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See the latest news from SQW Consulting below, or click on the archive links to view news from previous years.

A paper by Kathrin Peters and Charles Monck was published in the proceedings of the 2009 Conference of the International Association of Science Parks (IASP), which aims to contribute to the discussion on the benefits and problems associated with the evaluation of science and technology parks. The paper starts by referring to previous evaluation exercises, then introduces a theoretical impact evaluation framework and reports on experience in applying the model to a specific case (Tamar Science Park). It then broadens the discussion of evaluation issues and ends by making practical suggestions for next steps to be taken by the international science park community, including the establishment of a working group to develop a common set of guidelines to assist the process. Click here to read the paper.


SQW was commissioned to undertake an evaluation of The Northern Way's initial phase of activity. The evaluation examined the set-up, decision-making and activities undertaken and funded over the 2004-08 period as well as the transition into the restructured priorities from the 2008/09 financial year. The evaluation was structured around the 10 initial Investment Priorities, two flagship projects and the city regions research activity, and also provided an overall assessment of the impact of The Northern Way to inform lessons going forward. The study was undertaken using the logic set out in the RDA Impact Evaluation Framework and developed new methodologies for assessing Strategic Added Value. Two reports have been published, as follows:


1. Summary report


2. Full report

In late 2008 SQW was commissioned to review local transport arrangements for post-16 learners in England and local authority transport partnerships. The principal purpose of the review was twofold: to identify challenges faced by local authorities in meeting their statutory duty to ensure learners of sixth-form age are provided with sufficient transport services and support to access learning; and to identify areas of good practice where local authorities (working with partners) are meeting or exceeding their statutory duty. The study was based on a detailed review of the 146 available Transport Policy Statements published by local authorities in 2008, as well as wide-ranging consultations and surveys involving many local authorities in England. The study produced several research reports and a good practice guide for local authorities, published by the Learning and Skills Council.


Click here to read the good practice guide.

SQW was commissioned by RCUK to undertake an independent study into open access to research outputs. LISU (Loughborough University) acted as our sub-contractors. The purpose of the study was to identify the effects and impacts of open access on publishing models and institutional repositories in the light of national and international trends. Welcoming the study, Professor Ian Diamond, Chair of the RCUK Executive Group said: "This excellent study sets out a way forward for the UK Research Councils in relation to open access, building on the extensive activities already supported through repositories such as UK PubMed Central and ESRC Society Today. The Research Councils look forward to working with their partners across the research community to consider the options." In response to the study, the Chief Executives of the Research Councils have agreed that over time the UK Research Councils will support increased open access, by: building on their mandates on grant-holders to deposit research papers in suitable repositories within an agreed time period, and extending their support for publishing in open access journals, including through the pay-to-publish model.


To read the report click here.

This new guide by SQW, born out of the firm's extensive experience, takes forward the debate on impact evaluation. Its aim is to challenge existing evaluation practice and improve outcomes - testing the rationale for intervention, evaluating impact and assessing value for money. It argues for use of more sophisticated evaluation techniques to provide evidence on intermediate and GVA outcomes as they persist over time, greater use of cost benefit analysis, and a more harmonised approach to public policy and investment decisions. To read the guide, click here.


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