European Networks and Services
The European Networks and Services activity of the INNOVATION programme has the following aims:
To provide more powerful integrated services for SMEs by encouraging active cooperation between professions which, until now, have not worked extensively together (for example: technologists and bankers, promoters of social innovations and technologists)
To facilitate the harmonisation of public support measures (for example, cooperation between national programmes, aiming to stimulate the placement of young research workers in SMEs to facilitate technology transfer, in particular with a view to testing the feasibility of transnational placement)
To link national networks of suppliers of services in SMEs (for example, university-industry interface services) and thus strengthen the European innovation-supporting infrastructure for companies.
The Commission launched a call for proposals in December 1995 for services and networks to contribute to the diffusion of technology and promotion of innovation beyond national frontiers in Europe. An emphasis was placed on services promoting the dissemination of methods already successfully used, particularly among SMEs.
The projects selected seek to develop transnational experimental actions:
Providing improved services to innovative SMEs, delivered through cooperation between complementary professions and service providers
Spreading good practices in the field of innovation and technology transfer for SMEs
Creating a first interconnection, at the European level, between national or regional networks of innovation promotion bodies, seeking to improve the services they supply to SMEs.
Targets of these actions include organizations developing and delivering innovation support programmes and public and private providers of services to SMEs.
Examples of projects selected include:
BRIGIT: a project aimed at developing the internationalization of brokerage functions for chemical SMEs, their customers, suppliers, research organizations and financial institutions. BAsed on an evaluation of the RTD needs of SMEs in the chemical industry, the project offers a broad range of services to chemical SMEs in The Netherlands, the UK, Italy and Finland
UTRANS (University Transfer): a project which interlinks organizations strongly involved in SME creation through University spin-offs. It aims to offer universities and technology transfer organizations a common, well proven methodology of sensitization and training to new business activities stemming from higher education institutes. The project involves participants from The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France. Observers are foreseen from Italy and Portugal.