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Interim evaluation of the Institute for System Level Integration (ISLI): final report


The Institute for System Level Integration (ISLI) was set up by Scottish Enterprise (SE) to fill the gap between industry and academia in the field of electronic product design and technology. Its objectives were to deliver postgraduate and professional education and training, stimulate industry-based innovation, and undertake pre-competitive research through its university network. The evaluation's aims were to assess the ISLI intervention's economic impact and its success as measured against its objectives, and to make recommendations on the future of SE funding of ISLI after 2010.


Desk research was conducted using monitoring, financial performance and project activity data, and other relevant documentation. Consultations were undertaken with SE, ISLI, universities and relevant companies. Impact modelling and evaluation was also carried out.


ISLI has been successful in meeting, or exceeding, its performance targets in a number of areas including the level of CPD activity and the amount of research funding leveraged. The Design Team performance is not clear as the activity is reported in a different way to the targets. Financial reporting systems are clear and well managed. ISLI has seen a period of income growth despite challenging circumstances. SE subsidy levels have dropped but continue to be necessary, although it is expected that public subsidy levels will drop further as income grows and efficiencies are sought by ISLI. Reporting procedures to SE could be improved. The net impact of ISLI between April 2005 and the end of 2007 is estimated at around £16 million. ISLI has addressed the challenges set out in the previous evaluation of 2004, which concerned value for money.


Six options were put forward for the future of ISLI: wind up the organisation as a single entity; break the organisation up into its constituent activities; relocate to a university campus; remain in the current location in Livingston; relocate to West Lothian College; or continue with only industry-facing, research and CPD activities. It was recommended that ISLI work with SE over the remainder of the current contract to determine the best way forward.

Author DTZ
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies
  • Innovation
    Business innovation, Innovation system
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Skills Development