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Evaluation of SE funded pre commercial research projects: the Commercialisation Awards


The Commercialisation Awards (CAs) were small scale grants made available to the University of Dundee and the Scottish Crop Research Institute to take forward a specific piece of research with commercial potential. Funding was provided for both life sciences and digital media projects. The projects were typically up to 12 months and allowed for the funding of a post within the Institution. The main objectives of the Awards were to: enhance the existing research already carried out in the life sciences and digital media sectors and to help bridge the gap between academic research and commercially viable opportunities; contribute to the Scottish Enterprise (SE) strategic objective of supporting the development of the academic base and increasing the commercialisation of academic research and development; and recruit and retain talented individuals with key skills. This report presents the findings of the review of the CAs which forms part of a review of the SE investment in pre-commercialisation research projects, which also covers the larger Stem Cell Translational Fund. It provides an assessment of the progress and learning from the delivery of the project.


The study involved a desk-based review of project information, and consultation with principal investigators (PIs)/project staff and stakeholders involved in the development and management of the project.


The review found that the CA projects on the whole met and addressed their main objectives. For a relatively modest level of SE investment, project activity has progressed towards a commercial outcome, and in one case achieved it. In many cases further work is required to achieve commercial outcomes, which is not unexpected. The delivery arrangements were widely regarded as appropriate and fit for purpose in those Institutions/Institutes where the CAs were taken up, although greater levels of checks and balances may be required if the model is replicated more widely. There were some significant tangible and intangible outputs and outcomes arising from the Awards, including patents, collaborative working, publications and licences, although this has not translated into GVA for Scotland at this stage. The CA project has in most cases built on existing research but also been the catalyst to test a new idea or process, and to provide the evidence as to whether there is merit in taking this work to the next stage. In a majority of cases, further funding has been secured to take the research further, and patents have been filed or are in the process of being filed. The projects have also resulted in the upskilling of participants. All recipients of the CAs indicated that without the CA activity would have lapsed, remained at the basic research stage, or taken significantly longer to obtain funding.


No specific recommendations were made.

Author Ekosgen
Published Year 2011
Report Type Evaluation
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies, Life Sciences
  • Innovation