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Electronics: 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 electronics 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. Approximately 15 interviews were then held with appropriate Scottish Enterprise staff, industry representatives, knowledge centres, and intermediate institutes. The main findings and conclusions have been tested with independent sector experts and reviewed by relevant SE stakeholders.


The electronics industry Action Plan focused on three priority areas: skills, research and development, and supply chain development. Due to the early stage of project delivery, there are no completed projects to date. Early feedback from beneficiaries about the value of the projects offered is encouraging, although it is not possible at this stage to measure the contribution of the interventions to the industry as a whole, as monitoring is only carried out at individual project level. The industry has suffered considerable job losses since 2000, but the counterfactual is unable to be measured. Despite a considerable reduction in the size of the industry, the SE electronics team can point to some early successes in achieving their broad aims to improve indigenous capabilities. The team is exploiting links with other horizontal support measures provided by SE and by other public sector agencies to maximise the amount of support that can be offered to the industry.


There needs to be an effective means of achieving comprehensive access by SE to the target companies. SE should consider the effectiveness of its link with the trade association Electronics Scotland and the industry Action Plan, and how other links may be strengthened to achieve a successful and comprehensive interaction with target industry. More measurable goals against specific programme-wide activities are needed in order to demonstrate wider progress. As SE's support projects to the electronics industry are well-regarded, there is scope for offering some of them to other high technology sectors.

Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support