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Evaluation of the effectiveness of investments in multi-user scientific facilities: final report


Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian’s (SEE&L) Biotechnology team’s investment in open-access facilities, at local research institutions and universities, aimed to: enable SMEs to have access to equipment and facilities they would be unable to purchase themselves; and facilitate an awareness of the existence of such facilities to SMEs and other businesses. The evaluation aimed to assess four open-access facilities within the Lothians and indicate the effectiveness of existing investments to assist SEE&L when considering future investments.


The evaluation consisted of: face-to-face interviews with contacts from the institutions responsible for managing the facilities; and analysis of written information on the facilities’ commercial usage.


Believes that the present strategy of investments in multi-user scientific facilities has been a success and will be effective in the future. Marketing budgets have attracted a number of high-profile customers. Finds that the facilities catered for a large number of different user types. The geographical location of the users was also widespread. For each of the commercial facilities, a minimum of 20% (rising to 50%) of the operational time was spent on usage by commercial entities. The commercial effectiveness of facilities depends on various factors.


Recommends that facilities should be technically ‘first-rate’, with appropriate technical back-up. Suggests the importance of the ability and freedom of the facility to pursue commercial collaboration without undue interference from the hosting organisation. Recommends that management issues are addressed and agreed prior to future investments, to ensure the strategy’s continuing success. Observes that strong, independent commercial people are required to met the objective of attracting an influx of commercial customers. Concludes that further carefully selected and monitored investments are likely to have a positive impact on the creation of jobs and SMEs in the Lothians biotechnology sector.

Author Providea Ltd (Mark Davison, Mari McCrossan)
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Innovation
    Business innovation, Innovation system
  • Sectors
    Life Sciences