Time to share knowledge - By Peter Dirken, KTN Programme Manager, Technology Strategy Board
The Knowledge Transfer Networks, or KTNs, are becoming an increasingly potent force for innovation in the UK.
Funded primarily by the Technology Strategy Board, KTNs are communities of individual innovators and experts who come together ? from both business and research ? to share knowledge in a specific field.
Together, the KTNs form a ?network of networks? which embraces the open innovation concept to promote new ideas and share knowledge ? within the communities, and also between them. These crossovers between sectors that share knowledge ? for example aerospace and the creative industries, or transport and energy generation and supply ? often spark the most surprising and ground-breaking innovations.
Membership of the KTNs has grown rapidly since 2007, when the Technology Strategy Board inherited the portfolio of networks from the then DTI, from fewer than 20,000 members to over 50,000 who want to share knowledge. 75% of KTN membership is from business (of which 60-80% are from SMEs), while 15-20% of members are academics.
KTNs help businesses innovate by providing access to networking and partnering opportunities where they can share knowledge, and up-to-date knowledge on markets, technology developments and sources of finance. Among the resources available to KTN members are free access to services such as market and technology reports, newsletters, webinars/e-training, events diaries, e-conferencing and other tools to help share knowledge and general sector/application-specific information. In short, they put companies and innovators in contact with the knowledge and funding that they need to bring new products and processes to market. Collectively, the membership also informs the Technology Strategy Board, UK government and EU policy-makers on which areas are important to UK business and where the innovation potential lies.
Online working is an important element in the way the Knowledge Transfer Networks operate, and in April 2010 a new web space is being launched to facilitate online collaboration, another way to share knowledge both within and across KTNs. Called _connect, this tool, developed by the Technology Strategy Board, will use the power of social media techniques to create a new force to share knowledge in the UK.
For more information on Knowledge Transfer Networks please visit www.innovateuk.org
In England, Knowledge Transfer Networks are part of the government?s Solutions for Business portfolio under the heading of Networking for Innovation.
Added the 14 April 2010 in category Innovation UK Vol6-1