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EPIS Phase 2 Evaluation: final report


The Edinburgh Pre-Incubator Scheme (EPIS) is a highly successful initiative for the University of Edinburgh, which is widely regarded as a cost-effective way of marshalling local resources such as academic departments and business people to help innovators take ideas forward. The evaluation was commissioned to look at the issues involved in the expansion of a similar scheme or schemes across Scotland and to recommend how such a rollout could be achieved.


The methodology included a review of EPIS and identification of success factors, which was supplemented by consultation with most universities in Scotland and workshops that were held in all but one of the universities that participated.


The scheme generated widespread interest among universities and it is found that there is potential untapped demand. It is suggested that if the scheme were expanded into other universities, the extra promotion and extra networks of students, staff and entrepreneurs will undoubtedly unlock further demand. EPIS’s emphasis on SMEs and the expansion of horizons beyond just commercialising university generated IP was broadly consistent with many universities’ commercialisation agendas. The success of Edinburgh’s scheme is found to be largely the result of enthusiasm of the team running EPIS. It is clear that they have different skills and qualities to conventional university IP commercialisation staff; therefore recruiting such individuals is likely to be a significant task. The workshops revealed a widespread appetite among Scottish universities to dip their toes into a scheme while not immediately committing to a major scheme of their own.


It is recommended that the scheme can, and should, be expanded but that any such expansion should preserve the entrepreneurialism of the existing scheme. It is suggested that a stand-alone Scottish pre-incubation scheme should be created, but only if a leader can be found and given enough autonomy, to build on EPIS and make it work at a national level. If this is not possible then it is recommended that EPIS be replicated in a very small number of other universities (or clusters of universities).

Author Sagentia
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Entrepreneurship/new firm formation