Frontier is leading a multi-year evaluation of the Driving Electric Revolution Challenge, in partnership with ERM and BMG Research.
Findings from a process and interim impact evaluation have just been published. It is a £80 million programme, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the UKRI Challenge Fund. The Challenge, which began in 2019, focuses on increasing the commercialisation and development of the Power Electronics, Machines and Drives (PEMD) value chain in the UK. These are critical technologies to support electrification and help the UK meet its Net Zero commitments.
The interim evaluation findings suggest the Challenge has made a promising start against key objectives. Our evaluation provides an early assessment of the contribution made by the Challenge to a series of thematic evaluation questions, developed from a Theory of Change relating the Challenge’s activities to its intended impacts. Evidence to inform the evaluation was drawn from:
- a survey of Challenge beneficiaries
- monitoring data
- evaluative case studies of particular projects, activities and themes.
The evaluation finds that the Challenge has so far performed well against its main objectives with no strong ‘early warning’ signs. The Challenge appears to have:
- run the collaborative research and development competitions well
- facilitated knowledge transfer and skills activities
- guided competition winners in the development of their projects
- catalysed significant levels of co-investment
- improved collaboration amongst the UK PEMD ecosystem
- delivered positive impacts on innovation and commercialisation.
Significant recommendations for areas of focus and development include:
- skills, where a programme of activities has just begun, which emerge as a significant hurdle for the PEMD supply chain
- major investment in the Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centres (DER-IC) has potential to general impacts. But the DER-IC need to be publicised more widely across the sector for their impact and potential legacy to be fulfilled.
The interim impact evaluation is an early assessment of the Challenge, as some activities are still to be undertaken and many are currently live and are not fully realised yet. The impact of the Challenge is therefore still in relatively early days, and the final evaluation (later next year) will present a better picture of what the Challenge has achieved.
So promising signs, but there is still further to go for the Challenge to give UK PEMD the desired boost to build £5 billion more PEMD products in the UK by 2025.
Read the full report here.
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