Exchanging and embedding knowledge

Access £9.3m EU support funds for small businesses

The Knowledge Exchange and Embed Partnerships (KEEP+) is a business support programme, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, which enables small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access knowledge and expertise through collaboration with the university sector.

KEEP+ will provide your business with flexible opportunities for innovation, with a focus on developing new products or services, increasing profitability, reducing costs, providing opportunities to collaborate and accessing graduate talent.


The range of interventions below can cover a wide variety of business needs and scenarios, and all are subject to financial assistance from the European Regional Development Fund and SME eligibility criteria (see eligibility details below).

Knowledge Exchange and Embed Partnership (KEEP)

A three-way collaboration between a business, a University and a graduate employee who will work with the business to achieve agreed goals. (Limited capital funding may also be available to support the approved collaborative activity.)

Research and Innovation Collaboration (RIC)

A collaborative research and development activity for projects requiring more feasibility work and greater levels of research support than a KEEP.(Limited capital funding may also be available to support the approved collaborative activity.)

Innovation internships

A 12-week placement within a company enabling graduates to work in a role aligned with their qualification, and giving businesses access to the expertise needed to bring their products or services to market.


Depending on which part of KEEP+ you access, benefits include:

  • Access to academic experts and an enthusiastic graduate to spearhead your project and grow your business
  • Obtaining access to and greater awareness of potential markets for development of your business
  • Receiving assistance for the development and design of new products/services
  • Increasing your competitive advantage
  • Potential to increase your profitability
  • Accessing support for innovation and business improvement
  • Exploring new ideas
  • Bringing new knowledge into your business

Funding and costs

The KEEP+ programme is a match-funded activity, with part of the cost of each activity being met by the European Regional Development Fund and part by the beneficiary SME. SME match funding contributions are generally 50% for revenue costs and 70% for capital costs.


To qualify for KEEP+ funding, your business will need to meet the following initial criteria:


Find out more about KEEP+
Find out more about KEEP+
Josh Marshall Business Development Manager
Telephone:  01206 873323

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