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Evaluation of Innovation Centre Programme 2023 - Summary


Innovation Centres (ICs) were established to bring the expertise and capabilities of Scotland’s universities, research institutes, colleges and businesses, to address industry demand-led opportunities to support growth in the Scottish economy. The evaluation focused on the delivery of the IC programme over Phases 1 and 2. ICs were part way through Phase 2 and approaching 10 years of operations, when it was undertaken. It was commissioned by the IC’s funders: Scottish Funding Council (SFC), Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise and was undertaken by Additional Research with several sub-contractors. The evaluation aimed to understand: the outcomes and impacts achieved to date by the ICs; how they had delivered against their objectives; how they had evolved alongside industry and the academic ecosystem; and the value for money received for the public sector investment.


The approach involved a literature review, one-to-one interviews with 70 stakeholders, a series of beneficiary case studies, a survey of IC clients, a survey of students and a survey of wider stakeholders. The research was undertaken between August 2022 and March 2023.


This evaluation provided strong evidence that the ICs were delivering against the programme’s vision and that they were bringing overall benefits to the Scottish economy, and society more generally, through supporting opportunities for industry and academia to work collaboratively. The economic benefits were more limited, but this may reflect the time it takes for innovation support to produce commercial benefits. The Evaluation found ICs were playing a substantial role in building innovation ecosystems, delivering innovation outcomes and impacts for the private sector, and in many cases, Third Sector and public sector organisations.


A number of recommendations were made that were mainly addressed to the ICs and SFC rather than Scottish Enterprise. The evaluation informed the Innovation Centre Infrastructure Assessment process which assessed the ICs’ suitability for SFC Infrastructure Investment. Individual IC Annexes are available on request, from Jenny Jamieson, Policy Officer, Research & Innovation, Scottish Funding Council.

Author Additional Research
Published Year 2024
Report Type Research
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support, Support to existing/growth businesses
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Skills Development