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Evaluation of Nexxus


Nexxus was first launched in 2003 within the West of Scotland as a Life Sciences (LS) networking organisation. Its remit was extended to the East of Scotland in 2008. The project promotes and supports research excellence, innovation and knowledge transfer within the LS community through the provision of a range of services including: networking events; development of communication channels and marketing material to raise the profile of the LS cluster within Scotland and internationally; and business development services. Scottish Enterprise (SE) commissioned an independent evaluation of the project in 2010. The main objectives of the evaluation were to assess: the rationale for intervention; contribution to the Government Economic Strategy (GES); contributions to SE’s objectives for life science sector development; performance against project objectives and targets; management information and performance measures; the nature of project benefits including an economic impact assessment; quality of management and delivery; and overall usage, quality and demand associated with Nexxus’ services.


The study used the following research methods: desk research; survey questionnaires for businesses, non-businesses and stakeholders; a telephone survey with direct beneficiaries of Nexxus, including 123 businesses and 92 non-businesses (total 215 respondents, an overall response rate of 70%); interim reporting; case studies of beneficiaries; and analysis and interpretation of all primary and secondary evidence.


The nature and focus of Nexxus’ activities continue to fit well with the current SE response to government policy. In the context of LS, the project also continues to fit well with and contribute directly to the objectives of key Scottish Government and SE strategies. Market failure also continues to be addressed although diverse views were found among stakeholders on market adjustment over the period of Nexxus activities. Feedback from stakeholders indicated that there remain some intrinsic market failure issues that continue to require the support of a networking/facilitating function if they are to be addressed, regardless of what market adjustments have taken place. In terms of project benefits and impact, more than half of businesses surveyed reported that Nexxus had led to improved market awareness (60%) and allowed them to establish new links with companies (58%). This was followed in ranking of benefits by the establishment of new links with the science/research base (41%) and improved technical awareness (41%). A high proportion of non-businesses reported similar benefits. Across the population of companies which have used Nexxus services, it was estimated that the net GVA impact to date (2008/09 to 2010/11) including multipliers is £2.57 million and the future net GVA impact (2011/12 to 2015/16) is estimated to be £13.86 million. The project was found to be a generally well regarded initiative in terms of outputs and staff/management capabilities and delivery. The project’s weakness was perceived to be its restricted reach i.e. Central Belt only, although this was not regarded as an adverse criticism of what Nexxus itself has achieved. The findings suggest that networks need to have an international outlook, not just domestic for the benefit of members and any public sector stakeholders.


A series of recommendations were made that address the following issues: appropriateness of continuation of public sector funding; developments/modifications for Nexxus’ operation in future; relevant market segments for the future; and positioning with respect to other initiatives in Scotland.

Author SQW Consulting
Published Year 2011
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
    Life Sciences