AU No 38b
The Neural Computing Technology Transfer Programme (NCTTP) was approved
in February 1992 and began in 1993. The programme had a total budget of £5.75m.
The actual DTI spend profile for the programme was as follows:
The programme budget was split between two sets of activities:
an awareness campaign which was
fully funded by DTI and managed by Touche Ross Management Consultants
a demonstrator programme involving
seven clubs which was managed and delivered by contracted consortia and which involved
DTI support for 50% of each club's activities with the balance coming from members'
The evaluation of the programme was carried out by Segal Quince
Wicksteed on behalf of the Assessment Unit and led to the following conclusions
the overall rationale
for the programme was broadly correct at the start of the programme, although the
specific objectives were not particularly meaningful.
the awareness programme was well
thought through and provided a range of materials of varying degrees of complexity
suitable for different audiences. These provide a useful legacy from the
programme as well as a database of companies which had taken part in the
evaluations undertaken by
Touche Ross indicated a high level of satisfaction among companies with the events
organised during the programme. After 18 months 3,500 companies who had
participated in awareness events could name an application area within their company
where neural networks could be applied and 1,000 had taken some action to introduce
applications (defined to include internal discussions, reading of specialist
data was not available on the
extent to which the programme itself had increased awareness nor on whether companies
expressing an intention to introduce neural computing had actually done so.
the Club programme provided
benefits to companies including training and education, case studies and demonstration,
development of company capabilities and the development of relevant
applications. A large proportion of those interviewed intended to pursue further
exploratory and development work.
the specific outcomes of the club
programmes were variable both between and within clubs. The programme did provide
an important benefit in allowing companies to test neural networks in a low cost manner,
but did not, in general, leave a legacy of fora which are likely to continue in their
present form without subsidy.
few companies defined projects for
the club programmes which were more than of peripheral importance to them in the short
to medium term. Instead, the motivation was more to assess whether NN was a
promising technology by testing its effectiveness in relation to specific
problems. There were very few cases of adoption and commercialisation of club
outputs and this reflects companies' motivations in joining the clubs.
additionality was generally high
particularly in terms of the formation of clubs which would not have occurred without
many companies need
a certain amount of independent advice at the start of a club programme to enable
them to take full advantage of club type programmes.
the focus of future programmes
should be to provide an understanding of the types of problems for which neural computing
is the most appropriate solution and those for which other technologies might be better
suited. There is a need to consider carefully the balance between the benefits of
focusing on a particular technology and the dangers of excluding adjacent
the DTI should try to ensure that
the variation in outcomes between clubs is reduced by providing guidelines, briefing
new club members and more assertive monitoring of steering committees.
at the end of programmes, the DTI
or other relevant agency should make contact with participating firms to ascertain
progress and requirements for further assistance.
careful consideration needs to be
given to the specification of objectives in the ROAME statement. These need to be
meaningful in terms of the overall aims of the programme and also testable. In
particular, where awareness raising is an aim there needs to be bench marking of the
situation before the programme is introduced.