Research & Evaluation
Project Examples

Innovas works extensively with its clients to support their organisational objectives by providing evidence-based research and evaluation.

These project examples represent a small sample of the work of Team Innovas.

NHS Research, Evaluation & Impact Assessments

Since 2009 Innovas has also been working with the NHS and since 2013 with the NHS Leadership Academy (national) in the support, delivery and evaluation of various interventions/programmes. Examples include:


Graduate Management Training Scheme (GMTS) Programme Review 2021-23: The national review and evaluation of this flagship programme is focused on understanding the impact the programme has had on the careers of its participants; ensuring it remains relevant and current; reviews the focus of the learning and specialities; and ensure it is ‘fit for the future’. It includes multiple work streams, surveys, focus groups, and extensive consultation and research.

Leading for System Change 2021- ongoing: This is a formative evaluation supporting the development and delivery of this System Leadership Programme which is now in the process of being rolled out to ICSs nationally. It includes a range of Online Surveys, interviews, and virtual focus groups, as well as ICS stakeholder interviews and a self-assessment based on a ‘System Leadership Behaviours’ Framework.

Aspiring Chief Executive Review & Evaluation 2021: This review focused on ensuring the programme remains ‘fit for the future’. It included surveys of past and current alumni and interviews of alumni and key national stakeholders. The report is informing the future development of the programme

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Integrated Care System: Evaluation of system leadership programme – Working Better Together 2021 – 2022: This system wide programme ran from late 2021 to mid 2022. Innovas was commissioned to support the design and evaluation working with the project team and will include system-wide consultations and feedback through a combination of interviews, focus groups and e-surveys.

Rosalind Franklin Programme Evaluation 2019-21: This evaluation ran from November 2019 and finished early in 2021. It focused on the first two pioneering cohorts – one was an open one, the other focused on GP Nurses. It included using several online surveys, focus groups, and face-to-face and telephone interviews. As well as producing an impact assessment it has also produced a series of case studies.

Strategic System Leadership Programme for STP Footprints (Yale University Programme) 2017 Cohort and 2018 Cohort: These evaluations started in October 2017 and finished in mid 2020. It covered 20 teams from STPs across England. This involved a mixed approach of online surveys, interviews and written evidence reviews.


NHS Leadership Academy: What are the implications for NHS leaders and leadership of moving towards Net Zero? 2022: Identify the impacts that net zero target has on leaders and leadership in terms of (hard and soft) skills required. This project comprises a comprehensive literature review supported by primary data collection for further investigation and validation.

NHS Leadership Academy – Leadership of Anchor Organisations: What qualities and skills do leaders need in anchor organisations – 2021 – 2022: This project comprised a comprehensive literature review to identify relevant academic and grey literature supported by primary data collection leading to recommendations for development initiatives.

NHS Leadership Academy – Data Literacy Leadership Gaps: 2021 – 2022: Research into the data literacy in Health and Care leaders and what training requirements will support evidence use in decision making: The project researched the data literacy competency of leaders in health and care and barriers that prevent them understanding, appraising, and using data effectively. This project comprises a comprehensive literature review supported by primary data collection to identify the interventions that could be adopted (or adapted) by the NHS. 

NHS Leadership & Lifelong Learning Team – Leadership Observatory (NHS Leadership Academy) – Research into Tackling Health Inequalities and the response by ICSs 2021: This research looked at the challenges; the response by ICSs; and the implication for leaders and leadership. it included developing Actionable Recommendations for ICSs to use at this critical time; with a Roundtable Challenge and Review to test the recommendations prior to finalisation.

Cheshire & Mersey Children & Young People Mental Health Services: Workforce Development Plan 2022; original and secondary research, data analysis, qualitative and quantitative methods, identification of skills, expertise and competence of current workforce and horizon scanning of future skills needs to develop a workforce development plan.

NHS England – Diabetes Programme Team and the Insight & Feedback Team: Literature review to gain insights into peoples’ experience of diabetes services 2022: to better understand people’s experience of living with diabetes and the care they receive. This research focused on gaining initial insights into peoples’ experience of diabetes services. based on a synthesis of existing qualitative and quantitative reports that have been produced on diabetes care and wider patient experience. 

NHS England -Insight & Feedback team: Research into AI solutions for the analysis of qualitative data at scale 2022: This research focused on establishing what is the latest evidence on the use and effectiveness of AI to analyse large volumes of qualitative patient experience data to drive service quality improvements. 

NHS Leadership Academy – Leadership, Management & Career Development Survey 2020 : national research to gain insights and understanding from stakeholders about what they need from Leadership and Lifelong Learning, and Talent Management in the future. This research included an online survey of >30,000, telephone/Teams interviews, and Virtual Focus Groups. The results were used to inform the development of the offer by the ‘Academy’. 

NHS Leadership Academy – Research into Band 1-4 Staff across England 2020: The purpose of the research was to help the Academy understand why its development programmes attract low numbers of participants from those working in Bands 1 to 4 across the NHS, and to help the Academy shape and position its future offer to increase participant numbers. The research included a survey across the Northwest region of staff in over 20 institutions gaining 1900 responses, and also used focus groups and discussions. 

NHS Northwest – Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG): Innovas carried out a strategic review of commissioning including a full review of the contract compendium and assessment of the impact of the Strategic Operational Plan on future commissioning and providers.

Additional relevant studies and evaluations include:

Welsh Government – Academi Wales: Review and Evaluation of One Wales 21st Century Leadership Programme 

This was a pilot programme for public sector Chief Executives from across Wales and Innovas worked closely with all the participants, the Welsh Government and Cardiff University in the review and evaluation of this programme and the development of it for the future.

National Skills Academy for Nuclear – Wales – Research and Business Plan: Innovas carried out research across North Wales into the future skills requirements for Nuclear and the capacity for the provision of skilled labour and education/training services from secondary through to HE to support it over the next 10 years. This was been finalised into a forward Business Plan to support this critical sector.

Business Support Research, Strategy and Evaluation

Innovas has worked with local, regional and national government in the research, feasibility study, design and evaluation of business support. Example projects include:

  • University led Business Support Programmes at Derby, Leicester, De Monfort, Lincoln, and Bedfordshire Universities: evaluating the impact and effectiveness of their enterprise programmes.
  • School for Social Entrepreneurs: Evaluation of Arts Council for England funded project – Building Resilience programme to support 25 small to medium sized arts & cultural organisations,
  • Silverstone Sports Technology Campus: Development of Economic Impact Proposal to support a bid for ERDF funding.
  • Review of IP commercialisation for Welsh Government:  Review of IP commercialisation activities among HEIs, the NHS and businesses across Wales, including a full review of all universities and the NHS within Wales.
  • Evaluation of financial administration skills project for the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals: Evaluation of a UK CES funded project that provided payroll, book-keeping and financial administration training and apprenticeships.
  • Low Carbon Sector Growth Action Plan for Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership: working stake holders to develop an Action Plan building on strengths of the Low Carbon Economy in the sub-region.
  • Evaluation of Big ideas Wales (formerly called Dynamo) for the Welsh Government 2010 and ongoing
    This is an ongoing evaluation of this Welsh Government ERDF initiative which seeks to encourage young people to raise their aspirations and realise their own potential for creating new business opportunities. The research uses Enterprise Catalyst, an online profiling tool, to assess the enterprise development of individuals and therefore provides impact assessment data at cohort level. Over 15,000 people have completed this assessment each year for the past 10 years
  • Economic Growth Plan for Sports and Physical Activity in Leicester and Leicestershire; working with Leicester & Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership and stakeholders to develop and long-term Action Plan. This has been followed by annual updates in 2018 and 2019.
  • Evaluation of the Kirklees Youth Enterprise Centre for Kirklees Council: A two year evaluation of this ERDF project targeted on young people aged 14-19, which seeks to stimulate new businesses via a combination of new facilities and dedicated support
  • Evaluation of the Severn Valley Strategic Regeneration Programme: Evaluation of this ERDF scheme providing physical infrastructure improvements across the main towns of Powys county.
  • Evaluation of the Prince of Wales Innovation Scholarships (POWIS) programme, University of Wales: This was a high profile evaluation of the POWIS programme, which aimed to recruit the best graduate talent to (or back to) Wales by establishing 100 three-year PhD research placements with private sector companies (or clusters of companies) located in the Convergence area.
  • Yorkshire Forward – Evaluation of Business Link Yorkshire & Humber 2008-11: carried out an evaluation of the Business Link Service across the Yorkshire & Humber region using national IEF guidelines and also creating Best Practice for all such future evaluations.
  • Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) – Evaluation of Third Mission Funding Strategies and Actions for all the Universities of Wales: worked closely with HEFCW and all 11 Welsh universities. This project included a full review of all the current and past strategies for the Welsh universities. 
  • Wales Assembly Government – Strategic Appraisal and 5 Year Forward Plan for Investment in Flexible Support for Business Service ( Publicly funded Business support): Innovas was commissioned to undertake a strategic appraisal of the Assembly Governments investment in the Pan-Wales Business Information and Advisory Service ‘Business Eye’ and develop a plan to advise future service design, delivery and contracting arrangements for the next 5 years.


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