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Evaluation of SE funded pre commercial research projects: the Stem Cell Translational Fund


The Stem Cell Translational Fund (SCTF) is a ring fenced £5 million fund established by Scottish Enterprise (SE) to match fund translational stem cell activity. Its main purpose is to further the clinical development of regenerative therapies utilising stem cell research across Scotland. Other objectives included to: attract international companies to collaborate with Scottish researchers resulting in inward investment and possible co-location; improve the reputation of Scotland as a primary global location for stem cell clinical trials resulting in more clinical trials being conducted; and drive private sector development of new medical device products to support regenerative therapies by 2011. This report presents the findings of the review of the SCTF which forms part of a review of SE investment in pre-commercialisation research projects, which also covers the Commercialisation Awards. It provides an assessment of the project’s rationale, delivery processes, outputs, outcomes and routes to impact. It also identifies key learning points, which may potentially maximise the impact of the SCTF and its projects.


The study involved a desk based review of all project documentation, project plans and final project reports (where available); consultation with principal investigators (PIs) and project staff; and interviews with key stakeholders involved in the development and management of the project.


The review found that the majority of SCTF projects are generally still far away from demonstrating commercial outcomes, although the SCTF has progressed projects closer to commercialisation. Some projects have achieved a number of outputs and outcomes including patents, licences, new collaborations and follow-on work. One of the projects has secured over £3 million in additional funding to take forward findings from the SCTF project which facilitated the employment of 10 full-time employees and eventually led to a spin out company. The SCTF has also enhanced the credibility of the stem cell sector in Scotland, particularly its expertise in translational research. One PI reported that their work through the SE funded project is generating queries from international companies having an interest in advancing therapies in Scotland. Moreover, the projects have resulted in the upskilling of participants. Consultees placed strong emphasis on learning as one of the most significant outcomes of the SCTF project. Four types of knowledge enhancement were identified: improved scientific expertise; better understanding of regulatory requirements; improved project management skills; and improved understanding of the commercialisation process. The findings suggest that without SCTF support, the projects would have remained at the basic research stage or have been severely delayed.


No specific recommendations were made.

Author Ekosgen
Published Year 2011
Report Type Evaluation
  • Innovation
  • Sectors
    Life Sciences