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Aerospace: Evaluation of Intervention with Clusters and Industries


The Evaluation of Intervention with Clusters and Industries in Scotland aims to be a learning evaluation for Scottish Enterprise (SE) on the policy interventions pursued to date. The research objectives for this study focus on five principal learning areas: the appropriateness of cluster and industry policies and strategies; the rationale of programme selection and design in the light of strategic intent; the efficacy of cluster and industry interventions seeking to improve critical factor inputs; learning lessons and the adaptation and evolution of the approach; and broader SE support and resourcing. This report is one of the fifteen cluster- and industry-specific reports that have been prepared as background to the main report. In relation to the aerospace industry, the report focuses on: the rationale behind SE involvement in the cluster and the appropriateness of the strategy; how the cluster work has rolled out in practice and in light of expectations; and the lessons learnt and how SE should go forward.


The report has been primarily based on a desk review of the individual clusters and industries - collected and collated by SE and ECOTEC jointly. Nine interviews were held with SE staff, industry representatives and intermediate institutions. The main findings have been reviewed by SE stakeholders.


The skills set of the cluster team is a key element in establishing SE’s credibility with industry and in developing appropriate strategic responses to the aerospace industry’s needs. It has been advantageous to adopt the industry approach over the account management approach so that the team can: develop an overall picture of the industry; create initiatives for the industry; draw on relevant SE products; and give SE access to key players. SE has succeeded in bringing the industry together around key projects and a Scottish aerospace strategy. The strategy links project outputs and outcome impacts very well. Outcomes include: a strengthened sector identity; greater links between industry and national programmes; an improvement in the business environment; and a boost in the industry’s confidence by the successful engagement with industry and increased sector identity. There is limited evidence on impacts because the SE intervention is relatively recent. There are few identified impacts emerging from SE supported or facilitated activities. The report suggests that companies may be sympathetic and supportive of the industry initiatives but not yet fully committed to them.


The team leader should possess the appropriate skills set or receive training and support until these skills are developed. Members of the industry should have experience of the aerospace industry to help with the development of strategy and initiatives. The report suggests that an organisation should be identified to succeed SE. If the selected organisation is SBAC, then there needs to be an assessment of the overlap between SBAC and the Centre for Excellence. The industry should determine whether its links should broaden with other industries and clusters. The report recommends that electronics and energy are clusters with which aerospace can develop links, because the technical nature of these industries provides new market opportunities.

Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support