Process evaluation of the UKRI infrastructure programme

Publication date: 29 June 2023 | Report language: EN

The UK’s past approach to prioritisation and decision-making for such science capital investments was criticised by the House of Lords (2013) and National Audit Office (2016), who called for the establishment of a more systematic and informed approach. In response, BEIS commissioned UKRI to conduct a long-term R&I infrastructure roadmap based on an understanding of existing UK infrastructure, future needs and resulting investment priorities. An initial programme of work resulted in the publication of the Opportunities to Grow our Capability Report (2019), which set out the UK’s future R&I infrastructure needs and opportunities. Alongside this, a Landscape Analysis report and an online InfraPortal were produced, cataloguing and analysing the current UK R&I infrastructure landscape. These outputs helped make the case for the establishment of a new Infrastructure Fund and informed a new UKRI-led process for investment prioritisation. This new approach and Fund had selected a portfolio of 23 Major Projects and 14 Scoping Projects by the end of 2022. UKRI commissioned Technopolis to undertake an independent process evaluation of the UKRI Infrastructure Programme, including the initial roadmap activities and subsequent strategic work and actions to prioritise investments. The evaluation was asked to assess the extent to which the Infrastructure Programme had delivered against its original intentions, the broader impact and strategic added value of these efforts, and any lessons learned in the process. The evaluation employed a desk-based review of relevant Programme documentation, plus semi-structured interviews with 32 stakeholders involved in the processes, to explore these topics and arrive at a series of findings and conclusions, which are presented within this report.