Newcastle University appointed New Skills Consulting and Ortus Economic Research to undertake an independent evaluation of the Arrow Innovation Project. The Arrow programme introduces a new model for innovation support in higher education, with the creation of a specialist team of innovation advisers working with client companies and drawing in academic expertise from across the University. The key point of difference is that the academic input is highly focused, managed by the innovation advisers and only brought in where value can be added. The innovation advisers’ role in delivering the majority of the innovation support means that one of the key barriers to engagement for HE in the field of innovation (the difficulties associated with building relationships between academics and small and medium sized businesses – SMEs) is lowered.
The main aims of the evaluation are to assess the overall effectiveness and impact of the Project; and identify good practice and lessons learned. The evaluation findings will be used by the University to inform the development of similar innovation programmes in the future, and to shape the University’s ongoing engagement with the SME community on research and innovation.