Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Research Results for SMEs - V

Funded under: FP6-SME


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are recognised as playing a crucial role for European competitiveness. They are very dynamic, and also very varied. This allows them to respond rapidly to the opportunities of changing markets, but they do not have an easy time.
The European single market has opened up new markets for all firms, which means that competition is becoming increasingly stiff. In a globalising world, innovation has become the fastest way to conquer new markets, and to maintain existing ones. Also, the knowledge base required for any single business is increasing rapidly: marble producers require expertise in new cutting techniques, whilst bicycle manufacturers need specialist knowledge in material science and solder technologies. As a result, SMEs increasingly need to acquire new knowledge, to innovate and to internationalise their network of business partners.
Yet in today’s world, these activities are becoming increasingly specialised and costly.
That is why the European Union is encouraging SMEs to participate in its Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (RTD), which is an excellent instrument to realise all these objectives at the same time.
To encourage more SMEs to take part in the EU's RTD Programmes, special instruments have been developed for SMEs (see Under the current Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006) there are three specific instruments:
- Co-operative Research
- Collective Research
- Economic and Technological Intelligence
Co-operative Research (formally CRAFT) projects enable a limited number of SMEs from different countries with a common challenge or problem, but with limited or no in-house RTD capability, to assign a significant part of the research and technological development to RTD performers (e.g. research centres or universities). In all cases, the SMEs retain the ownership of the results.

Additional information

Authors: No author stated, European Commission, DG Research, Brussels (BE)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 20962 EN (2005), 40 pp. Free of charge
Availability: (Catalogue Number: KI-NA-20-962-EN-C)
ISBN: ISBN 92-894-5038-X
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