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Knowledge Exchange and Embed Partnerships (KEEP+)



KEEP+ is a £9.3m European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) supported programme, which opened on 1st January 2017, providing grants to support Small and Medium Sized Businesses (SMEs) to access knowledge and expertise through collaboration with Universities and research institutions.

KEEP+ provides flexible opportunities for knowledge exchange with a focus on innovation to develop new products and services, increase profitability, reduce costs, provide opportunities to collaborate and access graduate talent.

KEEP+ is open to SMEs with their registered head office within England, as per Companies House records, with the programme’s core geographical focus being the following four Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas:

KEEP+ is a partnership of seven delivery partners who are working together to promote the programme.


The range of opportunities available via the KEEP+ programme can cover a variety of business needs and scenarios. All interventions are subject to financial assistance from the European Regional Development Fund.

Depending on which part of KEEP+ is best suited to your needs, by accessing the programme your business will benefit from:

  • Access to academic experts and gain the services of an enthusiastic graduate to spearhead your project and grow your business
  • Securing academic and graduate talent to bring new knowledge into your business.
  • Support for innovation and business improvement.
  • Assistance for the development and design of new products/services.
  • Potential to increasing your competitive advantage and profitability.

The KEEP+ Programme can offer your company expertise you do not already possess and in the case of KEEPs (see below) that expertise will be embedded into your organisation for future use and benefit.

The range of interventions below can cover a wide variety of business needs and scenarios:

  • 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.
  • Knowledge Exchange and Embed Partnerships (KEEPs) – 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 Collaborations (RICs) – 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)


To register your interest in the KEEP+ programme and find out more about how the programme can help you, get in touch with our University’s Knowledge Exchange Team.

Case Study - Element Softworks

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