Briefings & Evidence

Submission to the Innovation Centres Review

We have responded to the Independent Review of Innovation Centres Programme chaired by Professor Graeme Reid.

This independent review focuses on the delivery of the original vision, aims and objectives of the Innovation Centres Programme. The review will look at the progress and likely success of individual Innovation Centres, recognising that the review comes relatively early in the term of the programme.

The output of the review will be a report from Professor Reid to SFC’s Board in September 2016.

Read our full consultation response.

Key points in our response:

  • We are supportive of the vision for the Innovation Centres programme and welcome the chance to input to this Review.
  • We believe it is too early in the life of the whole Innovation Centre programme to accurately judge whether the Innovation Centres are delivering against the original vision.
  • Universities themselves, depending on their discipline mix, will interact with different Innovation Centres and therefore have, collectively, a diverse experience. The points of comparison each institution can provide will be useful in this Review to enable sharing of best practice and improvements across the programme.
  • In terms of cultural change within institutions, Innovation Centres can play an important part but we would highlight the significant efforts undertaken within universities to continue to embed a culture of Impact (including working with businesses) and to develop enterprise and entrepreneurial skills amongst staff and students.
  • The Review may usefully reflect on the new skills provision from the Innovation Centres including Masters provision and PhDs. Our discussions with industry representatives has, across the board, emphasised the critical importance of talent and Innovation Centres could add value here.
  • Scottish universities undertake world-leading research which is the key to the innovation system – there is the potential for this excellence in combination with initiatives such as the Innovation Centres to provide a unique Scottish brand which further leverages investment into Scotland, given the already strong performance of Scotland in attracting investment on the strength of research. This international aspect could be an important focus for the future of the Innovation Centres.
  • On the oversight of Innovation Centres, we believe a better connection at Board level will help to increase mutual understanding of process and practice so we consider that it would be valuable that there is an institutional /admin hub representative on the Innovation Centre boards (i.e. a senior officer representing the institution).
  • Joint working between public agencies in developing the Innovation Centres has been welcome. Additional thought might helpfully be applied to how companies engaged with Innovation Centres can call on enterprise body support and how the enterprise bodies might more systematically ‘refer in’ companies to Innovation Centres and universities more broadly.