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Project evaluation: Scottish Stem Cell Network


The Scottish Stem Cell Network (SSCN) was established in 2003 with funding for two years. The four aims of the project were to: develop a strong stem cell network to promote Scotland’s activities; raise Scotland’s profile to UK public sector research funding organisations; create an environment to retain and attract leading scientists and investment; and overcome barriers to effective exploitation of stem cell research. The evaluation aimed to: assess the extent to which the SSCN has achieved its objectives, benefits and additionalities; and take into account of both actual and anticipated achievements to the end of the first funding period. The evaluation also looked at the possible options for taking the project forward, with reference to: operational and governance structure; resource requirements; and potential alternative and complementary funding sources.


The evaluation methodology consisted of: project initiation (review of all relevant documents, teleconference with SEEL, agreed list of participants/stakeholders to be consulted); data collection (issue of briefing notes, 10 in-depth interviews, desk research on similar initiatives and knowledge transfer networks elsewhere); analysis (a look at objectives, benefits, additionalities and future options, and present interim review of draft conclusions); and reporting and presentation of findings (a report presented to key participants and stakeholders).


Overall, the SSCN has delivered significant value for Scotland as a result of funding from SE, effective chairmanship, and contributions from its Steering Committee. Notes that the interviews confirm that there have been notable successes with the SSCN’s activities, but that there are many potential areas for development which would have resource implications and/or involve interaction with other stakeholder organisations. Concludes that there is a need for a review of overall priorities and resources.


The evaluation recommends that the SSCN reviews, prioritises and adds focus and specificity to objectives as part of a review discussion with Scottish Enterprise. Makes a key recommendation that SSCN has made significant progress against those objectives where it was possible to make progress within the available time and limited resources. Notes that funding should be continued and enhanced where appropriate. Other recommendations include ensuring that: at least two meetings per year happen outside Edinburgh; and at least one part session on grant application opportunities takes place in a future meeting (with participation from relevant individuals from the MSC, BBSRC, DTI, etc). Suggests that the SSCN work with SE/SDI and other relevant stakeholder groups to review: specificity and ownership of commercial objectives; and scientific attraction/retention objectives of SSCN. Considers that the SSCN should work with SE/BIA and other relevant stakeholder groups to review specificity and ownership of objectives related to removing barriers to effective exploitation and determine resource implications.

Author Scientific Generics Ltd
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support
  • Sectors
    Life Sciences