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Financing and Innovation

European excellence in nanosciences must finally be translated into commercially viable products and processes. Nanotechnology is emerging as one of the most promising and rapidly expanding fields of R&D.; It is crucial, however, that a favourable environment for innovation is created, in particular, for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). An integrated approach to innovation policy is needed. Aside from common factors that are crucial for all R&D;, including functioning and competitive markets, a fiscal policy that supports innovation, financial instruments, skilled human resources, public-private partnerships and infrastructure; nanotechnology has to pay attention to three additional factors: patenting of fundamental knowledge, regulation and metrology.

IPR in nanotechnolgy - lessons from experiences worldwide : This international workshop, jointly organised by the European Patent Office and the European Commission, took place in Brussels on 16 April 2007. It aimed at identifying specific IPR issues for nanotechnology and to discuss possible consequences for patent offices, policy makers, patent consultants and the research community.

EU websites on innovation:

'Investing in European Research' Website of the European Union : This EU innitiative's goal is to approach 3 % of GDP for research. Many concrete measures have been taken by the European Union, as well as by countries and regions, to increase investment in research, which make the "3% objective" a very much alive and exciting venture.

Research and Innovation : Improving Europe's innovation performance by stimulating a better integration between research and innovation and by working towards a more innovative-friendly policy and regulatory environment. Enhancing the propensity to turn research into useful and commercially valuable innovations.

Technology Marketplace : This CORDIS service identifies the latest and best technologies emerging from EU R&D; results. The marketplace thus helps innovation players to find ideas for new products, to promote their own new technologies as well as to follow and identify latest developments.

Technology Implementation Plan : If you need to hand in a Technology Implementation Plan (TIP), as part of your contractual deliverables, eTIP, a new electronic application tool, is now available for on-line submission.

Innovation Relay Centre : The Innovation Relay Centres (IRC) have been created in order to facilitate the transfer of innovative technologies to and from European companies or research departments.

European Innovation Portal : CORDIS webpages on 'Innovation policy in Europe', 'Services for enterprises', 'Innovation in the Framework Programmes', 'Innovation studies' and 'Articles on innovation'

EU websites on financing innovation:

SME Techweb page : The European Research techweb page helps a company determine whether or not it falls within the Commission's definition of an SME.

European Investment Bank : The European Investment Bank (EIB) offers financing in support of projects, depending on eligibility and project category. For more information on who can apply for EIB loans for R&D;, check also the Practical investors' guide to EIB financing

European Investment Fund : The European Investment Fund (EIF) is the EU specialised vehicle providing venture capital and guarantee instruments for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Gate2Growth initiative : Gate2Growth is the pan-European Business Platform for Entrepreneurs seeking financing

European Venture Capital Association : The European Venture Capital Association (EVCA) promotes and facilitates European venture capital and private equity. It provides information services for members and creates networking opportunities.

Business Incubators : The service aims to provide the interested parties with a single entry point to all business incubators in Europe, regardless of type (virtual or real-estate), business sector or location.

Access to Finance: Preparatory action : This preparatory action of the European Commission assists regional credit institutions, especially from the new Member States, to further develop their credit operations vis-à-vis SMEs.

See also the Commission Communication on Implementation of the Risk Capital Action Plan (RCAP)

Other European websites related to innovation:

European standardisation : The European Union has, since the mid-1980s, made an increasing use of standards in support of its policies and legislation. An Action Plan on standardisation is published by DG Enterprise and Industry in October 2005. Standardisation is also one of the major activities supporting industrial innovation identified in the Action Plan on nanotechnology .

The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) has established a CEN technical board and working group on nanotechnologies (CEN/BT/WG 166) on 3rd March 2004, entrusting the British Standards Institute (BSI) with secretariate. The International Standardization Organisation (ISO) has established a technical committee on nanotechnologies (ISO/TC 229). The inaugural meeting has been held 9-11 November 2005 in London, UK. For more information see Nanotechnologies - inaugural meeting and the Press Release .

IPR HelpDesk - Intellectual Property Rights : To assist potential and current contractors taking part in Community funded research and development projects with IPR issues. The Helpdesk offers two main services: an informative website open to all interested parties, and a free legal Helpline aimed at participants in EU-funded research under the Framework Programmes.

European Patent Office : The European Patent Office (EPO) grants European patents for the contracting states to the European Patent Convention (EPC). It is the executive arm of the European Patent Organisation.

Towards a European patent : Website on the Community patent initiative.

New recommendation regarding SME definition : The revision takes account of the economic developments since 1996 and the lessons drawn from the application of the definition.

The support of industrial innovation in terms of entrepreneurship, IPR, standardisation and technology transfer of SMEs are important elements of the European strategy and the Action Plan on nanotechnology.

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