Category Archive: Evaluation

Jun 20 2017

Low Carbon Innovation Fund evaluation

We undertook a three stage evaluation of the Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF), commissioned by the University of East Anglia (UEA). LCIF is a regional venture capital fund in the East of England funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the 2007-2014 programme. It has fully invested its funds of £20m+, intended for early stage equity investments in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which are developing new and innovative products, services or processes in a low carbon, environmentally sensitive manner.

Our final report is available, in summary (download) or in full on request to LCIF . We produced a further impact report in April 2017, on performance to the end of December 2016,

The Fund is operated by UEA as part of the Adapt Low Carbon Group and managed by City firm, Turquoise International.

The Initial Review concentrated on the management of the Fund from operational, strategic and financial perspectives, with the subsequent stages concerned progressively more with outcomes of the Fund: actual and likely impacts on company performance and jobs, and contributions to the low carbon objectives of ERDF in the region. Our recommendations have informed the delivery and marketing of the Fund, which is proving highly successful in attracting co-investment and fostering innovation.

We carried out the evaluation in conjunction with Futureneering Ltd, Cambridge-based consultants who bring complementary expertise in low carbon technologies.

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1313

Jun 20 2016

Venture capital for low carbon businesses

We prepared the first phase of an ex ante evaluation of the Low Carbon Innovation Fund England (LCIF England) on behalf of the Adapt Low Carbon Group at the University of East Anglia. This was proposed as an early stage venture capital fund to back growth businesses which are developing innovative products or processes in a low carbon, environmentally sensitive manner. It was progressed in collaboration with a number of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and intended to secure funding through European Union funding for 2014-20.

The concept of LCIF England was based on that of the successful Low Carbon Innovation Fund established under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme for the East of England 2007-2014. This fund has matched £20.5m ERDF with over £50m private sector co-investment, assisting 72 companies to access risk capital.

Our research concentrated on a market assessment, of the demand and supply of risk capital for innovative businesses, set in the strategic and policy context. We made full use of  relevant small business and equity capital research and data sources, including the very valuable Beauhurst database of deal activity which allows analysis at the level of Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Plans for LCIF England have had to be changed dramatically in the light of changes in ERDF policy and delivery arrangements, with procurement decisions in the hands of individual LEPs. Our research, however, provides a platform for a number of LEPs in taking their own, joint funds forward.

Ex Ante Evaluation
For any new fund, or ‘Financial Instrument’ in EU terms, there is a requirement to prepare an ‘ex ante evaluation’. This work is designed to ensure the development of robust business case for any fund, while meeting government and EU requirements. Objectives include:

  • substantiating the case for public funding, based on evidence of market failure in addressing funding gaps for growth businesses and added value a fund can bring
  • ensuring that lessons are learnt from the experience of relevant early stage VC funds such as LCIF
  • informing how the Fund will work: its investment strategy, its governance and management, and how it will work in participating LEP areas

We carried out the ex ante evaluation in conjunction with Futureneering Ltd of Cambridge. Together, we bring complementary expertise in economic development, low carbon technologies, risk capital and evaluation.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1319

Mar 20 2015

The work of the Communities & Local Government Committee

We submitted evidence, jointly with the Alliance for Useful Evidence, to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee on their 2014/15 inquiry into the work of the Committee since 2010CLG committee room. Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament

The Committee has a particular concern for strengthening the Committee’s use of evidence, and we were encouraged to submit evidence, given the experience of the Alliance in promoting higher standards and our research for the Alliance on local capacity and use of evidence (our report, Squaring the Circle).

In our submission, we highlighted capacity, skills and access to data at local level as significant areas of risk in dealing with notable challenges such as cutting the deficit, decentralising government, reducing pressures on health and social care and promoting local economic growth.

We argued that these issues should be considered in the course of future Committee inquiries, including looking at the difference that national initiatives such as the What Works Centres and the Public Service Transformation Network have been making. Particular attention should be given to issues surrounding the use evidence in central and local government negotiations, eg, on devolution deals.

There are opportunities for the Committee to strengthen its own use of evidence, in seeking out comprehensive research syntheses such as those provided by the What Works Centres. The Committee should consider the use of transparent and robust systems for weighing up evidence, drawing, eg, on HM Treasury’s Magenta Book on evaluation and standards of evidence used by bodies such as Project Oracle, Nesta and others.

The Committee has since published its report, acknowledging some of our suggestions not least on the need to draw on wider sources of evidence and apply standards such as those adopted by the international development body, Bond. (see our companion post here.)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1268

Dec 25 2013

What Works Centres – Guardian Live

In March 2013 the Guardian’s Public Sector Network ran a live chat on plans for What Works Centres, which are being promoted by the government to improve evidence for decision-making in a number of policy fields, including Local Economic Growth. thumbnail_What_Works_publication Derrick Johnstone was one of the panel members, along with Sam Markey from the Cabinet Office, Ruth Puttick from Nesta (author of ‘A NICE for Social Policy’), Jonathan Eastwood from Big Lottery Fund (co-funders of the new centre on Ageing Well), Julie Temperley from the Innovation Unit, and Phil Sooben from the ESRC (co-funders with BIS and CLG of the Local Economic Growth centre).

You can find out more about the Centres here and follow the Guardian discussion here.  Some key points were pulled out by the Guardian in a round up.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=1155

Dec 21 2010

Working Neighbourhoods Fund Project Study

Derrick Johnstone was commissioned as a Local Improvement Advisor (LIA) to help Communities and Local Government (CLG) gather a picture of the use and impact of the Working Neighbourhoods Fund (WNF) as of March 2010, updating the findings of the WNF Evaluation Scoping Report, which reviewed progress in implementing the programme a year earlier. Derrick advised on the approach to gathering the data and drew together a report based on information collected by a team of LIAs. The report,  published by the Department of Communities and Local Government, WNF Project Study, highlighted a range of good and innovative practices and available evidence of impact.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=267

Oct 20 2010

Carbon Connections evaluation

Carbon Connections was a low carbon innovation development fund led by the University of East Anglia (UEA). It was one of 11 three-year projects supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), under the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF) between 2007 and 2009.Educe were commissioned to assess the qualitative impact of the fund, and draw lessons and pointers to inform the strategic development of similar programmes. We provided UEA with an overall evaluation framework, with our research complementing other evaluative data from individual projects and a separate assessment of carbon reduction gains.The evaluation considered, amongst other things, forms of added value generated by the programme, the role of project co-ordinators as brokers/relationship managers, and perspectives from venture capital organisations and private sector partners.

UEA’s experience in managing Carbon Connections led to their success in securing ERDF funding for the Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF), a regional venture capital fund in the East of England aimed at SMEs who are developing innovative products, services or processes in a low carbon, environmentally sensitive manner. Educe have since been commissioned to undertake the evaluation of LCIF, in conjunction with Futureneering Ltd.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educe.co.uk/?p=250

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