Evaluating a £4.5 million nanotechnology innovation programme

Supporting SMEs to develop new high-tech products and increase employment


Collaborative Outreach to SMEs in Applied Surface Engineering Technologies (COAST) is £4.5 million ERDF funded programme.

COAST is an innovation programme to support the delivery of high-tech products based on engineered surfaces and advanced polymer composites, such as nanotechnology.

Delivered by The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) and Durham University, COAST is providing financial and non-financial support to UK SMEs in transitional areas.

The objectives and targeted outputs for this programme include support to develop new products and to increase employment.

Urban Foresight was commissioned to provide a summative assessment of COAST, comprising a combination of desk research and primary data analysis.

Our desk research collated and analysed data from internal monitoring and external benchmarking. This defined the extent to which the objectives of the project had been met.

Surveys and interviews were also conducted with beneficiaries and key project stakeholders to gather qualitative insights on project impact and lessons learnt.

The findings were translated into a detailed summative assessment report. This conformed to the format specified by the European Regional Development Fund, and the Ministry for  Housing, Communities, and Local Government.

The report included a review of whether the programme had achieved the stated aims and contracted outputs. This included appraisal of the initial logic plan and completion of committed deliverables.

Our economic analysis calculated an expression of value for money based on the cost per job created. It also defined the achieved return on investment.

Finally, the findings of the qualitative review were summarised into clear statements of what had worked and why. This provided insights to support the design and delivery of similar programmes.


Image credit: L N