Social network analysis to identify the success characteristics of a med-tech academic accelerator programme.
Apollo Health Innovations collaborated with Pendarves Consulting to identify the entrepreneurial characteristics and factors of success of MedTech SuperConnector (MTSC) Cohort Three members. MTSC, led by the Imperial College London, is an accelerator programme combining research and interest in supporting entrepreneurial early-career academic researchers to commercialise early-stage med-tech innovation from eight London universities.
Apollo and Pendarves used a mixed-methods approach involving synthesising existing data from progress surveys, boot camp surveys and soft skills surveys and conducting a social network analysis (SNA).
Data synthesis. Synthesis of existing data to establish trends across cohorts measuring progress survey, soft skill surveys and innovation readiness survey.
Mixed-method network mapping. Created inferential statistical models using standardised social network analysis merged with all the data from the cohort surveys to show how the MTSC has grown over the years. The data visualisation took the form of the social network maps, known as sociograms.
Simulated recall interviews. Qualitative interviews with the MTSC graduates were conducted to contextualise the SNA findings.
Regression modelling. A network-informed regression model was created combining the characteristics of cohort members in the network and j the soft skills and quantitative survey data to identify factors associated with a successful venture such as securing research funding, starting a company or filing a patent.
The data analysis was organised into an anonymised report available for public inspection, which identified core impacts of the MTSC cohort as well as the soft skills that cohort members acquired as a result of participating in the programme. The report demonstrated success outputs in terms of the entrepreneurial and research capacity of the cohort, such as the total of research grants won and venture capital raised, the number of companies formed, publications produced and patents filed. Although Cohort Three occurred concurrently with the COVID-19 outbreak, it had a minimally disruptive impact. The administrative staff, instructors and cohort members successfully transitioned towards a digital learning environment.
The recommendations from the social network analysis on how to best recruit and support new ventures enabled the MTSC to maximise the programme success, de-risk the programme for the investors and secure ongoing funding from Research England.
Hiten Thakrar, Head of MedTech SuperConnector, gave the following testimonial of the Cohort Three’s evaluation:
We have used Pendarves Consulting and Apollo Health Innovations to create network informed cohort reporting since the inception of the programme. Their work helped us capture vital knowledge embedded in the delivery staff and cohort. The impact reporting has enabled us to implement evidence-based changes and secure extension funding from Research England year on year. These services have been essential to the MTSC’s work of de-risking the programme for investors and creating a regular pipeline of ventures for the MTSC.
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Figure 1. Support Ties.
Figure 2. Challenges Network.