Evaluation of the Spinno Programme, 2003
This report was prepared by SQW Limited following a mid-term evaluation of the SPINNO programme commissioned by Enterprise Estonia (EAS). The SPINNO Programme was launched by EAS to strengthen the national system of innovation in Estonia and in turn, help to increase the competitiveness of the Estonian economy through the development of new science-intensive economic activity.
As the Programme only began in 2001 and some of the projects experienced delays in setting up, outputs generated so far have been fairly limited. It was therefore agreed that the main emphasis of the review would be to produce a forward look analysis. The study was undertaken between 9th and 13th June 2003 during which discussions were held with staff from Enterprise Estonia, the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Communication and Ministry of Education and Research and with project participants based in two HEIs. These discussions were extremely valuable but do not represent an in-depth survey of the programme and its impacts. As such we have relied on the views of those consulted, and some previous reports, in order to make an assessment of the need for SPINNO and its current position.
In summary, the views of those consulted are that:
- the original rationale for SPINNO – a need to develop capabilities in the universities and change academic attitudes towards interactions with business – was valid when the programme was launched and remains valid today
- the more specific objectives of SPINNO are appropriate given its rationale. It is too early to assess whether objectives have been met. There are, however, some encouraging signs, especially in relation to the first established project (TTU)
- the programme appears to have been efficiently managed. We believe that the resources devoted to some projects may be over generous given the likely levels of activity, but we do not consider this a major concern at present
- two of the projects are considering actively how their projects might be sustained without SPINNO funding. The third, on present plans, will not continue post-funding
- the projects would almost certainly not have gone ahead without SPINNO funding