Innovation centres created by the Scottish Funding Council are safely on track to deliver economic benefit by driving collaboration between business and universities, a new report shows.
Earlier this year, the Board of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) commissioned an independent review of Scotland’s Innovation Centres programme. The review which was carried out by Professor Graeme Reid, Strategic Advisor at the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) has been published today (29 September).
Professor Reid was asked to assess whether the original vision developed for the Innovation Centres (IC) in 2012 is still valid and to suggest how this could be enhanced in the future.
Interim Chief Executive at The Scottish Funding Council, John Kemp said: “We want the innovation centres to stimulate greater collaboration between industry and academia. The feedback from this mid-term review is extremely encouraging and reinforces the potential of the innovation centre programme in its attempts to achieve transformational change for Scotland’s economy.”
During an intensive six-months, Professor Reid was supported by an economic impact analysis study produced by EKOS Ltd and an Advisory Committee as he reviewed written and oral evidence from a wide ranging group of stakeholders, including Innovation Centres, industry, universities, businesses and the programme partners (SFC, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise).
Following the publication of the report and its recommendations, Professor Graeme Reid, commented:
“My report provides a review of the programme at a halfway point in its funding to consider future developments that will ensure the programme continues on a trajectory towards its vision. The evidence shows that the Innovation Centres Programme is on the right track though some things can be improved further.
“Within my recommendations I have provided a realistic framework for action that can be taken forward by SFC, enterprise agencies, innovation centres and others.”
Programme partners, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise, have also commented on the report.
Charlotte Wright, Acting Chief Executive of Highlands & Islands Enterprise, said:
“Highlands and Islands Enterprise welcomes this report, recognising the benefits to be gained from an effective innovation system across Scotland. It is timely to take stock of how Scotland’s eight Innovation Centres are performing and to identify ways in which we can achieve further outcomes from this initiative. The university sector in general is already making a valuable contribution to the Highlands and Islands economy, and we look forward to working with partners to deliver the recommendations produced as an outcome of Professor Reid’s insights.”
Adrian Gillespie, Managing Director at Scottish Enterprise, said:
“Professor Reid’s review and recommendations are a timely and welcome opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the Innovation Centres to date, and how to build on them in the future. The Centres’ role in harnessing Scotland’s academic strengths is an important part of the innovation support system in Scotland.
“Our evidence shows that business innovation goes hand in hand with international growth. The work of the Innovation Centres complements our wider business innovation support, which in the last two years has enabled the companies we’ve worked with to forecast an additional £1 billion of sales, most of these in international markets.”