Evaluation of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI)

Steer Economic Development and partners including the Economics and Strategy Group (ESG) at Aston Business School, and specialist survey firm, Qa Research has been commissioned, by Innovate UK, to evaluate Pre Commercial Procurement of research and development, the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI).

SBRI comprises challenge led procurement initiatives, deployed across Whitehall Departments, aimed at i) generating new solutions to public policy challenges through the development of new products and services and ii) stimulating innovation and growth within SME firms.

This evaluation is seeking to do three things:

  1. Assess the impact of SBRI across the UK, including assessing the impact of SBRI on Departments’ behaviours and attitudes relating to demand-led innovation, as well as the cost savings to public bodies resulting from the use of SBRI outputs;
  2. Understand the extent to which participating in SBRI activity helps business participants in bringing to market new products or services, and/or in using new processes which contribute to improved business performance; and
  3. Measure the extent to which SBRI-funded projects have led to other additional beneficial changes in participating businesses and government departments.

The evaluation process will use a range of mixed methods, including:

  • Case studies of funded SBRI projects, identifying the lessons learnt;
  • Extensive consultation with stakeholders from across government departments and industry, to understand the variety of ways in which SBRI is being deployed;
  • Surveys of participating and non-participating firms; and
  • Data assessment, including a counterfactual analysis to establish the impacts and additionality of SBRI funding.

The evaluation is expected to conclude in Spring 2021.


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