REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 1

Economic and Technological Intelligence (ETI) projects for SMEs Volume 2

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Contract number CT-2005-023437 CT-2005-023304

Project Acronym BOOST-IT DETECT-IT 2 Set-up of a collaborative permanent network for boosting the participation of Incubated SMEs in innovation processes under FP6 activities A dedicated network of incubators detecting new FP7 opportunities for SMEs through connecting existing regional clusters in Biotech, Renewable Energies and IST

CT-2005-023288 CT-2005-023295 CT-2005-023406 CT-2005-023416 CT-2005-023210 CT-2005-023368 CT-2005-023315

EASIER EPISTEP INCUBATE INNOSPORT MAPO PASSPORT PLATON

Engaging regional SMEs within the ICT sector in EU research Engaging SMEs with IST related European Technology Platforms Information and Communication Technologies innovation stimulated by incubators Stepping up economical and technology intelligence in sport Enhancing Research and Development projects to find solutions to struggle against various marine pollutions Passport to RTD - Internationalisation of LSH SMEs Top-down approach to initiate and enhance SMEs' participation in European research in economic, political, social sciences and humanities and to support their strategic decision-making

CT-2005-023220 CT-2005-023270 CT-2005-023438 CT-2005-023426 CT-2005-23318 CT-2005-023401 CT-2005-023378 CT-2005-023339 CT-2005-023395 CT-2005-023372

PROMPT PROSURF RESCUE SECURE-FORCE SEE-INNOVATION SME-MPOWER SME-TO-LEAD SPAS SYNERGY TRANSMES

Peripheral regions oriented measure for promotion of technological intelligence Promotion and support of SME research and innovation in the surface finishing and printed circuit manufacturing sectors Action Plan for stimulating research and innovation in SMEs from CEECs in the renewable energy field Stimulating SMEs Faced with research issues regarding glObal secuRity Challenge in Europe Facilitating innovation for ICT SMEs in South Eastern Europe Empowering SMEs for long-term research interest and increased participation in EU RTD activities Training of SMEs to be successful co-ordinators of Framework Programme projects SMEs virtual platform on agro-food sector to access the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes Expanding the competitive intelligence in the European distributed energy resources sector Bringing ACC and NMS SMEs operating in the transport and environment sector closer to the ERA by publishing an open call for submitting draft project proposals

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 2

Boosting SME skills and success
“An incubated SME should be the ideal RTD project partner.”

BOOST-IT
‘Incubated’ small and medium-sized enterprises

should be ideal partners for innovative research consortia. But the reality of limited resources within the enterprises

themselves, combined with competitive pressures, often restricts their participation. This is despite the availability of incentives to encourage private investment in R&D at national and European level. The Boost-it project will support and train SMEs from the ICT and associated sectors from six countries to enable them to take active roles in FP7 research consortia. The services and tools provided will also enable them to access other funding opportunities and boost their innovation potential.

Purpose-designed supportive business environments that are created to encourage growth for young, dynamic companies are a common feature of national and regional economic strategies across Europe. However, most of these ‘incubated’ SMEs struggle to become solid business realities as they face strong competition in the global market place often with limited resources. On the positive side, these enterprises are open to embrace change, have close links to an incubator organisation with its existing networks, resources and facilities, and are usually close to other incubated and complementary SMEs. They are frequently in close proximity to knowledge and technology poles that often result in incubated SMEs being among those companies with the greatest potential for innovation. In parallel, national governments in Europe are trying to meet Lisbon objectives, in particular in terms of private investment in R&D, and are encouraging spin-offs and entrepreneurship by providing incentives, such as tax benefits or other support, to create high valueadded research structures in companies. At present, incubated SMEs do not often take advantage of such incentives, as they lack the resources and information to apply, being too focused in their daily business needs.

The Boost-It project is coordinated by Inovamais – an innovation and technology consultancy company from Portugal – and involves nine innovation service providers: organisations that provide incubator facilities. These will provide access to individual SME organisations in Portugal, Poland, Israel, the Ukraine, Croatia and Hungary. The project also involves five science parks. The innovation service providers supply added-value services to incubator SMEs, such as laboratory or office space, commercial support services and other advice and access to facilities. The Israeli model for incubation of SMEs has had considerable success and the involvement of Israeli organisations in Boost-it will allow small firms from other countries to share in their best practice.

Enabling participation
All nine incubator organisations will provide a list of between 20-40 potential SME clients that are suitable for the project. The consolidated list of SMEs will be refined to around 200 companies. The project partners will go to at least 150 of these companies to make technology audits and will also visit all companies to assess their development needs, their ideas and potential. This will produce around 30 potential project ideas or concepts to be promoted towards FP7 or other European or national funding programmes. In addition, the Boost-It team will be able to assess the competencies of the SMEs to participate in other project consortia of which they have knowledge. The main objective for Boost-It is to enable the participation of at least 20 incubator SMEs in FP7 and the new Competitiveness and Innovation Programme.

Exploiting potential
The ETI project will improve the exploitation of incubated SMEs innovation potential by developing a range of services to help them benefit from European and national incentives. Boost-It will develop a range of services and tools that can support incubated SMEs through the life cycle of their own innovation projects. The project is geographically focused on the EU accession candidate countries and recent new Member States and will work to promote their participation in the next EC Research Framework Programme (FP7) and other international initiatives. The project will concentrate on niche SMEs that are currently underrepresented in RTD programmes. These incubator SMEs should be ideal partners for RTD consortia and innovative projects. They are usually hi-tech firms involved in ICT development or automation and control applications and are often enterprises that have been spun out of other larger companies or created by universities or entrepreneurs.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 3

ETI Volume 2
“SMEs should be given the skills they need to participate successfully.”
A second important objective is to focus on training: in particular for FP7. Training will be delivered to SMEs in all six participating countries via four individual training sessions. The sessions will cover: Management of R&D; Financial Aspects of R&D Management; Intellectual Property Rights; and Commercial Exploitation of R&D. The training will be undertaken in parallel with the technology audits in each country. The project also hopes to involve at least 25 SMEs in R&D structural programmes via national funding initiatives. EU Structural and Cohesion Funds are increasingly being used to fund national research work and many SMEs could gain an immediate benefit from these schemes. Boost-it will also look at how it can help SMEs to recruit the people they need: the well-qualified staff with the right skill sets that will enable the companies to ‘deliver the goods’ and contribute to truly world-class research consortia.

Project title
Set-up of a collaborative permanent network for boosting the participation of incubated SMEs in innovation processes under FP6 activities

Contact person
Eurico Neves Inovamais – Servicos de Consultadoria em Inovação Tecnologica Rua Afonso Cordeiro 877 Sala 201 4450-007 Matosinhos Portugal Tel: +35 122 939 6350 Fax: +35 122 939 6351 eurico.neves@inovamais.pt

Contract number
CT-2005-023437

Start date
19/10/2005

Duration
30 months

Project website
www.boost-it.net

Total project cost
754 680

Participants
1 Inovamais – Servicos de Consultadoria em Inovação Tecnologica (PT) 2 Fundacja Inkubator (PL) 3 EFP Consulting Ltd (IL) 4 Sogistfipp – Sociedade de Incubação Sectorial S.A. (PT) 5 IPN Incubadora – Associação para o Desenvolvimento de Actividades de Incubação de Ideias e Empresas (PT) 6 JVP Studio Lp. (IL) 7 Center of Small Business Development Kharkov Technologies (UA) 8 Produzetnicki Inkubator Labin (HR) 9 Tehnoloski Park Ljubljana (SI) 10 Primorski Tehnoloski Park d.o.o. (SI) 11 Jozef Stefan Institute (SI) 12 Matimop – The Israeli Industry Centre for R&D (IL) 13 Osrodek Przetwarzania Informacji (PL)

EC contribution
© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

754 680

Networking between SMEs is important.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 4

Business innovation centres hatch new partnerships

DETECT-IT2

With access to SMEs and research institutions, “Listening to what SMEs want from ICT, renewable energy and biotechnology business innovation centres (BICs) and incubators help research will help to ultimately to coalesce regional clusters of research expertise. The Detectstrengthen Europe’s it2 project involves 26 BICs which will target local SMEs in the ICT, competitive position renewable energy and biotechnology sectors. Small and medium-sized enterprises in these sectors.” will receive training on FP7 funding opportunities, and over 600 will also be asked about their research interests and their ability to participate in EU projects. Strong European consortia of well-matched SMEs and research institutions will be identified and their ideas developed into FP7 proposals. SMEs will play a central role, thereby improving their innovation – and a more secure future for Europe’s burgeoning industries.
Business innovation centres and incubators (BICs) move between two very different worlds: academic research and market-driven business. Their association with universities and research institutions means they have good relationships with scientists and are aware of their research expertise. Their client-base of SMEs, spin-out companies and start-ups, meanwhile, provides incubators with commercial knowledge and a rich network of diverse, innovative companies. In short, BICs are perfectly placed to act as ‘matchmakers’ and to facilitate new working relationships between research organisations and small businesses. They can both identify researchers able to help SMEs with their problems, and find those small firms willing to work with research institutions and provide commercial input into research projects. Recognising the bridging role that incubators play in regional research clusters, the ETI Detect-it2 project aims to help SMEs in the areas of information systems and technology, renewable energy and biotechnology take full advantage of the first calls of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). A major part of the project is to educate SMEs about European research, the potential roles they could play in FP7 projects, and how they can develop or be part of project proposals. Each Detect-it2 partner will organise events within their region to promote FP7 to local SMEs, and encourage them to express their interests and get involved. The small enterprises will also be invited to participate in smaller training seminars, such as those run by National Contact Points. Over half of the partners on Detect-it2 are new, with representation from new Member States, candidate and third countries. A core team of the best performing partners from Detect-it will transfer their knowledge and skills to the new partners on Detect-it2 which will then audit their own SME clients. In total, information from more than 300 new SMEs will be fed by the partners into the preexisting Detect-it database.

Picking out partnerships
Using the database, a pool of experts on FP6/FP7 will provide the BIC partners and the participating SMEs with relevant information and training on Framework Programme opportunities. At the same time, they will provide technical assistance to BICs on how to build SME-intensive proposals in response to the first calls of FP7. The intimate knowledge that BIC staff have of their SMEs and their thorough screening procedures should make the collaborations formed through Detect-it2 strong and enduring. The Detect-it2 project will continue the collaboration started in Detect-it, an earlier ETI project. This latest project will also link into the ongoing work of Detect-it through mutual sharing of information and combined seminars. This will make the most of resources and provide SMEs with the widest opportunity possible to find project partners and produce robust, competitive proposals. Detect-it2 aims to raise the status of SMEs in FP7. By collating their ideas, incorporating them into proposals and connecting regional clusters, SMEs should

Detecting strengths
Communication is only part of the process, however. The Detect-it2 BICs will also invite their SME client base, along with other small firms contacted through regional networks, to complete a questionnaire. This evaluation process will assess each SME’s skill base and their potential contributions to FP7 projects. The questionnaire also asks companies to outline their own research needs and ideas. This direct approach has been adapted from an earlier ETI project, Detect-it. This former project mobilised a network of over 30 BICs across Europe; to date nearly 1 000 companies have completed a detailed RTD audit.

BICs and incubators help to coalesce regional clusters of research expertise.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 5

ETI Volume 2
“The Detect-it2 partners are involved in many regional clusters and will help to bring their skill base and expertise together.”

be well represented in many future projects. The Detect-it2 partners hope to develop over 300 ideas for new research projects and to submit over 1 000 expressions of interest. They expect to write up to five proposals for large-scale Integrated Projects or up to ten Specific Targeted Research Project proposals. By facilitating the networking of transnational clusters, Detect-IT2 aims to encourage more ‘bottom-up’, industry-led proposals. The process will embed innovation and collaboration into the activities and philosophy of SMEs – and thus help to secure their survival and growth.

Project title
A dedicated network of incubators detecting new FP7 opportunities for SMEs through connecting existing regional clusters in Biotech, Renewable Energies and IST

Contact person
Vanrie Philippe European Business and Innovation Centre Network Av. de Tervuren 168 1150 Brussels Belgium Tel: +32 277 28 900 pva@ebn.be

Contract number
CT-2005-023304

Start date
17/11/2005

Participants
1 European Business and Innovation Centre Network (BE) 2 Consorzio per L’Area di Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica di Trieste (IT) 3 Business Innovation Center Warsaw Sp. Z.o.o. (PL) 4 South West Business and Technology Centre (IE) 5 Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Förderung der Angewandten (DE) 6 The European Association of Innovating SMEs (UK) 7 Centre de Recherche Public Henri Tudor (LU) 8 Innostart National Business and Innovation Centre Foundation (HU) 9 Coventry University Enterprises Ltd (UK) 10 BIC Ostrava Sro (CZ) 11 Tallinna Tehnoloogiapargi Arendamise Sihtasutus (EE) 12 Hermia Business Development Ltd (FI) 13 Cicom Organisation (FR) 14 BIC Lazio SpA (IT) 15 Stichting Business and Innovation Centre Twente (NL) 16 Zupa Paolo (IT) 17 Agence Bruxelloise pour L’entreprise (BE) 18 Cimark S.A. (CH) 19 European Association for the Transfer of Technologies, Innovation and Industrial Information (LU) 20 Syndicat Mixte Atlanpole (FR) 21 Barcelona Activa S.A. SPM (ES) 22 Tzl-Technologiezentrum Ludwigshafen am Rhein GmbH (DE) 23 Agrobiopole Wallon Asbl (BE) 24 Instytut Podstawowych Problemów Techniki Polskiej Akademii Nauk (PL) 25 Centre de Recerca i Investigacio de Catalunya S.A. (ES) 26 Pera Innovation Ltd (UK)

Duration
30 months

Total project cost
1 990 000

EC contribution
1 600 000

© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 6

Easy access to European research
“Easier will give SMEs the knowledge and skills they need to participate more in European research.”

EASIER
Whilst clustering can help SMEs to get involved

in local research projects and national programmes, such companies rarely hear about or have the skills to get

involved with EU RTD projects. Easier will educate and train SMEs to enable their participation in research at a European level. Project partners will also help them to find appropriate partners and produce proposals for research projects, primarily under the Seventh Framework Programme. A variety of approaches, including seminars, mentoring and company audits, will be assessed so that tools and strategies can be optimised and used beyond the life of the project.

With little to insulate them from the vagaries of suppliers, customers and markets forces, small and medium-sized enterprises can often feel vulnerable, exposed and threatened with defeat. They frequently question their long-term survival, sometimes on a daily basis. But strength comes in numbers, and SMEs like to ‘flock’. Throughout Europe, geographical pockets can be identified where SMEs in certain sectors tend to group. In the ICT sector, this clustering often occurs around universities and science and technology parks. Clustering helps ICT SMEs to drive innovation and improve survival. They can share their knowledge, form strong partnerships and collaborations and benefit from networking. Each SME gains from the success of others – as a critical mass, more SMEs can achieve success whereas alone they might fail. For instance, by clustering, SMEs may find it easier to work with local research institutions and to participate in national research programmes. However, except in the most established clusters, little attention is given to European research opportunities. Even as part of a cluster, most SMEs still have the mentality that involvement in transnational research projects is beyond their capabilities.

– an eclectic mix of consultancies, business incubator organisations, national research councils, European Information Centres and university technology transfer and enterprise offices – will target SMEs from their network of contacts and invite them to participate in a variety of Easier training and support events and activities. The partners will try a variety of approaches, such as information seminars, company audits and workshops, to engage with the clusters. The Easier project offers an opportunity for the partners to share best practice in this process.

Terms of engagement
Indeed, an important aspect of the project is the inclusion of two pilot studies to assess some more innovative approaches to promotional and training work. These trials will be run in the contrasting regions of Minho in Portugal and the West Midlands in the UK. The studies should allow Easier to develop tools that work best to train and motivate clustered SMEs to participate in European research. Importantly, these tools will have a life beyond the duration of the project and may even have application in sectors other than ICT, too. One of the tools to be refined is a method of company auditing that can accurately assess an SME’s ability to participate effectively in a European research project. Such audits cover financial and human resources, research skills, capabilities and interests, work ethics, and management expertise. They provide partners with a concrete way to assess candidate SMEs and target training appropriately.

Joining up to join in
It is hard to overcome this barrier: the lack of ‘bottom-up’ interest is compounded by an absence of ‘top-down’ communication. Universities and research organisations understand European research and are kept ‘in the loop’, but SMEs are rarely invited to join in. The Easier project is embarking on an exercise to engage with SMEs in regional ICT clusters and encourage them to get more involved in European level research, primarily under the Seventh Framework Programme. Working in 16 European regions in Turkey, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, UK and Norway, the project will catalyse EU RTD projects by drawing on the strengths of existing regional networks and building a new transnational partnership. The Easier partners recognise that SMEs cannot achieve this on their own; they do not have the resources to find information and develop the necessary skills and contacts to join projects or draw up their own proposals. Instead, Easier goes out to the SMEs. The partners

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 7

ETI Volume 2
“The partners all have different ways of engaging with the SMEs in their region and Easier will assess and the share best practice among the partners and beyond.”

Audit results will be entered into a central Easier database which will be used by partners to identify possible partnerships between SMEs, including those in other regions. Easier will also work with other ETI projects, including Detect-It 1 and 2 and Incubate. They will share their databases to extend the pool of candidate SMEs and increase the possibility of bringing partners together for new SME-driven research projects. Over 300 SMEs will undergo Easier’s auditing and it is hoped that this will lead to more than 70 proposals involving over 200 companies. These will include proposals for research topics in FP7, the two first calls in FP7, as well as Eureca/Celtic and similar programmes. This increased participation will enable SMEs to widen their support networks, increase innovation and, perhaps most importantly, make them less vulnerable to failure and defeat.

Project title
Engaging regional SMEs within the ICT sector in EU research

Contact person
Friisö Trond Sörlandets Teknologisenter A.S. Televeien 3 4879 Grimstad Norway Tel: +47 90 786 244 trond.friiso@sts.no

Contract number
CT-2005-023288

Duration
30 months

Total project cost
1 873 907

Participants
1 Sörlandets Teknologisenter A.S. (NO) 2 The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TR) 3 Euro Info Center Poland – Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PL) 4 National Documentation Centre/NHRF (EL) 5 VIP Park. CZ Sro (CZ) 6 Coventry University Enterprises Ltd (UK) 7 Ministry of Science, Education and Sports (HR) 8 First Elements Ventures Ltd (CY) 9 Agderforskning A.S. – Euro Info Centre (NO) 10 RR & Co Business consulting Doo (SI) 11 Association for Entrepreneurial Innovation (PT) 12 Fundacion Insula Barataria (ES) 13 Industrial & Informatics Technologies Research & Development Inc. (TR) 14 Association of Information Technology Companies of Northern Greece (EL) 15 North Denmark EU office Aalborg Municipality (DK) 16 Turkish Informatics Foundation (TR)

EC contribution
1 488 271

© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 8

Stepping on to ICT technology platforms

EPISTEP

“If you’re a go-ahead innovative SME, you’d give your right arm to be in the same room as the Although SMEs are prominent in the information chief R&D officer of a company like Nokia, and communications technology (ICT) sector, it is difficult Ericsson or Siemens and to be for them to take part in EU-funded collaborative projects in ICT able to talk to them about without assistance. Epistep is an Economic and Technological Intelligence your technology.”
project to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises from 15 countries to join in with the activities of three European technology platforms dealing with nanotechnology, embedded systems and mobile and wireless communications. Activities to promote contacts between about 1 500 SMEs and representatives of the technology platforms are expected to lead to new projects and partnerships that will help maintain Europe’s lead in these key areas.

European technology platforms (ETPs) are networks of companies, research centres and other organisations that have come together to hammer out a common strategic research agenda for a particular area. The aim is to make European research more effective by assembling a critical mass of expertise and resources. The Epistep Collective Research project is seeking to help SMEs collaborate with three ETPs active in the field of information and communications technology (ICT). The first, ENIAC (European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council), covers an area of rapid growth and high strategic importance with relevance to innovation in multimedia, telecommunications, transport, health, environment, industrial processing and other areas. The world market size of sectors affected by developments in nanoelectronics has been estimated at a colossal 5 000 billion a year. Artemis (Advanced Research and Technologies for Embedded Intelligence and Systems) covers the field of embedded systems – computers within devices such as mobile phones, cars, hi-fi equipment and many others. This is one area where European industry remains strong and the aim of Artemis is to ensure that this lead is maintained. SMEs have an important role to play and partners represent the automotive, aerospace, consumer electronics, communications, medical and manufacturing sectors. The third ETP is eMobility (Mobile and Wireless Communications Technology Platform). Europe already has a clear lead in this sector but as wireless networking technology converges with internet and broadcast technology the potential for further growth is huge. Already there are more mobile phones connected to the internet than personal computers and that number is expected to exceed 1.8 billion by 2007. This is an area where SMEs can really make a mark.

Epistep, which has been put together from two similar proposals for Economic and Technological Intelligence projects, will act as a kind of ‘fairy godmother’ for SMEs, helping them to contribute to the work of all three platforms. The 25 partners in Epistep, led by Targeting Innovation in Scotland, are business and innovation support organisations, business schools, universities and other bodies with skills and experience in areas such as marketing and promotion. They represent 15 countries including new EU Member States, candidate states and Associated States.

Promoting opportunities
The first step will be to use the partners’ local knowledge to compile a database of around 1 500 SMEs which are judged to be particularly suitable for taking part in ETP projects. Some of these (classed as ‘high tech’) will have their own in-house R&D capacity, while others (‘low tech’) might have the ability develop a prototype based on technology supplied from outside. Support for the 1 500 will include partner brokerage events, trade missions, international conferences, and information days where they can meet representatives of the three ETPs. Advice and training will also be available. The aim is to maintain a continuing dialogue between the SMEs and the ETPs so they are aware of the developing strategic research agendas and have advance knowledge of the topics selected for calls for proposals.

Fairy godmother for SMEs
Despite the potential for SMEs in each of these three areas, small companies do find it difficult to take part in EU-funded collaborative projects which are often dominated by the big players. They neither have the time nor the resources to devote to research and to cultivate good working relationships. Many small and medium-sized enterprises are impatient of long-term projects that do not produce quick results, while others are simply unaware that SMEs can and do take part in these collaborations.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 9

ETI Volume 2
“If the Epistep methodology is successful we hope it will be rolled out across other European technology platforms as a way of helping SMEs to become more involved in FP7 projects.”

By the end of the 28-month Epistep project, a considerable number of SMEs are expected to taking part in FP7 projects promoted by the technology platforms. If successful, the project itself could well be a model for extending support for SMEs across the many other ETPs. What will SMEs get out of Epistep? Most of all, they will have the chance to mix with some of the most successful companies in Europe. Many big firms like to buy in expertise developed by SMEs and others like to supply their own technology to be developed into a prototype by an SME rather than do it themselves. In the long run, everyone should benefit. Small companies, which are better at “blue sky” thinking than bigger firms, will be able to find new markets, expand their business and take on more staff; big companies will find specialist SME partners to help them make the most of their technology. The hope is that Europe’s ICT sector will become more responsive and innovative and maintain its competitive position in the world.

Contact person
Derek Gallaher Targeting Innovation Limited Atrium Court, 50 Waterloo Street Glasgow G2 6HQ United Kingdom Tel: +44 141 572 1611 Fax: +44 141 572 1608 dgallaher@targetinginnovation.com

Project title
Engaging SMEs with IST related European Technology Platforms

Project website
www.epistep.org

Contract number
CT-2005-023295

Participants
1 Brussels Enterprise Agency (BE) 2 Archimedes Foundation (EE) 3 Camera di Commercio Industria Artigianato e Agricoltura di Torino (IT) 4 Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (DE) 5 EFP Consulting Ltd (IL) 6 SC Eurograph Ram Impex Srl (RO) 7 ALMA Consulting Group (FR) 8 European Business Associates Srl (IT) 9 Eutema Technology Management GmbH (AT) 10 National Microelectronics Institute (UK) 11 Innovations Centres (Scotland) Ltd (UK) 12 Investnet Ltd (IE) 13 University of Turku (FI) 14 Turku School of Economics and Business Administration (FI) 15 Ursit Ltd (BG) 16 ICT Turku Ltd (FI) 17 Scottish Optoelectronics Association (UK) 18 Lithuanian Innovation Centre (LT) 19 Swedish EU/R&D Council (SE) 20 Slovenska Technicka Univerzita v Bratislave (SK) 21 Zentrum für Innovation und Technik in NRW GmbH (DE) 22 Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea (IT) 23 Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft mbH (AT) 24 Enterprise Ireland (IE)

Start date
15/09/2005

Duration
28 months

Total project cost
2 548 553

EC contribution
2 145 901
© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 10

Incubating start-ups for European research

INCUBATE

Start-up companies in the ICT sector often “Through Incubate, start-up ICT companies will have links to a large network of struggle to participate in European research. Many have similar SMEs through technology neither the knowledge about available opportunities, nor the incubators covering all time nor resources to write proposals and seek partners. The Incubate ETI of Europe.” project unites 11 technology incubators from across Europe to help such SMEs get more involved. The partners will audit 300 fledgling companies to assess their RTD capacities and needs. Suitable project ideas and SME partnerships will form the basis of proposals in future European RTD programmes. Incubate will make European networking and RTD projects more accessible to ICT start-ups, and thus improve their innovation and support their sustainable growth.

Life in a start-up technology company is usually stressful. There are products to develop, customers to contact and investors to satisfy. Time and money are generally in short supply; collaborative European research is most certainly a luxury – if it is considered at all. The Incubate project intends to change this situation. Targeting young companies in the field of ICT, the project aims to help them take a more prominent role in future European RTD activities and research programmes. Although SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in the ICT sector have much research expertise to contribute, they have little or no knowledge of the opportunities open to them, nor the financial or human resources to develop project proposals on their own. The Incubate partners comprise ten business incubator organisations from across Europe that support start-up technology companies and university spin-out ventures. They are therefore closely involved with, or have contacts in, many new, small ICT enterprises. By combining their knowledge of the European research landscape, their networking contacts and their management skills, the project partners aim to facilitate the involvement of these fledgling ICT companies in European research projects.

From the initial technology audits, the partners hope to produce around 150 project sketches. As many as 40 new proposals are expected to be generated. Incubator staff will be closely involved with the SMEs in their preparations and the drafting of proposal documents. All the project partners are also members of the Incubator Forum, part of the Gate2Growth initiative funded by the Enterprise and Industry DG. The Incubator Forum brings together managers of 120 incubators linked to research institutes and universities throughout Europe for training, networking and sharing good practice. The SMEs involved in Incubate will therefore have access to a large network of contacts in 27 countries across Europe, and have a good chance of finding appropriate project partners, contractors and RTD performers and of forming strong transnational collaborations.

Sustaining growth
The SMEs that find their proposals accepted have much to gain. Not only will they be at the forefront of research, but their involvement with other SMEs could open up longer-term collaborations or give access to new customers and markets. Furthermore, participation should foster an “attitude of innovation” within their companies, helping them to solve problems better and gain a competitive edge.

Testing times
First, the partners will produce a technology audit tool for auditing the RTD capabilities and requirements of these target SMEs. The tool will involve interview guidelines and reporting frameworks used to obtain a detailed profile of a company, its research interests, prior experiences of European programmes and interests regards future transnational collaboration. Technology audits will then be carried out for around 300 start-up companies. These will include the SMEs already receiving support from the incubator staff, plus additional companies that will be approached through relevant regional or national networks and organisations. The results of the audits will be pooled and analysed by the project partners. Three ‘matching events’ will allow the partners to identify common research themes and link up like-minded SMEs. These partnerships will then form the foundation for new RTD project proposals in future European research activities and programmes, in particular the Seventh Framework Programme.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 11

ETI Volume 2
“Small, emerging ICT companies have the opportunity to access another source of funding and, through collaboration, improve their competitive position and growth.”

But Incubate will have a much wider impact. The technology auditing process will help the start-ups to reflect on the role of RTD and innovation in their companies and introduce changes as they see fit. Furthermore, having become more aware of the benefits of European collaboration and the availability of research funding, they will be more willing to participate in projects at a later date. This project is designed to reach far beyond the first 300 audited companies as its activities and those of the Incubator Forum will be integrated wherever possible. In particular, Incubate’s ‘best practice’ auditing process will be disseminated to all members of the Incubator Forum, as well as regional and national incubator events. In this way, the work of the project will continue and spread. Incubate will be the start of a sustainable, long-term effort to provide start-ups all across Europe with better access to the benefits of participating in European research.

Project title
Information and Communication Technologies Innovation stimulated by incubators

Contact person
Johanna Skantze Carlsson INNO AG Karlstrasse 45b P.O. box 336 76133 Karlsruhe Germany Tel: +49 721 9134 552 Fax: +49 721 9134 599 j.carlsson@inno-group.com

Contract number
CT-2005-023406

Start date
16/01/2006

Duration
30 months

Participants
1 2 3 4 5 INNO AG (DE) RTD Talos Ltd (CY) IPN Incubadora (PT) Grenoble Alpes Incubation (FR) Societa per la Gestione Dell’incubatore d’Impresa del Politecnico di Torino – Societa Consortile per Azioni Senza Fini di Lucro (IT) Fachhochschule Deggendorf (DE) Science Park Jönköping AB (SE) Oxford Innovation Ltd (UK) Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (EL) Politecnico di Milano (IT) Universita degli Studi di Padova (IT)

Total project cost
755 494

EC contribution
607 779
© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

6 7 8 9 10 11

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 12

Podium position for Europe in sports equipment challenge?
“We need to demonstrate success - and in order to achieve that, we must make it happen.”

INNOSPORT

Sports equipment and clothing have evolved dramatically over the past few decades. Products increasingly incorporate advanced technology as the means of fine-

tuning performance to the needs of professionals and highly demanding amateur enthusiasts. While much of the manufacture for volume markets resides in the Far East, there is ample scope for knowledge-based competition in niche sectors. ETI project Innosport brings together a group of academic and industry association partners with the aim of fostering EU-wide RTD collaboration. The goal is to help European businesses capitalise through innovation and added value on the growing interest in health, fitness and active leisure.

Sport is an important activity in economic terms, as well as in promoting social cohesion and a healthy population. In the decade to1999, employment in sports grew by 60% in Europe, to provide jobs for nearly 800 000 people. This figure is expected to reach nearly 2 million by 2 010. The field encompasses many industrial sectors and services, and is a growing area of interest for both larger companies and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises). Furthermore, it is distinguished by the early adoption of new ideas and innovations – in improving equipment for established sports, and through the introduction of totally new adventure-oriented pastimes.

In addition, French participant ESTIA is already at the heart of a sports and leisure ‘Pôle de Compétitivité’ based in the RhôneAlpes region, which brings together 35 research institutions and a network of companies.

Problem-solving actions
In order to create a more innovation-friendly environment, the team will address a number of known sectoral problems, including: • fragmentation of research, due to technological limitations, human factors and an absence of targeting within the sector; • limited research and innovation resources, especially among SMEs; • lack of long-term vision and of commitment to new business start-ups; and, • concentration on national, rather than European, approaches in RTD. The partners will study the findings of earlier Framework Programme initiatives as a basis for identifying the barriers and success-critical factors for SME integration into RTD at the EU level. An initial action is to set up a website forming an interactive forum for sharing knowledge, encouraging technology transfer and offering access to databases and other services that need to be provided on a European scale. In addition, they will investigate and test new approaches to stimulating innovation and promoting entrepreneurism. Another prime objective is to draw up an innovation roadmap based on sports needs, opportunities

International expertise
In the Innosport project, a consortium of 11 research institutions and industry associations is focusing on business creation and acceleration as the means to build a strong knowledge-based sports product sector in Europe. It will target both existing and new SMEs coming from more traditional industries such as shoes and clothing, and from the worlds of electronics, advanced materials and ICT – for example, to explore combinations of ‘smart’ textiles and sensors in environment-sensitive clothing. Coordinating the two-year project is TNO Sport (the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research). It is joined in the ETI project by partners from the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia and the UK. Together these form a compact, manageable core group having contacts with a broad swathe of European stakeholders and a proven ability to motivate SMEs. Each partner adds its own network to this collaboration. TNO Sport, for example, brings a Netherlands-based group of research organisations and companies in sports and innovation, plus the valuable experience gained in creating and working with this network. In one case, this led to the development of special hotweather clothing for athletes competing in the Athens Olympics of 2004. (The product has since been commercialised as a range with specialised high-end user appeal.) In another, a traditional carpet manufacturer was able to build a new market in artificial turf for football pitches.

The Dutch rowing team wore specially developed comfort clothing to combat the heat at the 2004 Athens Olympics. © TNO

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 13

ETI Volume 2
“By defining market-oriented R&D, we aim to interest at least 100 SMEs in committing to at least ten future European project proposals.”

for companies and the knowledge available to set an agenda and stimulate market-driven research. The mid-term delivery of a ‘Vision for 2015’ will contribute to the framing of relevant priorities to be considered under FP7, and inform debate on the potential value of a European Technology Platform for the sector.

Drive for SME participation
Dissemination efforts will intensify in the second project year. As well as promoting the website, a programme of seminars, workshops and participation in industry events is envisaged. At the same time, consortium members will do much to address companies directly – proposing new business ideas, and assisting SMEs in planning and submitting proposals for future EU-funded projects. With a current annual market value of 37 billion in Europe, sports products and equipment represent one of the most promising sources of employment growth in coming years. By taking appropriate action, EU enterprises can capitalise especially in areas where high functionality, service, proximity and proactivity are the keys to customer satisfaction.

Project title
Stepping up economical and technology intelligence in sport

Contact person
Rene Wijlens TNO Sport De Rondom 1 5600 HE Eindhoven The Netherlands Tel: +31 402 650 359 Fax: +31 402 650 305 rene.wijlens@tno.nl

Contract number
CT-2005-023416

Start date
01/02/2006

Duration
24 months

Project website
www.innosport.org

Total project cost
1 452 346
© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

Participants
1 Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek – TNO (NL) 2 Pospesevalni Center za malo gospodarstvo (SI) 3 Ecole supérieure des technologies industrielles avancées (FR) 4 Asociación de Industrias de las Tecnologías Electrónicas y de la Información del País Vasco (ES) 5 The Sports Industries Federation Ltd (UK) 6 Vereniging van Fabrikanten en Groothandelaren in Sportbenodigdheden (NL) 7 Asociación de Fabricantes y Distribuidores de Artículos Deportivos de España (ES) 8 Association of the Sporting Goods Industry CR (CZ) 9 Stichting Sports and Technology (NL) 10 Loughborough University (UK) 11 Instituto de Biomecánica de Valencia (ES)

EC contribution
1 452 346

Sensors measure the sliding characteristics of artificial turf for football pitches. © TNO

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 14

SMEs make cleaner seas

MAPO

Europe’s crowded seas are continually being “SMEs are highly innovative and reactive to this sort of problem. They are the most threatened by pollution, whether from accidents or from numerous providers of skills and normal traffic and emissions. A wide range of monitoring, control techniques to fight marine and amelioration services are offered by small and medium-sized enterprises pollution.” but they have had little chance to share information or take part in research projects. Now the MAPO project is uniting all Europe’s SMEs in this sector to collaborate on mapping their skills and developing best practices. They will identify areas where research would be useful and prepare joint proposals for future projects. This will speed up the response to marine pollution events thereby reducing their economic and environmental damage.

The world’s oceans might seem vast enough to absorb any amount of waste and pollution, but degradation of the marine environment is a growing concern. Major tanker and pipeline accidents may make the headlines, but the daily operation of shipping and washing out of ballast tanks dumps even larger amounts of oil into the sea. Further threats come from industrial waste, agro chemicals borne by rivers and untreated sewage. All these contaminate coastal and marine habitats, damaging the marine environment and the plant and animal life that they support. Europe, with its enclosed seas, heavy marine traffic and high population, is one of the most threatened areas. This exposure has meant that Europe has also developed skills in combating marine pollution, many of which are provided by smaller companies. Although they offer a range of services, more effective ones are needed. The MAPO ETI project, Enhancing Research and Development Projects to find Solutions to Struggle against various Marine Pollutions, aims to involve such companies in new research and development projects. “We have suffered from two major marine accidents here in Brittany,” says Françoise Duprat, MAPO project coordinator, of L’Association du technopole Brest-Iroise. “They had a major impact on our coastline that was difficult to handle. Our marine habitats and fisheries took a long time to recover so the economic benefit of better pollution control would be considerable.”

comprise a pan-European network that specialises in marine pollution. “Although we only started work in MAPO in 2005, we have already identified some relevant SMEs,” says Mme Duprat. MAPO started by collecting data on SME services and capabilities. These services fall into various categories: prevention of and resistance to all forms of pollution, detection and control of emissions, development of non-toxic anti-fouling coatings, treatment and disposal of pollution wastes, monitoring for pollution and analysis of results. All this information is being organised electronically and will ultimately appear on the project website, which is under development.

Four important stages
The collected data will be used in the first stage of MAPO, which is to identify the good and best practice that already exists in Europe. This will help all SMEs to improve their performance, and also serve as a foundation for them to enter European research and development projects. The main goal – of getting SMEs to take part in research projects – will begin in stage two by identifying some technological needs that could be met by future projects in the field of maritime safety. “Then we will approach SMEs that are already taking part in Integrated Projects or Networks of Excellence in related fields in FP6,” explains Mme Duprat. “In this way we shall establish a map of SME competency and skills in fighting marine pollution. Finally, we aim to develop some technological; partnerships that will translate into actual research projects in future Framework Programmes.

Innovation from SMEs
Smaller companies are the main source of marine anti-pollution services. There are specialists in oil and chemical pollution, as well as inert pollution. “SMEs are highly innovative and reactive to this sort of problem,” affirms Mme Duprat. “They are the most numerous providers of skills and techniques to fight marine pollution, but they can find it difficult to communicate with each other. If they do not find partners, they will not be able to plan ahead properly, and will just go on from day to day like small business tend to do. We decided to contact other countries in Europe to try and set up a consortium so that we could identify and develop more efficient solutions to the marine pollution problem.” The result was MAPO, which aims to reach the 600 or so European companies active in maritime safety. The consortium unites 13 partners from ten countries which, between them, border all the European seas, so that every kind of problem is represented. They

Degradation of the marine environment is a growing concern.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 15

ETI Volume 2

The objective is not necessarily to find the right solution to solve every problem immediately but above all to make European countries cooperate in this important area.” The findings will be disseminated to large companies and laboratories that also aim to fight marine pollution. ”We think that the MAPO network is a first step towards establishing an excellent European system for fighting against marine pollution,” concludes Mme Duprat.

Project title
Enhancing Research and Development projects to find solutions to struggle against various marine pollutions

Contact person
Françoise Duprat Association du technopole Brest Iroise 40 rue Jim Sevellec 29238 Brest France Tel: +33 298 056 311 Fax: +33 298 054 767 francoise.duprat@tech-brest-iroise.fr

Contract number
CT-2005-023210

Start date
17/11/2005

Duration
24 months

Participants
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Association du technopole Brest Iroise (FR) Icelandic Centre For Research (IS) Cliff Funnell Associates (UK) Degrand Olivier Jacques Carl François (FR) Ecotechnika (UA) BFU – Büro für Umweltfragen GmbH (DE) HLP Development (FR) Safinah Limited (UK) Alliance of Maritime Regional Interests in Europe (BE) Innova SpA (IT) Vilniaus Gedimino Technikos Universitetas (LT) Ege Universitesi – Faculty of Fisheries, Dept. of Marine and Freshwater Sciences and Technology, Section Marine Biology (TR) 13 Universidad de Oviedo (ES)

Total project cost
963 769

EC contribution
963 76

© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 16

Helping hand for life sciences SMEs
“Passport is an excellent name – if you have a passport you can really go places.”

PASSPORT

Many SMEs have the potential to contribute to the development of Europe’s life sciences and health sector but few are sufficiently well prepared to enter into the partnerships required for effective exploitation of their ideas. The Passport

project, part of the Economic and Technological Intelligence programme, will select about 700 SMEs from seven EU regions and coach them in the skills and knowledge required take part in EU-funded collaborative research and development projects. They will be helped to find suitable international partners with the aim of launching 25-30 ‘seed projects’ by the end of the 30-month venture.

One of the most innovative industrial sectors is life sciences and health, where numerous SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), many of them start-ups, are trying to commercialise the wealth of biological discoveries now pouring out of Europe’s universities and research centres. The problem is that SMEs have few employees and their staff have to devote all their time to establishing and running the business. They do not have the time or resources to build the partnerships needed to make the most of the market opportunities open to them. In particular, very few SMEs are able to take part in EU-funded collaborative research projects that would help them develop their ideas as well as finding partners in other countries to help them market new products and services. This is where Passport comes in. Passport is a new project under the European Commission’s Economic and Technological Intelligence (ETI) programme designed to help prepare SMEs in life sciences and health to take part in EUfunded research programmes. It is led by the Edinburgh office of Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s main economic development agency, and arose from Edinburgh’s experience as a region of excellence in the PAXIS initiative.

development companies, bio-manufacturing organisations, medical device companies and early-stage biotech university spin-outs. Six of the other partners have similar contacts in their own regions and will bring their own particular strengths: Bio-industry Park del Canavese in Italy, is a science park specialising in biosciences and has expertise in technology transfer; Biopolisz Innovation Services is a Hungarian company specialising in the exploitation of university research, and Syntens, a Dutch consultancy assisting with the commercialisation of ideas. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the French Riviera will link the consortium with other chambers of commerce, while the Brandenburg Economic Development Agency in Germany will tie into the network of Euro Info Centres and Innovation Relay Centres.

Guide to best practice
Perhaps the most intriguing of the partners is the Medicon Valley Academy, a not-for-profit membership organisation, based in Denmark and southern Sweden, that unites 14 universities, 26 hospitals and hundreds of companies to exchange technical knowledge on health and life sciences. It started out itself as an EU project and offers a model of the kind of sustainable network Passport may become when its EU-funded phase is complete. The regional partners are supported by two private organisations: Eurobiobiz, which specialises in training life-science start-ups and has already assisted in the creation and development of 35 companies, and inno TSD which will bring long experience of helping organisations work together on European projects.

Fast track to EU funding
The object of Passport is to provide direct assistance to SMEs by providing a fast-track route to developing proposals for EU funding. The first step will be a ‘rapid capability review’ to assess the potential of the 2 500 life sciences and health SMEs known to the nine partners. About 700 of the most promising ones will then be selected for further support in the shape of exhibitions, trade shows and partnering events to encourage networking and collaboration. SMEs are often wary about going into partnerships with big organisations such as pharmaceutical companies, research institutes and universities, and Passport will help them to gain the confidence they need. They will also be trained in the art of preparing a proposal and by the end of the process about 25 to 30 ‘seed projects’ should be under way. The nine partners have a wealth of complementary expertise in supporting SMEs in life sciences and health. Scottish Enterprise, the project coordinator, is in touch with more than 500 organisations working in life sciences, biotechnology and health, including drug

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 17

ETI Volume 2
“We see this project as a real boost to the industry in helping to access European funding to do collaborative research.”

Although each of the partners could offer support to their local SMEs outside the project, Passport provides the opportunity for the partners to learn from each other and develop best practice at a European scale. Indeed, one of the objectives is to publish a guide to best practice in supporting SMEs in this area. At this early stage, it is difficult to quantify what the long-term benefits might be, but greater collaboration and networking between European SMEs is likely to lead to more creative thinking, more spinouts of ideas, more innovations, more new products, more access to new markets and ultimately more jobs and a more competitive health and life sciences sector.

Project title
Passport to RTD – Internationalisation of LSH SMEs

Contact person
Ann Fazakerley Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothian Apex House, 99 Haymarket Terrace Edinburgh EH12 5HD United Kingdom Tel: +44 131 313 6278 Fax: +44 131 313 4231 Ann.Fazakerley@scotent.co.uk

Contract number
CT-2005-023368

Start date
01/10/2005

Duration
30 months

Project website
www.passporteu.net

Total project cost
882 521

Participants
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Scottish Enterprise, Edinburgh and Lothian (UK) Stichting Syntens, Innovatienetwerk voor Ondernemers (NL) Medicon Valley Academy, FMBA (DK) Brandenburg Economic Development Agency (DE) Inno TSD (FR) Bioindustry Park del Canavese (IT) Biopolisz Szegedi Innovációs Szolgáltató Kft (HU) Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie Nice Côte d’Azur (FR) Eurobiobiz S.A.S. (FR)

EC contribution
686 754

© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 18

Helping SMEs to look further ahead

PLATON

Socio-economic research can help to identify “More than 2 000 SMEs, SME groupings and research organisations in the EU the business trends that all companies need to take will be contacted, informed, join account of in their forward planning. Smaller companies have not in and generally benefit so far taken part in this kind of research, but a new project, PLATON, aims from our activities.” to use industrial associations and Chambers of Commerce to get SMEs involved in it. They will improve their own skills and influence the kind of research that is done. The activity will help small businesses to improve their competitiveness in an increasingly global market place and protect these firms on which so much of Europe’s economic activity depends.

Small and medium-sized companies have always had difficulties in finding time and funds for research, although the EU has successfully helped them to get involved in many technical and scientific projects. Now, for the first time, the Platon ETI project is seeking to persuade SMEs of the value of social, political and economic studies. “In today’s highly competitive and internationalised business environment, smaller companies and groups need to look ahead more than ever,” says Platon’s coordinator Dimitrios Papageorgiou of Q-PLAN N.G., Thessaloniki, Greece, “but they do not have the knowledge or experience to go about it.” To stay competitive, SMEs must formulate long-term business targets, and appreciate that ‘softer’ research can make their targets realistic and give them the tools to meet them. “They need a better understanding of trends so that they can identify business opportunities and threats,” adds Papageorgiou, “and adopt a more proactive attitude to business planning”. The European textile industry offers an example of a sector that failed to see the writing on the wall. Many small manufacturers were driven out of business when the market turned to other countries with much lower labour costs. Advance knowledge of the trend could have enabled some of them to plan to diversify and look for niche markets, and thus survive the change. When Platon began in 2005, there was not a single SME in Europe taking part in any research project in the Citizens targeted priority area in FP6. “They don’t see it as meeting their immediate needs,” explains Papageorgiou. “It seems too academic and irrelevant, while they are concerned with the day-to-day business of survival. The mainspring of Platon is to target this group and show how research can help them.”

Commerce. Also, we expect a small number of individual highly innovative SMEs interested in socio-economic issues to join, such as consultancies, IT service companies and socio-economic studies companies. “Our approach is top-down. We will contact organisations already active in EU-funded socio-economic research and persuade them to involve SME groupings or even individual SMEs in their projects. We will put them in touch and help them to find common ground for collaboration and do the research they both need”. This contact will be a two-way process: the Platon project will try and persuade social and economic research organisations to tailor their research towards the needs of SMEs. They will then be able to get the kind of information they require earlier in the planning process and influence the course of the research as it develops.

On a need-to-know basis
The six countries in Platon have widely different economies, industries and businesses. The national organisations that will spread knowledge and interest in Platon will focus initially on service companies, and those in the IT business, as these have the most direct interest in the kind of research that is being covered. Some more traditional areas, like manufacturing, agro-food and tourism, also need to be aware of social trends, so efforts will be made to bring them Platon will also help SME managers to improve their administrative skills

Research players and SME groupings
“It would not be realistic to expect a typical small business to participate directly in socio-economic research projects,” comments Papageorgiou. “They may appreciate the need but don’t have the skills or experience to participate in such projects. We will mainly target the organisations that small businesses join in our six participating countries, Greece, Italy, Germany, the UK, Poland and Estonia. These ‘SME groupings’ could be industrial associations, sectoral groupings, clusters and networks and Chambers of

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 19

ETI Volume 2
“In today’s highly competitive and internationalised business environment, smaller companies and groups need to look ahead more than ever.”

through training and by taking part in these research projects. Smaller businesses are unlikely to take account of socio-economic factors and the increasing importance of corporate social responsibility in their business planning. Many research projects, processes and services fail to be turned into business opportunities because these aspects are not sufficiently recognised in the design and validation stage. Platon is adopting a range of measures to help achieve its objectives. They include ‘conventional’ information days, networking events, workshops and similar activities. A range of more advanced services has also been devised for individual SMEs and groups of SMEs, including training sessions, strategic guidance and help in preparing research action plans. “More than 2 000 SMEs, SME groupings and research organisations in the EU will be contacted, informed, join in and generally benefit from our activities,” concludes Papageorgiou.

Project title
Top-down approach to initiate and enhance SMEs’ participation in European research in economic, political, social sciences and humanities and to support their strategic decision-making

Contact person
Dimitrios Papageorgiou International Environment and Quality Services North Greece Ltd Nestoros Typa 7 54646 Thessaloniki Greece papageorgiou@qplan.gr

Contract number
CT-2005-023315

Start date
01/10/2005

Project website
www.platonproject.net

Duration
27 months

Participants
1 Q-PLAN N.G. – International Environment and Quality Services North Greece Ltd (EL) 2 Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea (IT) 3 Hill & Knowlton Eesti A.S. (EE) 4 Politechnika Wroclawska (PL) 5 Universität Hannover (DE) 6 Beta Technology Ltd (UK)

Total project cost
695 398

EC contribution
© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

565 434

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 20

Prompting participation from Europe’s peripheries

PROMPT

SMEs in peripheral regions may be hi-tech “Prompt offers a rare opportunity for isolated SMEs to expand their horizons and innovative, but they rarely get involved in EU RTD and access the many benefits of projects. Along with the usual shortage of time and money, these participating in transnational SMEs may lack even basic information about how to participate. The research projects.” PROMPT project aims to promote involvement in ten peripheral regions, and prepare SMEs for FP7 participation. ‘Bottom-up’ activities will identify suitable small and medium-sized enterprises to join project consortia. A ‘top-down’ approach will develop proposals in which peripheral regions take a lead role. Finally, exchanges with staff in organisations experienced in EU projects will transfer important skills to the peripheral regions – and equip the SMEs to participate in projects to their best possible advantage.
Businesses in the isolated and peripheral regions of Europe are far from rustic or antiquated. Many are hi-tech enterprises with superior know-how and innovation capabilities. They have much to contribute to Europe’s RTD programmes and activities. In return, transnational collaboration will help to improve the skills, knowledge and innovative capabilities of these SMEs, and thus contribute to the economic and technological development of their regions. But like SMEs throughout Europe, these far-flung companies lack the time and resources to actively seek out projects or develop their own proposals. Furthermore, their geographical isolation often cuts them off from even the most basic information. They may never have heard of Framework Programmes, let alone considered contributing to a project.

Talent spotting
Prompt takes a three-pronged approach to achieve its ambitious aims. The initial bottom-up component involves the partners analysing the particular strengths of the SMEs in their regions. The partners will select sectors on which to focus, and from their existing knowledge of the SMEs in these sectors, invite promising companies to participate in Prompt activities. These candidate SMEs will be visited by staff from the local Prompt partner organisations who will conduct audits and interviews to identify each company’s capacity to participate in research projects. A final portfolio of suitable SMEs will be distributed among the Prompt partners, other organisations close to Europe’s major participants in FP projects, and various networks (for example, other Innovation Relay Centres) to see if any of the SMEs could meet requests from existing research projects for additional partners, or join consortia developing proposals for future projects. Along with this matching exercise, Prompt is also taking a top-down approach. The partners want to stimulate the submission of project proposals generated and coordinated by SMEs from the peripheral regions. To achieve this task, the Prompt partners will create a think-tank of scientists, researchers and industrialists, recruited from their ranks and from other institutions around Europe. The goal of this forum is to develop

Bridging the knowledge gap
The Prompt project was initiated by the Canary Islands Technological Institute (ICT) to break down some of these barriers to participation. It realised that involvement of SMEs from peripheral regions in transnational research could help to improve their skills, knowledge and innovative capabilities, and thus contribute to the economic and technological development of these regions.

Prompt is a unique collaboration between technology, innovation, and research institutes from ten peripheral regions of Europe. Several of the partners are members of regional Innovation Relay Centres consortia, but all offer support for, or have relationships with, a large proportion of the hi-tech SMEs in a number of island communities (Canary and Balearic Islands, Madeira, Malta, Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, Iceland and Crete) and the Aegean region of Turkey. The ETI project aims to provide a number of targeted SMEs in these regions with the necessary knowledge, skills and support to participate in European research programmes, form project consortia, and develop and submit research proposals of their own. Over the course of Prompt’s funding period, the partners hope to work on around 20 both SME-driven proposals and involving SME as partners, involving about 40 SME partners in total. These proposals will be in response primarily to the first calls of the Seventh Framework Programme.

Peripheral islands, like Malta, much to contribute to Europe’s RTD programmes and activities.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 21

ETI Volume 2
“The aim is to build long-lasting, sustainable partnerships that will link these the SMEs in peripheral regions to the rest of European research.”

ideas for technological projects in which the SMEs from the peripheral regions could play a prominent role. The final aspect of this project focuses on staff training for both the partners and the SMEs. Successful transnational technological cooperation will only be possible if participants can rely on what is often their most scarce resource – qualified human resources. The project therefore will include an exchange programme: researchers and innovation managers from mainland Europe who have experience of EU projects will be invited to spend time with their counterparts in peripheral regions, and vice versa. These exchanges, along with the SME auditing activities and the development of research proposals and transnational SME consortia, will be a major boost for technology companies in some of Europe’s most isolated communities. Through Prompt, they will not only discover the many opportunities for RTD activities in Europe, but will be equipped to get involved in them, too.

Project title
Peripheral regions oriented measure for promotion of technological intelligence

Contact person
Juan Ruiz Alzola Plaza de Sixto Machado 3 38009 Santa Cruz de Tenerife – Canary Islands Spain Tel: + 34 922 56 89 00 Fax: + 34 922 56 89 01 E-mail: jruiz@itccanarias.org www.itccanarias.org

Contract number
CT-2005-023220

Start date
01/09/2005

Duration
30 months

Project website:
www.promptnet.org

Total project cost
788 200
© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

Participants
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias S.A. (ES) Consorzio per l’Assistenza alle Piccole e Medie Imprese (IT) Malta Enterprise (MT) Fundación IBIT (ES) Polo Cientifico e Tecnologico da Madeira – Madeira Tecnopolo S.A. (PT) Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (EL) Technological Institute of Iceland (IS) Ege Universitesi Bilim-Teknoloji Uygulama ve Arastirma Merkezi (TR) Consorzio Catania Ricerche (IT) Cyprus Institute of Technology (CY)

EC contribution
656 461

Businesses in the isolated and peripheral regions of Europe, like Iceland, are far from rustic or antiquated.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 22

Cleaning up surface treatment

PROSURF

Surface treatment of metals and manufacture “Prosurf will establish mechanisms for introducing more sophisticated of printed circuit boards are two similar areas of industrial technology and increase activity. They are dominated by small enterprises, and face employment and skill growing pollution problems and competition from regions where labour is levels in these SMEs.” cheap and environmental legislation less stringent. The Prosurf Coordinated Action is identifying market and research trends in the sector. By linking the SMEs in an information network, it will encourage them to take part in research projects for the first time. This should help them to improve their practice and introduce new processes and products with added value. These measures should create employment and safeguard the economic future of the sector.

There are many small businesses in two closely related fields of industrial technology: the surface treatment of metals and the manufacture of printed circuit boards. Like many small firms, the majority use the technology that they know and rarely have the resources to take part in research and development programmes. Most of them employ fewer than 20 people. Yet the two sectors are both under commercial pressure and would benefit by upgrading their processes and practices. The Prosurf coordinated action, in the part of FP6 that is devoted to stepping up economic and technological intelligence, is focused on developing a research and innovation strategy to meet their needs.

Boost for technology
Much EU research has already been invested in technological improvement, driven by environmental pressure. It has resulted in some lead-free solders for PCB manufacture and reduced chromium content for some plated finishes. “Much more work is needed, however, to increase the range, complexity and value of products available,” comments Dr Dalrymple. “Prosurf will establish mechanisms for introducing more sophisticated technology and increase employment and skill levels in these SMEs.” The project will start by analysing the needs of the sector for new technology and market information. Collecting this information is no mean task in view of the large number of small companies that have to be canvassed. The analysis will look at the innovative potential of current research and generate a research strategy and a road map for its implementation. It will also gather market intelligence, analysing economic trends and identifying opportunities. “This project can only succeed with good information,” says Dr Dalrymple. ”Networking and dissemination will be vital to integrate the sector. We are setting up a web-based platform to coordinate communication with the SMEs and creating more specialised groupings within the sector. They will be able to influence the course of the project.” A further goal is to establish best practice for implementing the research strategy formulated in the initial stages. This will help the SMEs to gain access to emerging and future

Sectoral problems
“These SMEs need to increase the level of their technology and become more competitive,” explains Dr Ian Dalrymple of C-Tech Innovation Ltd, UK, who coordinates the Prosurf project. “One problem common to both areas is the increasing need to be aware of environmental concerns. Both industries rely on a multitude of chemical processes, many of them toxic and capable of causing significant harm to the environment.” Surface finishing implies anything that alters the surface of a metal or gives it a coating to improve its properties. It includes plating, anodising, etching and phosphating. Many such processes use waterbased toxic solutions containing metals like cadmium and chromium and corrosive acids, which give rise to serious effluent problems. Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are crucial components of electronic assemblies and their manufacture often includes metal-finishing processes. PCB makers need to find alternatives to lead solder and harsh cleaning materials. In Europe, legislation to protect the environment is becoming evermore demanding, a burden that is not shared by competitors in the Far East, where labour costs are also much lower. PCB makers in particular are under great market pressure. The way for these companies to maintain their market position is to boost their technology so that they can make better products that will command a higher price than the current output. They also have to continue the improvements they have made in environmental protection, with cleaner processes, taking into account end-of-life issues like recycling and safe disposability.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 23

ETI Volume 2
“Increasing the level of technology in this field and bringing out new products will make this sector more viable in tomorrow's markets.”

R&D programmes, maximising the benefit obtained from them. A test of success will be the involvement of surface finishers and PCB makers in proposals and projects for the next Framework Programme. “Increasing the level of technology in this field and bringing out new products will make this sector more viable in tomorrow’s markets,” concludes Dr Dalrymple. “New methods to prepare aluminium coatings, which are very difficult and expensive to achieve at the moment, constitute one objective. Another is to eliminate water-based electrolytes completely, and replace them with ionic liquids which have a salt-like structure but are liquid at room temperature and increase the range of possibilities.” Such developments will advance the state of the art, modernise the sector and secure its future.

Project title
Promotion and Support of SME Research and Innovation in the Surface Finishing and Printed Circuit Manufacturing Sectors

Contact person
Ian Dalrymple C-Tech Innovation Limited Capenhurst Technology Park Chester CH1 6EH United Kingdom Tel: +44 151 347 2908 Fax: +44 151 347 2901 ian.dalrymple@ctechinnovation.com

Contract number
CT-2005-023270

Start date
01/09/2005

Duration
36 months

Project website
www.prosurf-online.org and www.prosurf-online.com

Total project cost
1 738 321

Participants
1 C-Tech Innovation Ltd (UK) 2 Deutsche Gesellschaft Für Galvanound Oberflaechentechnik E.V (DE) 3 EIPC Services B.V. (NL) 4 RTC North Ltd (UK) 5 Syndicat National des Entreprises d’Applications, de Revêtements et Traitements des Surfaces (FR) 6 International Project Management, Plating and Materials (FR)

EC contribution
1 272 179

© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 24

Rescue remedy to stimulate energy SMEs
“Language barriers are a significant issue.”

RESCUE

Stimulating research and innovation in SMEs from Central and Eastern Europe is an important factor

in the region's economic recovery and future European growth. This is especially so in the energy sector, where additional factors such as sustainability and renewable technologies need to be considered. The RESCUE project will prepare SMEs involved in renewable energy to take part in future European RTD activities by addressing barriers that impede participation such as language issues and unfamiliarity with modern R&D project organisation. The project will stimulate effective networking capabilities and use technology audits to match SME skills with relevant RTD consortia.

For the energy sector, the recent enlargement of the EU confirms and extends current energy trends: rising consumption, growing demand for conventional fossil fuels and increasing dependence on imported energy sources. In Eastern and Central Europe, additional factors come into play as the new Member States have strong and recent legacies of highly centralised and planned economies. This poses significant new challenges for the European energy sector, in particular with respect to the introduction of renewable energy sources (RES) and distributed power generation. Since the 1990s, Central and Eastern European countries have been rebuilding their economies in the market model. The success of these reforms is crucial to the economic recovery of these countries, as well as future EU economic performance. This is especially so in the energy sector, although it is also important to provide a sound basis for sustainable development in this area. One of the most important factors in achieving this is the introduction of innovations to the industry: in particular, making the most of the potential for renewable energy technologies in the region. In order to mobilise SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) in the region to move to more R&D intensive activities, it is important to integrate with activities and initiatives in Western Europe and collaborate with other EU companies. However, a number of specific factors impede such integration efforts. These include language barriers, unfamiliarity with modern R&D project organisation and management, and effective networking capabilities. These factors are relevant throughout the business sector in Eastern and Central Europe, but especially so for SMEs.

A key step will be to assess the current level of information and resources within the SME partners in RESCUE and the general situation in the participating countries and region. This will be done by producing country reports on RES technology trends and specific structural obstacles. In parallel, a study will look to set appropriate benchmarks from western European best practice. Technology audits will assess how the SMEs manage innovation and strategic information, how their infrastructure can cope with involvement with collaborative RTD, how they manage intellectual property, and their R&D training and resources. The goal is to make sure that SMEs in the RES sector are fully aware of the market and technology situation and future trends in the European market place. The process will identify gaps in the SMEs’ knowledge and therefore the training and assistance that is needed. Information on SMEs that are already involved in the sector will also be gathered to assess their immediate technology needs and opportunities.

RESCUE team
The RESCUE team will provide awareness-raising events in each participating country to show the benefits that engaging in collaborative European research programmes can bring. At the same time, participation of Eastern European partners will be promoted with Western European organisations.

Integration barriers
To tackle these barriers, the RESCUE project will provide selected SMEs from the RES sector with knowledge about FP6 and FP7 programmes and processes, strengthen their competitive intelligence through targeted training, assist in their innovation activities and facilitate their co-operation with the research sector and other FP players across Europe. A key role for the project will be the provision of information on technology opportunities in national languages. Many documents are only available (at least initially) in English or French and German and this can be a significant barrier to participation.

An innovative small-scale Polish wind turbine

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 25

ETI Volume 2
“This will increase the participation rate for SMEs from Eastern and Central Europe.”

RESCUE is coordinated by the Polish EuroProjekts consultancy and includes a selection of SMEs, RTD and Innovation centres from Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia with knowledge of and access to the SMEs players in their national RES scene. In addition, two Western European organisations are included in the project to provide the link with ongoing projects and potential partners in the West. CLER is a large French RES association that includes around 150 professional organisations in France and other countries involved in clean energy. The organisations cover enterprises, regional bodies, NGOs and universities. The WIP KG consultancy from Germany is another active RES organisation with experts in both the technical and non-technical side of renewable energy. The RESCUE project will work closely with another ETI project Synergy + to ensure their work is complementary. This will include exchange of information, adopting a common SME audit format and coordinating training planning where appropriate.

Project title
Action Plan for stimulating research and innovation in SMEs from CEECs in the renewable energy field

Contact person
Alicja Walczak Europrojekts Sp. Z.o.o. Marconich 2/5a 02-954 Warsaw Poland Tel: +48 224 231 883 Fax: +48 226 517 452 alicja.walczak@europrojekts.com.pl

Contract number
CT-2005-023438

Start date
01/09/2005

Duration
30 months

Project website
http://rescue.protechnology.lt

Total project cost
603 652
© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

Participants
Europrojekts SP Z.o.o. (PL) Latvijas Tehnologiskais Centrs (LV) Ec Brec Instytut Energetyki Odnawialnej SP Z.o.o. (PL) Comité de Liaison Energies Renouvelables (FR) European Labour Institute (BG) Wip Kg (DE) Hungarian Science and Technology Foundation (HU) Centrul Pentru Promovarea Energiei Curate si Eficiente in Romania (RO) 9 Kauno Technologijos Universitetas (LT) 10 Bic Bratislava. Spol. Sro (SK) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

EC contribution
512 256

An innovative smallscale Polish wind turbine

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 26

Secure in the knowledge

SECURE-FORCE

Europe has thousands of SMEs involved in “Our goal is to stimulate SMEs concerned with research in ICT security to get advancing the various aspects of ICT security; for involved in European-level example, internet information protection, database security projects through FP7.” against terrorism, hardware management and crisis management. This is an area where innovation and coordination is vital because of the current threats to data security, but the sector is rather fragmented. The ETI Secure-Force project will reduce the isolation of these small and medium-sized enterprises by stimulating coordination and awareness of current research needs and successes. The ultimate aim is to encourage more securitysector SMEs to become involved with relevant projects within FP7.

Security issues in information and communications technologies represented a world market of over 13bn in 2004 – clearly an area of concern and value to countless organisations in industry, commerce, government and other sectors. Data is a valuable commodity, and in the current climate of cyber crime and terrorism, efforts to ensure its security in databases and in network communication systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Much of the research on data protection systems is being undertaken by highly innovative SMEs although, as a result, the sector is fragmented and much could be done to encourage interaction. The Secure-Force project has been developed within the Economic and Technological Intelligence actions (ETI) to give these SMEs strategic support for their research. Its 23 consortium partners include small and medium-sized enterprises and SME groupings actively involved in research in these sectors. The project also brings in information-handling consultancies, Innovation Relay Centres and National Contact Points for the EU Framework Programmes, which will be actively involved in meeting the project target to disseminate its findings to 3 000 relevant SMEs within three years, in at least 14 countries.

Given a pool of thousands of SMEs which could be potential participants in FP7 projects, Secure-Force will offer training events to raise awareness of the possibilities for research collaboration and support. Their interests and activities will be audited to gather information on their particular expertise and research needs, leading to identification of potential research partners. Another part of this information-gathering will consist of continued scrutiny of FP6 and FP7 project proposals and consultation with project coordinators to identify opportunities for SME involvement.

SMEs into FP7
Workshops and meetings provided by Secure-Force for SMEs will enable them to prepare for participation in FP7 projects by increasing their understanding of the strategy behind the Framework Programme and the critical factors for successful participation. These will explore the particular difficulties facing several types of SMEs and SME groupings – for example, developing working relationships with large companies within a consortium while maintaining the special expertise and industrial property of the SME. High-tech SMEs and start-ups may feel particularly vulnerable in entering large consortia, wary of the many demands which could be made on limited human and financial resources. SMEs involved in software development would benefit from exploring how their innovative solutions could be integrated into larger initiatives, both for research and exploitation.

Present state of the art
Secure-Force will first need to establish a clear picture of the research being carried out today in all these security-related areas. Having defined its methods, it will identify the relevant projects of FP6, together with the SMEs involved, to reveal the critical market sectors. Investigation of the areas of existing work and the activities of the key players already involved in FP6 projects should identify continuing research needs. Project partners will also assess SMEs in the sector for their likely interest in becoming involved in future projects, and attempt to identify the factors for successful SME involvement. Part of these activities will be to develop an on-line database which will be used to gather potential work areas and SMEs for future FP7 research projects. Partners will continue to update and maintain this throughout the project.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 27

ETI Volume 2
“Security is really critical at this time. It is vital to gather information and disseminate our actions all over Europe – the European added value is really important.”

Having raised the awareness and improved the readiness of SMEs for participation in FP7, Secure-Force will continue to support them during their preparations. It will also offer connection with networks of industrial partners, enabling them to set up new collaborations for their own projects. All security-sector SMEs should find the Secure-Force database an invaluable source of new research and commercial contacts. The benefits to the security industry will be the coordinated development of sophisticated systems through heightened awareness of research partners and opportunities. The effects will also be felt on a much wider scale, as European companies develop highly effective data protection systems for countless applications.

Project title
Stimulating SMEs Faced with research issues regarding glObal secuRity Challenge in Europe

Contact person
Mahary Ramasindraibe Alma Consulting Group 55 Avenue René Cassin Case Postale 418 69338 Lyon cedex 09 France Tel: +33 47 235 8030 Fax: +33 47 235 8031 mramasindraibe@almacg.com

Contract number
CT-2005-023426

Start date
01/01/2006

Duration
36 months

Participants
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Alma Consulting Group (FR) Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft und Raumfahrt E.V. (DE) Innostart Nemzeti Uzleti es Innovacios Kozpont Alapitvany (HU) Consen Eeig Euro-Group A.E.I.E. (ES) Informatikai Vállalkozások Szövetsége (HU) Innost Srl (IT) Luxinnovation GIE (LU) Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum der Steinbeis Stiftung für Wirtschaftsforderung (DE) Instituto Andaluz de Tecnologia (ES) Atlantis Consulting S.A. (EL) Assemblée des Chambres Francaises de Commerce et de l’Industrie (FR) RTD Talos Ltd (CY) Alma Consulting Group Ltd (IL) Targeting Innovation Ltd (UK) Technical Support for European Organisations Sprl (BE) Catt Innovation Management GmbH (AT) Ciaotech Srl (IT) Finanziaria Laziale di Sviluppo SpA (IT) Consorzio Sistemi Esperti per la Manutenzione (IT) PNO Exploitatie B.V. (NL) Econet S.L. (ES) Krajowa Izba Gospodarcza Elektroniki i Telekomunikacji (PL) Zernike Group Holding B.V. (NL)

Total project cost
2 430 582

EC contribution
1 637 705

© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 28

Tapping the potential of South-East Europe

SEE-INNOVATION

Stability in the Balkans and other South-East “We hope to see good partnerships, with an exchange of experience and contacts Europe countries is a prime concern for the European that might also lead to business Union, with a view to their eventual accession. That is why many relationships.” support actions within the EU Framework Programme target these regions. SEE-Innovation aims to help SMEs in these regions participate in European R&D projects in the Information Society Technology (IST) sector. Potential small and mediumsized enterprise partners have already been identified, and their profiles will be disseminated throughout the EU to attract project consortia. They will be trained in procedures and opportunities to enable them to best position themselves for upcoming calls in FP7.

Enhanced EU-Associated Candidate (ACC) and potential candidate country co-operation is one of the pillars of EU policy towards SouthEast Europe. The reasons for this are both political and economic. It is important for Europe as a whole to nurture stabilisation of countries in these regions and enable their eventual accession to the European Union. That is why, on the technological research front, many support actions and initiatives in the EU Framework Programme have targeted South-East Europe. The SEE-Innovation project is a Specific Support Action which aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the Western Balkan and Accession Candidate countries to participate in European R&D activities and programmes in the Information Society Technology (IST) sector. The South-East European countries represented are Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia-Montenegro, Romania and Turkey. The emphasis is on IST thematic areas, especially eGovernment, eHealth and eLearning, which are of particular interest to innovative SMEs from this region. A secondary objective is to guide both groups of countries towards a more targeted approach to future co-operation in the forthcoming Framework Programme 7 (FP7). The project started in July 2005 and will run for two years.

Europe, and between these networks and EU organisations. They can then readily exchange ideas and will have a better chance of collaborating in joint research projects in the future. During the course of the project, seven national mentoring workshops – one for each SEE country – will be held. In addition, representatives from the selected enterprises will be trained on the funding opportunities provided by the Framework Programme, and on its qualification procedures. There are three transnational know-how transfer events scheduled, with the thematic focus of each event determined by the research domains of the selected SMEs as well as the strategic objectives to be addressed by the upcoming FP7 calls. In order to set out the competence and profile of 21 highpotential SMEs, showcase brochures will be assembled for each one – three from each SEE country. The brochures will be widely distributed across the EU. Finally, a total of 70 partner search profiles will be submitted to a partner-search mechanism, Ideal-IST, which is specialised in this field.

Support experience
The project is led by a Greek management consulting firm already operating in South-East Europe. The company brings considerable experience in the management of EU-funded IST projects. Two other EU partners, from Austria and Belgium, are research organisations with wide experience of funding and assisting SMEs. The three EU partners know each other from collaborating in previous IST programme activities, and

SME directory
The first step has already been completed. This is the identification of SMEs with the potential, experience and interest to participate successfully in IST research projects. Questionnaires were sent out to all SMEs identified in the targeted regions, with the help of the partner national associations. From the questionnaires returned, a directory of some 120 selected SME profiles with contact details has been developed and made available on the SEE-Innovation project website (http://www.see-innovation.org). The directory can then be accessed by potential project partners and other interested parties throughout the EU. The next step is to coach the SMEs on opportunities offered by the Union’s FP6 in IST and related programmes, and help them best position themselves within a competitive offer in order to attract future project consortia. The final step of the project is to facilitate the formation of networks among SMEs in the region of South-East

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 29

ETI Volume 2
“We can really help SMEs move forward in this domain.”
in this capacity play the role of mentors to the selected SMEs. The other eight partners are similar national associations in each of the target countries, as well as Greece, whose members are many of the SMEs targeted in the project. These associations have knowledge of similar support actions in the past, are in regular contact with them and are aware of their needs and capabilities. A synergistic, transnational effect of the transfer of knowledge and experience among SMEs and their partners has already occurred in previous research projects of this kind. It has been achieved through close networking among the SMEs themselves as well as between the SMEs and their EU partner organisations. Results have been particularly noticeable in the Balkan region, where relationships built up by contacts through networking has ultimately led to commercial ventures.

Project title
Facilitating Innovation for ICT SMEs in South Eastern Europe

Contact person
Raphael Koumeri Planet S.A. Louise Riencourt 64, Apollon Tower 11523 Athens Greece Tel: +30 210 690 5000 Fax: +30 210 698 1885 planet@skypro.be

Contract number
CT-2005-23318

Start date
01/07/2005

Duration
24 months

Participants
1 2 3 4 5 6 Planet S.A. (EL) Zamirnet (HR) Macedonian Association of Information Technology (MK) Drustvo za Informacione Sisteme i Racunarske Mreze – Informaciono Drustvo Scg (YU) Instituti Shqiptar per Studime dhe Edukim ne Teknologjine e Informacionit (AL) Association of Information Technology Companies of Northern Greece (EL) Zentrum für Soziale Innovation – Universität für Bodenkultur Wien (AT) Bulgarian Association of Software Companies Bascom (BG) Romanian Association for Electronic and Software Industry (RO) Turkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Arastirma Kurumu (TR) Technical Support for European Organisations Sprl (BE)

Total project cost
725 653

EC contribution
679 420

© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

7 8 9 10 11

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 30

SMEs find the power to perform

SME-MPOWER

“This project’s focus on coaching will build Coaching is at the heart of smE-MPOWER. up both the SMEs we work with and the Project partners will guide and support selected SMEs to professional support they receive. generate ideas, search for partners, negotiate and produce This model will empower detailed proposals for European research projects. This process will use SMEs to own and a web-based platform that facilitates open discussion and access to experts from help define European among the partners. At the same time, the smE-MPOWER partners will participate in their research.” own coaching activities, through peer mentoring and the sharing of best practice. Functioning
like a virtual SME intermediary, smE-MPOWER hopes to generate over 20 research proposals and simultaneously train up professionals to establish greater transnational co-operation among SMEs in the future.
It is easy to appreciate why few hi-tech SMEs (small and mediumsized enterprises) ever participate in European research. High-level collaborative projects take up precious resources: time, staff and money. SMEs also need to understand the complex processes of transnational research, not just the scientific issues at stake. Most Economic and Technological Intelligence projects tend to focus on the needs of the SMEs, but the smE-MPOWER project goes a step further. It also aims to train and improve the know-how of staff from SME intermediary organisations, such as Innovation Relay Centres and business incubators. In this way, the smE-MPOWER addresses the long term: when the project ends, people from these organisations will have the tools and skills to drive SME participation forward, helping them to produce their own proposals and to take leading roles in many more projects. Using this platform ‘co-operation coaches’ can support and engage with their own candidate SMEs, find other coaches for expert advise and draw on coaches’ experiences of similar cases.

Step-by-step progression
The first task, however, is to select candidate SMEs, primarily from the manufacturing sector. This is the work of the smE-MPOWER SME Mobiliser Group which will try different ways of approaching SMEs, informing them about European research activities (such as FP7), and assessing their abilities to participate. Around 3 000 SMEs will be contacted and 400 will be selected to move to the next stage of the coaching process. The selected SMEs will be allocated to around ten Strategic Interest Groups, depending on their expressed research needs, interests or capabilities. All the companies will be able to interact with one another through discussion forums set up on the smE-MPOWER web interface. These interactions will be monitored and steered by socalled SIG facilitators. This method of live discussion and webenabled interactions allow the SMEs to respond to ideas and build relationships in ‘real time’, rather than relying on being matched with other SMEs via database queries and searches. As concrete ideas for research emerge from these discussions, interested SMEs will be transferred into “closed groups” under the instruction of a co-operation coach. The coach will work with the SMEs to expand ideas into detailed project proposals, address any IPR and legal issue, and find additional partners or research contractors if necessary.

A coaching community
smE-MPOWER will create a unique learning community of “cooperation coaches”, called PEER-NET. These coaches, staff from SME intermediary organisations like innovation support centres, technology transfer offices and business incubators, will share best practice and give peer-to-peer mentoring to transfer knowledge and skills. The professionalisation of key SME support agencies will ensure that they empower their client-base well beyond the duration of the project. At the outset of the project, the core partners will focus on establishing an organisational structure to bring all the SME networking and intermediary partners to the same level of expertise and competence. Partners come from Switzerland, Romania, Germany, Lithuania, France, Slovakia, UK, Cyprus, Israel and Ireland, so their experiences and approaches to their work will be quite different. By the end of smE-MPOWER, all the SME-facing partners will have aligned their work systems, making use of the same web-based platform. At this stage, PEER-NET will be opened up to other interested parties; the lessons learned and the success of the platform will be disseminated across Europe and many more SMEs will benefit from smE-MPOWER’s tools and support systems. The web-based platform is central to smE-MPOWER and is another distinguishing feature of the project. The platform is based on software developed by an Intelligent Manufacturing Systems project called HARMONY, funded under the Fourth Framework Programme.

The project partners.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 31

ETI Volume 2
“smE-MPOWER’s novel on-line networking tool brings SMEs together from the very earliest stages, thus establishing the strong relationships necessary for any research project’s success.”

The smE-MPOWER partners hope that this coaching process will generate over 20 proposals involving more than 150 SME partners. A Strategic Information Manager, chosen from among the smE-MPOWER partners, will screen information in the public domain regarding SME involvement, in particular covering topics that affect the progress of negotiations or hinder SME co-operation. These may include difficulties in agreeing IPR transfer, administrative structures or funding systems. The software platform will help to disseminate this information to the Mobiliser Group, the Strategic Interest Facilitators and the co-operation coaches so that they can anticipate problems and develop strategies to overcome them quickly. In this way, the different coaches and facilitators will learn from each other, and from hands-on experience. Using its on-line networking software, smE-MPOWER will bring SMEs and support services together. Functioning like a virtual SME intermediary organisation, smE-MPOWER will produce actual research proposals to respond to the first calls of FP7, and develop a body of professional coaches dedicated to establishing transnational SME co-operation in the future.

Project title
Empowering SMEs for long-term research interest and increased participation in EU RTD activities

Contact person
Katrin Reschwamm Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V. Hansastrasse 27 C Munchen Germany Tel: +49 39 140 90 625 Fax: +49 39 140 90 939 01 katrin.reschwamm@iff.fraunhofer.de

Contract number
CT-2005-023401

Start date
01/11/2005

Duration
24 months

Project website
www.sme-mpower.net

Total project cost
1 139 058
© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

Participants
1 Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Angewandten Forschung E.V. (DE) 2 Digipro Computer Consultants Ltd (CY) 3 Beacon Tech Ltd (IL) 4 Regionalne Poradenske a Informacne Centrum Presov (SK) 5 Centre Cim de Suisse Occidentale (CH) 6 Plato Ireland Network Ltd (IE) 7 Lietuvos Inovaciju Centras (LT) 8 University of Brighton (UK) 9 Centrale Recherche S.A. (FR) 10 Centrul de Afaceri Transilvania (RO)

EC contribution
980 328

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 32

Great leaders can also be small

SME-TO-LEAD

“Coordinating an FP research project holds SMEs are very often supporting partners many unknowns for SMEs. We make them in Framework Programme (FP) research projects, better aware of how to submit the contributing specific expertise. In that role, however, their influence proposal, run the project and, can be limited, as the project direction is often set and managed by larger more importantly, what to partners. SME-to-LEAD aims to redress the balance by offering training to small do with the results and medium-sized enterprises so that they have the competence and confidence to afterwards.”
coordinate and manage FP projects. The consortium partners – themselves former project partners, coordinators and/or technical advisers – have long and complementary experience of the FPs. They will offer best practices and guidelines to SMEs, enabling them to be effective project coordinators.

SME-to-LEAD aims to facilitate high-quality training in coordinating FP research projects, in all fields. In FP6, the training will apply to all instruments but will focus on STREPS and Integrated Projects for SMEs in particular. The project team of ten partners includes National Contact Points for SMEs, main advisers to companies on FP mechanisms and participation, and Project Technical Advisers (PTAs) contributing to the Commission’s monitoring of research projects. The SME-toLEAD team can therefore provide very comprehensive guidance and insight into EU expectations.

stages of preparing a proposal, with attention to structuring a work plan and setting the roles of partners, legal and intellectual property aspects and contract negotiations with the Commission. As part of the second module, SMEs are taken through the startup phase of a project, explaining the basis for organisation and actions of the entire project. Starting with the importance of the kickoff meeting, discussions lead to consideration of the mid-term assessment, and the various problems and solutions which may arise. This module is particularly suitable for SME coordinators who have recently been awarded FP6 or FP7 projects. The third module focuses on completion, any necessary revision of the work plan and, most importantly, the technological implementation plan (TIP) or plan for use and dissemination of knowledge (PUDK). Management of the exploitation of the outcome of research projects is one of the Commission’s key objectives, as many projects from earlier FPs have been completed successfully but failed to exploit and commercialise the results. SME-to-LEAD is one of many current initiatives to focus on this aspect, and it should give SMEs an invaluable basis on which to plan the successful exploitation of project outcomes.

Management
SME-to-LEAD plans to offer training to 360 SMEs over a period of 36 months, spanning the changeover from FP6 to FP7. The SMEs likely to take part in FP projects will be identified at local level by the National Contact Points. The project will target SMEs which have already participated in FP projects and would now like to take a leading role – those which have coordinated before but were disappointed with their experience, and those new to FP projects. The coordinator of an FP project has many responsibilities beyond contributing to the advancement or adaptation of a technology, which may be a large burden to an SME with limited resources. They include preparing the project proposal and establishing the consortium; negotiating the contract with the Commission, managing the partners and ensuring the timely completion of the deliverables. In addition, the coordinator has to supervise the financial arrangements and liaise with the Commission. These tasks involve significant time investment and commitment, and careful management is essential if they are not to become excessive in relation to the project work itself.

Stronger SMEs, stronger industry
Part of the effective conclusion of a project, according to the SMEto-LEAD training, is to confirm the technical achievements have been met, and to establish the cost benefits and expectations for final impact. Applying this to SME-toLEAD itself, the project has very significant

Modular training
Training events are modular and address specific aspects according to the needs of the SMEs, based on past experience and their plans for future participation. An initial module explains the process of proposing and agreeing a project. Following a background on FP6 and/or FP7, SMEs will examine how a typical FP project proposal is developed and how it differs from national or local research projects. Participants will have the opportunity to look into the

Training in how to lead.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 33

ETI Volume 2
“Training will give SMEs the confidence to take a greater role in the project, as coordinator and not just another partner.”

value for the development of SMEs in many sectors, enabling them to make a substantial contribution to individual research projects at European level which they would not otherwise be able to achieve. SMEs will clearly benefit from improved competitiveness. SME-to-LEAD anticipates that this extra industrial skill will generate in the region of 1.5bn through creating or securing some 5 000 jobs, and will save up to 100 000 per partner in removing project delays.

Contact person Project title
Training of SMEs to be successful co-ordinators of framework programme projects Mick Parmar Pera Innovation Limited Pera Innovation Park, Nottingham Road Melton Mowbray LE13 OPB United Kingdom Tel: +44 166 450 1501 Fax: +44 166 450 1589 mick.parmar@pera.com

Contract number
CT-2005-023378

Start date
01/11/2005

Project website Duration
36 months www.SMEtolead.org

Participants Total project cost
1 571 243 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pera Innovation Ltd (UK) Agence Bruxelloise pour l’Entreprise (BE) RTD Talos Ltd (CY) Latvijas Tehnologiskais Centrs (LV) Eurocentre – Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (DK) Cohausz Hannig Dawidowicz & Partner (DE) Tudomanyos es Technologiai Alapitvany (HU) Fundación Cartif (ES) Innovative Technologies Centre S.A. (EL) Agencia de Inovação – Inovação Empresarial e Transferencia de Tecnologia (PT)

EC contribution
917 240

© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 34

Food and fields for the future

SPAS

Huge numbers of small businesses play a “SMEs do not always have the possibility to innovate, so we hope to give them central role in European agriculture and the food industry, that opportunity.” but many lack opportunities to participate in research and innovation. The SPAS project is designed to ease the path for SMEs in the agro-food sector to learn about EU-funded research and participate in ongoing and future projects. Harnessing the knowledge and skills of SMEs will be crucial to developing the innovations needed to keep the agro-food industry efficient and competitive. The SPAS project will help the SMEs to identify needs and opportunities, link up with appropriate partners, and build project ideas into effective proposals.

In Europe, our food supplies seem very secure, and most of us enjoy the luxury of worrying more about choice and value, rather than whether or not we will have enough to eat. But maintaining an efficient, reliable and competitive agro-food sector will depend on continuing innovation. New crops, innovative working practices, the possibility of climate change, and competition from abroad are just some of the challenges that future research will need to address. Many of the most significant members of the agro-food sector are SMEs, such as small-scale producers, processors and equipment manufacturers. Collectively, these small and medium-sized enterprises account for a huge portion of the sector’s activity. For effective innovation, it is crucial to engage the SMEs in research – they are often the best people to identify problems and test proposed solutions. In the ETI project SPAS, a diverse range of partners experienced in EU-funded research have come together to encourage and assist SMEs to participate in FP6 and FP7 research projects. The 13 partners, from nine countries, include consultancy companies, technology centres and public and private research organisations. The partners developed the concept of the SPAS project by combining and building on the best aspects of two earlier project proposals.

• an extensive database of previously successful research projects and related activities; • promotion and coordination of direct actions by specialised members of the SPAS consortium to assist appropriate SMEs; • key information from the knowledge generated in other thematic networks like CAFÉ, or related projects, such as SMEforFOOD. This information will support technology transfer, and favour the development and use of cost-effective and environmentally friendly tools and practices. The virtual platform will be complemented by a periodic newsletter, a personalised mailing service, and a series of regional workshops and conferences. All of the project’s activities will provide comprehensive information and support service for the SMEs and other stakeholders. The work of the partners will include negotiating directly with the European Commission on behalf of SMEs.

Fruits of success
A successful SPAS project will draw together SMEs and other stakeholders in the European agro-food sector to create a much more cohesive and coordinated network than exists at present. The innovative capacity and competitiveness of the participating SMEs will be strengthened, both by the information they receive through the project, and also by subsequent participation in research. The partners hope that SPAS will eventually contribute to the creation of 10 new research and innovation consortiums. These will allow appropriate partners to

The virtual platform
The centrepiece of SPAS will be an extensive website, in all of the partners’ languages, which will serve as a virtual platform to promote information exchange leading to the design of new research projects. The website will be targeted at all key stakeholders: SMEs, research organisations, government bodies and consumers. It will be a place to highlight problems that need to be solved, explore routes towards innovative solutions, and find the right mix of partners to set up successful project proposals. The major tools provided by the website will be: • a systematic technology audit method that will identify SMEs’ needs and identify areas of complementary needs and skills; • a guide to best practices in the agro-food sector, which will support and encourage the participation of SMEs in FP6 and FP7 activities. This will be the common reference point among the different partners and beyond the SPAS consortium;

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 35

ETI Volume 2
“The project website will constitute a global information point for activities related to SMEs and the agro-food sector.”

work together on new project ideas that meet their common needs and take advantage of their complementarities. More specifically, SPAS should contribute to the submission of six proposals for participation in ongoing FP6 projects, and 10 proposals responding to FP7. By contributing to the design of research projects and participating in research, SMEs will be helping to create and sustain jobs, both for themselves and in the sector as a whole. They will also be able to provide “grass roots” input on ways to develop environmentally sustainable working practices in this sector which has such a large influence on the countryside we all wish to maintain and enjoy. Another important part of the SPAS project will be to contribute to the work of related technology platforms and projects. The partners expect to send a series of reports to other initiatives working in the field of agriculture and food.

Project title
SMEs virtual platform on agro-food sector to access the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes

Contact person
Jose Ignacio Blanco Cuesta BESESL S.A. Innovation and SMEs department Arco de Ladrillo, 64, P1-1º of.16 47008 Valladolid Spain Tel: +34 983 457 995 Fax: +34 983 471 179 j.i.blanco@besel.es

Contract number
CT-2005-023339

Start date
01/09/2005

Duration
24 months

Project website
www.spas.eu

Total project cost
1 122 480
© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

Participants
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 BESEL S.A. (ES) Agrotechnology and Food Innovations B.V. (NL) Meta Group Srl (IT) Innovations und Technologietransfer Salzburg GmbH (AT) Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij Oost Nederland N.V. (NL) Stiftelsen Nord-Trondelagsforskning (NO) Provincia di Mantova (IT) Food-Processing Initiative E.V. (DE) Tudomanyos es Technologiai Alapitvany (HU) Centro de Automatización, Robótica y Technologías de la Información y de la Fabricación (ES) 11 Aroew- Gesellschaft für Arbeits-, Reorganisationsund Oekologische Wirtschaftsbevatung mbH (DE) 12 Associação Universidade – Empresa para o Desenvolvimento – Techminho (PT) 13 Universitatea Dunarea de Jos din Galati (RO)

EC contribution
1 122 480

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 36

Good synergy builds better consortia
“Better research consortia will be built to involve SMEs.”

SYNERGY

The emerging market for Distributed Energy Resources (DER) in Europe offers many opportunities for SMEs to get involved. However, the market is complex and confusing. Synergy Plus will provide training and business analysis to

720 small and medium-sized enterprises which will help them get involved in the new research that will build this market. Its central concept is to match the SMEs’ technologies with market opportunities. This intense activity will produce a number of high-quality, innovative research consortia with partners from along the supply and innovation chain which have a high probability of success in gaining funding from European and national research programmes.
The use of Distributed Energy Resources (DER) is a growing trend in Europe due to the promotion of new renewable or more efficient energy technologies and the development of liberalised energy markets. The ability to generate electricity locally, for example via a combined heat and power facility with the option to reinject surplus electricity into the local distribution network, has positive environmental and economic characteristics. This new emerging era for electricity production presents many opportunities for European SMEs either in developing new technology, or maintaining or distributing new innovative systems. The Synergy Plus action will help them access this dynamic market through active involvement in RTD projects that will be supported in the next Research Framework Programme (FP7). The Synergy Plus project follows up an initial ETI project in this area (Synergy). This action showed that SMEs are not lacking ability or enthusiasm to join research consortia but need to gain specific knowledge that can be used to define development plans within clear market boundaries that are both regional and European. This will help them to access research results coming from both national and wider EU-funded programmes. element is the professional associations that organise or represent SMEs in the renewable energy and associated sectors. These organisations often commission research themselves, contribute to regulatory standards, etc. and are key to accessing large numbers of SMEs. The final group comprises potential investor institutions: corporate venture funds, banks and venture capitalists. This last contribution adds considerably to the value of the project as it will bring together innovative companies and access to significant capital. Research funding from the EC and national programmes can assist companies at the beginning of new product development, but a critical (and expensive) stage is demonstration activities, where smaller companies often have difficulty accessing capital. Bringing investors and SMEs together at a very early stage will stimulate bilateral initiatives and should ease the process for promising technology businesses.

Technology chain
Technology and business analysis by the research organisations will have the objective of selecting a short list of 200 SMEs with a high potential to join innovative projects. Working in conjunction with the future European technology platforms dealing with the DER-related technologies, 150 SMEs will be introduced into the last calls for proposals for FP6 and first calls for proposals for FP7. This should result in around 30 proposals being put forward that have been pre-screened and improved by an Advisory Board of Utilities (led by Gaz de France), by potential investors and by the National Energy Agencies.

Complex market
However, SMEs are confused by the potential complexity of future DER markets. The Synergy Plus team, with the support of National Energy Agencies (an element that was not included in the initial Synergy project), will provide a series of two-day training workshops that will be delivered to 720 SMEs in six Member States (Finland, France, Austria, Germany, Poland and Spain) fully describing the opportunities offered by DER. This extension of the Synergy project will further develop the resources in each SME and establish the profile of the kinds of technology the DER market will need. The central concept of Synergy Plus is to match the SMEs’ technologies with market opportunities via face-to-face training delivered at the workshops. The current consortium is coordinated by Technofi SA and consists of four distinct groups of organisations. There is a core group of technical experts from four research centres (VTT, Labein, Arsenal Research, Lodz University, ISET) that will be used to help SMEs to develop their ideas and potential. The expertise will also be able to match competencies and bring SMEs together. A second group is the national energy agencies which manage R&D at national level and know what roles SMEs can play in research programmes. The third

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 37

ETI Volume 2
“The aim is to match technology and market opportunities.”
This intense activity should produce that basis for some high quality, innovative consortia with partners from along the supply and innovation chain that will be able to get effectively involved in forthcoming FP7 projects. In addition all SMEs involved should be able to contribute to and benefit from other national and regional funding opportunities. A series of dissemination actions across Europe will also be coordinated by the French Energy Agency ADEME to open the Synergy Plus market place to SMEs of other member states and spread the best practise and main findings established by the project.

Project title
Expanding the competitive intelligence in the European distributed energy resources sector

Contact person
Vincent Morfouace Technofi S.A. Espace Berlioz, Rue Albert Caquot, BP 22 06901 Sophia-Antipolis Cedex France Tel: +33 493 653 444 Fax: +33 493 652 716 vmorfouace@symple.tm.fr

Contract number
CT-2005-023395

Start date
17/10/2005

Duration
24 months

Project website
www.synergy-project.org/

Total project cost
2 006 320

Participants
1 Technofi S.A. (FR) 2 Osterreichisches Forschungs und Prufzentrum Arsenal GmbH (AT) 3 Institut Für Solare Energieversorgungstechnik Verein an der Universität Kassel E.V. (DE) 4 Fundación Labein (ES) 5 Uniwersytet LodzkI (PL) 6 Valtion Teknillinen Tutkimuskeskus (FI) 7 Bundesverband Solarindustrie E.V. (DE) 8 Bwe – Service GmbH (DE) 9 Cluster de Energía (ES) 10 Enerplan (FR) 11 Oy Merinova A.B. (FI) 12 Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Energie (FR) 13 Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (DE) 14 Ente Vasco de la Energía (ES) 15 Krajowa Agencja Poszanowania Energii S.A. (PL) 16 Landesenergieverein (AT) 17 Motiva Oy (FI) 18 Capitalia SpA (IT) 19 Gaz de France (FR) 20 Mermaid Venture ApS (DK)

EC contribution
1 307 019

© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 38

Showing new Member States the way in research

TRANSMES

EU membership holds the key to accessing “If we succeed with our publicity of the project, ordinary people will see how EU money new money for research and development, but is building a better environment for companies and organisations in the new Member States and them to live and work in.” Accession Countries need support and training in how to apply for it. They must also learn how to gain maximum advantage from the opportunities to network and develop innovative solutions. An ETI project is bringing together partners from nine of these countries to encourage SMEs in the transport and environmental sectors to become actively involved in FP6 and FP7 research projects. SMEs tend to be under-represented in research, but the Transmes project will provide all the support and training they need to successfully compete for research funds.
The new Member States (NMS) and Accession Countries (ACC) are grappling with the problems resulting from many small transport providers operating on poor-quality networks which, in turn, is hindering economic development. The key to the future lies in bringing this fragmented market together and accessing new funds for research and technological development. On an environmental level, little has been done in the past to safeguard natural resources and control pollution. Organisations operating in this area are under-resourced as regards the environmental improvements required. Although they are monitoring environmental criteria, such as air quality and water pollution, they generally lack the means to make a real impact in reversing environmental damage. They are also missing the vital benefits that could come from co-operating with other environmental agencies and taking action on a wider scale. The ETI Transmes project is drawing together the members of these two fragmented sectors to help them successfully bid for research funds. They must learn more about how the European research projects function and the correct procedures for submitting proposals, if they are to translate their own needs into a format which is compatible with the EU’s Framework Programmes (FPs). More information on the outcome of previous projects is also part of encouraging wider participation in forthcoming FPs and bringing the NMS and ACC into closer contact with the European Research Area. sectors. The SMEs must overcome their isolation and co-operate in research that benefits the sector as a whole. At the end of the training process, an actual call for tenders will be launched. At this point, SMEs will be launched ‘for real’ on the process of designing their own project applications and seeking potential partners for collaborative ventures. Partners from other Member States will act as mentors to the new bidders. They will judge the best proposal and assist in writing the actual submission to the Commission. The project is being coordinated by Joanna Bosiacka-Kniat of the Adam Mickiewicz Foundation - Poznan Science and Technology Park in Poland. As a Regional Contact Point for the Wielkopolska region, she is in a prime position to guide companies through the maze of regulations and procedures that accompany the bidding process.. Eight other National Contact Points in the other new Member States and Accession Countries play a parallel role by encouraging companies to enter into the EU Framework Programmes and by being on hand to provide specialist advice. These partners in the Transmes project must act as the driving force to raise SME involvement in research projects.

Breaking down barriers
Through this initiative, SMEs in the NMS and ACC could break through the obstacles to their receiving R&D funding. New projects could enable the transport infrastructure to be upgraded and streamlined,

Practice makes perfect
In the first instance, Regional and National Contact Points are seeking to identify as many companies and organisations as possible to participate in training seminars and information days. These will be organised in five NMS and two ACC where SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) will be thoroughly briefed in how community research projects operate through Networks of Excellence, Integrated Projects and Specific Targeted Projects (STREP). They will learn to distinguish between programmes and hear more about current research issues in other Member States. Once this knowledge is in place, the SMEs involved will move on to practising their own draft proposals and developing contacts with potential partners. Building networks of research partners is vital in establishing projects that represent all the players in particular

Moving forward on transport and the environment.

REC 4 9700_ETI V2 DEF

10/03/06

8:26

Page 39

ETI Volume 2
“This project could be the springboard for isolated SMEs to become part of collaborative research that solves the big issues facing their sector.”

where transport companies work within an integrated transport system that could improve the prospects for economic development. Organisations working in the environmental sector could see how the information they hold could become the basis for new research to reduce pollution and start to deliver actual environmental benefits. In both sectors, Transmes is set to generate new links between companies that lead to successful collaborative projects and innovative solutions. Having built a firm foundation of co-operation, companies that participate in FP6 and FP7 will then be well placed to guide the next generation of SMEs through the same process.

Project title
Bringing ACC and NMS SMEs operating in the transport and environment sector closer to the ERA by publishing an open call for submitting draft project proposals

Contact person
Joanna Bosiacka-Kniat Fundacja Universytetu Im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu ul. Rubiez 46 61-612 Poznan Poland Tel: +48 618 279 745 Fax: +48 618 279 741 jk@ppnt.poznan.pl

Contract number
CT-2005-023372

Start date
01/09/2005

Project website Duration
24 months www.transmes.net

Participants Total project cost
301 970 1 Fundacja Universytetu Im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu (PL) 2 Turkiye Bilimsel Ve Teknolojik Arastirma Kurumu (TR) 3 Kauno Technologijos Universiteto Regioninis Verslo Inkubatorius (LT) 4 Innostart Nemzeti Üzleti és Innovációs Központ Alapítvány (HU) 5 Senternovem (NL) 6 Rra Sevene Primorske Regionalna Razvojna Agencija D.o.o. Nova Gorica (SI) 7 Tudomanyos es Technologiai Alapitvany (Hu) 8 Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea (IT) 9 Applied Research and Communications Fund (BG)

EC contribution
271 970

© European Communities, 2006 - Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful