An old business gaining a new lease of life through Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) is an initiative led by Innovate UK. Through a KTP you can improve your business by working with an expert at a UK university or research organisation.

How a KTP helped Aberdeen Harbour Board embrace the future

Founded in 1136, Aberdeen Harbour Board (AHB) is the oldest company in the UK. The Board is responsible for one of the UK’s busiest Trust Ports and the home of lifeline services to the Northern Isles, as well as the premier European hub of support for the offshore oil and gas industry. With environmental sustainability being at the forefront of many business operations, AHB realised that an environmental management system (EMS) would allow them to improve environmental performance. This would lead to attracting new customers to the port, as well as retaining existing ones.

This Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) was set up to develop the port’s environmental management activity into a high quality digital environmental management system (EMS) that can respond effectively to changing legislative demands and a diverse range of operational activities.


The transfer of the EMS to a digital system has allowed for staff to have immediate access to up-to-date documents and a knowledge-bank of environmental information to aid in decision making. Reduced environmental impact and improved environmental management capability has improved AHB’s competitive position.


  • Appointment of a full-time environmental advisor has improved AHB’s capability to address environmental issues directly.
  • A reduction of waste and energy use on site have led to reduced costs.
  • AHB is now seen as a cleaner, greener place to do business, which has resulted in an increase of 22% in turnover during the KTP project.


"The KTP was both informative and enjoyable, and forged links with the University that will be beneficial to all concerned for many years to come. The harbour benefited by not only improving its environmental performance, but by changing public and customer perception of the area for the better."

Ken Reilly, Engineering Director, Aberdeen Harbour Board

“The KTP has exposed me to a breadth of activity that is not generally associated with graduates in their first job. This variety of experience, and the speed at which I was able to apply further ideas in relation to my already trusted and accredited capability, have boosted my professional confidence immensely”.

Patrick Jordan, KTP Associate

Learn More

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are designed to benefit everyone involved:

·         Businesses will acquire new knowledge and expertise

·         KTP Associates will gain business-based experience and personal and professional development opportunities

·         Universities, colleges or research organisations will bring their experience to enhance the business relevance of their research and teaching



“The KTP provides an excellent bridge between the academic community and the commercial environment”

- Dr Graeme Paton, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen

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