Independent report

Evaluation of EPSRC’s Healthcare Impact Partnerships investment

An assessment of the value and impact of the HIP scheme, of the effectiveness of the funding opportunity processes, and of the opportunities for improvement.



Evaluation of EPSRC’s Healthcare Impact Partnerships investment: final report (PDF)

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EPSRC commissioned Technopolis to carry out an external review to:

  • understand the value and impact of the Healthcare Impact Partnerships (HIP) scheme (funded between 2013 and 2019)
  • provide evidence as to whether the scheme continues to address a need.

The evaluation covers four aspects and employs a mixed-methods approach, comprising:

  • desk research
  • primary data collection
  • case study development.

Main findings

Impact evaluation

Overall, the HIP scheme has been successful in engaging engineering and physical sciences (EPS) researchers and facilitating cross sectoral collaboration with industry and clinical stakeholders for the purpose of applying EPS research to healthcare. Technologies have progressed along the translational pathway and desired outputs and outcomes have emerged.

Enablers and barriers of effective translation

Barriers included:

  • technical challenges
  • adapting to the needs and ways of working in different sectors
  • staff turnover and recruitment
  • managing a large team
  • the long time needed for ethical approval and IP agreements.

Conversely, enablers include:

  • involvement of different sectors
  • previous experience of working together
  • geographical proximity of partners
  • common objectives providing a focus for research
  • access to expertise and facilities through partners.

Process evaluation

The HIP scheme is unique and fills a gap in the research landscape according to stakeholders. Achieving impact from research and progressing towards a healthcare application are the main motivations for researchers to apply to the scheme. On the whole, the HIP participants were satisfied with the scope and funding on offer. The funding opportunity and management processes were viewed favourably by the research community except for application timelines which was a source of dissatisfaction for some. A funding gap was identified between the HIP scheme and other follow-on funding, which could negatively impact on further development of the technology or approach in question.

Comparison of the HIP grants with the EPSRC’s standard-mode grants under the healthcare technologies theme

Analysis of Researchfish data suggests certain outputs and outcomes emerge slower and in fewer numbers from standard-mode grants compared to the HIPs.

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