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Evaluation of the IRC network: final report


The Innovation Relay Centre (IRC) Network Scotland aimed to: improve firms’ competitiveness; assist in the commercialisation of R&D and in technology transfer more generally; and facilitate the take-up of EU research results. The evaluation was undertaken during September and October 2002 and aimed to: assess the service’s cost effectiveness and efficiency; discuss the quantitative and qualitative benefits derived to firms; consider leading practice in the field of technology transfer; position the IRC service within the context of SE’s wider business transformation activities; and design a monitoring and evaluation framework.


The methodology consisted of: desk research; consultations; an organisational review; client research; synthesis and analysis; and a team and SE workshop.


Suggests that the IRC Scotland network has developed significantly and achieved a good level of impact. Observes that the IRC has contributed to improving competitiveness and encouraging commercialisation and technology transfer. Suggests that its influence of Research and Technology Development (RTD) take-up has been less successful. Finds that through IRC involvement, firms derived funding benefits and other associated benefits, built links with universities, and enhanced their international focus. However firms did not exploit the intellectual property derived from participation (unlike their EU counterparts).


Overall, recommends that IRC place greater emphasis on support to firms. Considers that the operation may be better integrated within SE’s wider innovation activity. Recommends positioning the Co-ordinator within SE rather than within one of the delivery organisations. Suggests that the IRC encourages those firms that exhibit most potential to exploit opportunities, and target resources at those who might generate most return. Makes specific recommendations about RTD, Transnational Technology Transfer, converting contacts to deals, IRC targets, positioning and linkage, and wider developmental activities.

Author O’Herlihy and Co Ltd
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Innovation
    Commercialisation, Business innovation, Innovation system