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Strategic review of South of Scotland Innovation System


The South of Scotland Innovation System Initiative (SoSISI) aims to increase the level of innovative activity within the South of Scotland (covering Dumfries and the Scottish Borders), and facilitate the interaction for new and growing businesses with the Scottish innovation system. This is delivered through a number of project activities that will support business innovation, including a human networking project and knowledge transfer project. This report summarises the results of a strategic review of the initiative, to assess the progress made, and to inform future developments of the programme.


The methodology consisted of consultation with stakeholders, staff, delivery partners and beneficiaries. Feedback was sought from beneficiaries, both as a sample of companies in a telephone consultation, and a broader on line survey. Some good practice from other regional innovation system studies is also highlighted.


Although this initiative is only at the early stages of delivery, already some conclusions can be drawn from the review. The strategic rationale is viewed to still be valid, with the project addressing the market failures identified in the initial research. Both projects have progressed well against some targets, but have been slow in delivering the more outcome focused targets, with regards to new products and services. Beneficiaries have responded positively to the initiative, although it is too early to record economic impact. Evidence of progress has, however, been gathered. The projects had a large influence on changing attitudes towards networking and increasing the awareness/understanding of innovation. Some benefits had already been seen by companies, including new products, increased sales, new markets and suppliers. Although benefits had often not yet accrued, beneficiaries highlighted that in the future, the projects would allow them to further explore new collaborative ventures and establish informal innovation networks, with the vast majority keen to have further engagement with the initiative. Stakeholders are generally supportive, understand the objectives of the initiative, think it is focusing on the right elements and fits well with other innovation support. Academic partners and external stakeholders, although generally supportive of the initiative, are less aware of its objectives, have had less engagement and were therefore less able to contribute to the review.


The review highlights a number of recommendations in relation to: achieving targets; building a measurement framework; focused engagement; smarter working; further research; partners for delivery; and awareness raising.

Author EKOS Ltd
Published Year 2010
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses
  • Innovation
    Business innovation, Innovation system