Base, such as the University of Essex, to rapidly inject innovation capacity.


Inspired by the highly successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) model, the aim of Accelerated Knowledge Transfer (AKT) is to deliver a fast and targeted collaboration to accelerate the evaluation or development of an innovation project or concept, which has the potential for significant impact for the Business Partner.


The programme offers grand funding of up to £35,000 per project for collaborations lasting two to four months.


Find out more about AKTs with Essex here.

Essex funding opportunities

Corporate Partnership Fund

The Corporate Partnership Fund offers companies with an impressive scale (who are often excluded from certain grants due to turnover) up to £25,000 (excl. VAT) to work with experts from the University of Essex. The fund can be used to access consultancy or collaborative contract research projects from our world class researchers to help develop new products, solve problems or develop new training schemes. The fund can also be matched by the industry partner to create a larger budget.


  • Your project must have a research need which Essex can deliver (for example data science or plant yield innovation)
  • You should fall into larger company status and have potential for broader collaboration with the University. Ideally you will have multiple sites/office locations
  • The fund should not have been previously accessed by the same company.

Collaborate with us


Our academic experts have years of experience working with businesses and organisations of all sizes, regionally, nationally and internationally.

By drawing on one of our 800 academic experts across 17 subject-based departments, you can gain access to specialist consultants to engage on specific projects at a level to suit your needs. Whether it's a short-term consultancy agreement or an ongoing partnership, we have the expertise to meet your requirements.

Our expertise can be applied in many different ways, including:

  • technical advice on product development and process re-engineering
  • product testing and analysis
  • developing bespoke training sessions for you and your team on a specific topic
  • help with market research and business planning
  • survey and research design
  • expert advice on policy, legal and legislative issues

Find out more about Consultancy at Essex.

Commissioned and collaborative research

How it works

You can work with us in one of two ways.

  • If you need research in an area that you don't have expertise in yourself, or simply don't have sufficient resource to commit to a project, commission us to conduct a research project for you.
  • Your experts can collaborate with ours on strategic, funded projects of significance to your industry.

Commissioned research

You can commission our University's researchers to work on specific problems or opportunities. We have expertise in a number of key areas that allows us to deliver real benefits to businesses of all types and sizes, across a range of sectors.

Collaborative research

Collaborative research projects involve at least two collaborators, one of which is your business. They are funded by a range of organisations including research councils, trusts, charities and Innovate UK. These organisations support universities and industry to work together on strategically significant projects. We have a great deal of experience of working on collaborative projects and can help you access funding.

Find out more about commissioned and collaborative research.

IP Licensing

We have a number of novel technologies available for your business or organisation to license.

These can be developed into research collaboration opportunities and combined with support provided by our academic experts to deliver the greatest benefit to your business.

We work closely with businesses to develop technologies for commercial success, with a flexible approach to match our research with your needs.

Find out more about IP Licensing.

Other research and development funding

Innovate UK offers a huge range of schemes and resources to support businesses. Also, Horizon 2020 is an EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation with nearly €80 billion of funding available, so if you're considering European funding for a project we can help you explore your options. The UK's Research Councils also support a range of collaborative research projects in the UK, across all industry sectors.

Read more about our partnerships with business

University of Essex Business Engagement team
Talk to our team

Get the best value for money when investing in new services. Let us help you make informed, evidence-based decisions, and reduce the risks of change and innovation in your organisation.