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Periodic Report Summary - CORNET II (Collective research ERA-NET II)
Quality validation date:2012-10-31
Project context and objectives:
CORNET I under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) has brought together 24 collective research programme owners and managers from 17 European countries and regions. CORNET I has successfully raised awareness in Europe about the value of collective research, through presentations and workshops, publications, the CORNET I website, and through the joint CORNET I calls for proposals. A particular achievement is that three countries have launched new collective research programmes as a direct consequence of their participation in CORNET I: Cyprus, Greece, and Slovenia. Four CORNET calls for Proposals have been implemented. The number of agencies participating in the calls has almost tripled and the number of proposals received, as well as the requested budget has almost doubled.
The principal objectives for CORNET II are to establish a long-term sustainable structure for a continuously strengthened and extended collaboration on collective research across Europe (WP1), to increase the number of CORNET calls for proposals, their budgets, the number of funded projects etc. as well as ensure coordination with similar initiatives, e.g. the Framework Programme's research for Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) associations and the EraSME ERA-NET (WP2), to further expand the CORNET consortium to integrate new partners (WP3) and to disseminate and communicate the benefits of collective research to all stakeholders (WP4). CORNET II will, therefore, consolidate the achievements of CORNET I.
It will focus on the long-term strategic positioning and institutional anchoring of CORNET in the European Research Area (ERA), while strengthening joint operational activities, especially joint calls. The core strategic goals of CORNET II by the end of the project are to achieve a sustainable state of integration amongst the CORNET partners in relation to the scientific, managerial and financial dimensions of joint programme management, including an appropriate form of common formal organisation, and to position CORNET long-term in ERA, notably in dialogue with and in relation to the Framework Programme's research for Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) associations, including the possibility of becoming in time the principal or even sole vehicle for funding trans-national collective research projects at European level.
CORNET II has created sustainability: a core group of countries and regions has decided to continue funding trans-national collective research projects on the basis of national programmes for two up to three years. The activities will also include funding for trans-national Research, technological development and innovation (RTDI) between SMEs and Research and technology organisations (RTOs) within EraSME. The Common Office will implement practical aspects of the collaboration within CORNET and EraSME. The German ministry BMWi will provide financing for coordination by AiF. The following countries and regions have closed a collaboration agreement defining the features of the continued collaboration: Austria, Belgium-Flanders, Belgium-Wallonia, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Germany. Some other countries that participated in the ERA-NET initiatives CORNET and EraSME or are interested in general might join at a later stage: The Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain-Madrid, Israel, Spain-Asturia or Switzerland. The decision by the CORNET II consortium to establish an Art. 187 (former 169) Initiative did not find sufficient political support and could therefore not be implemented.
CORNET II has organised six calls for proposals. The most successful call involved 15 countries/regions and resulted in 23 proposals, out of which 12 projects with a project budget of around EUR 8.6 million were funded. The CORNET II consortium has implemented in close cooperation with EraSME a centralised evaluation procedure featuring scientific and managerial integration. Evaluation is performed by a CORNET call coordinator, supported by the Eurostars Information technology (IT) tool and administrative support. The efficient, fast and transparent evaluation results in a binding ranking list which is accepted by Member States.
The consortium was extended by four countries/regions, thus widening the possibilities for applicants. Czech Republic, Iceland, Poland and Spain-Madrid joined the consortium and participated in joint calls for proposals. The new partners were trained with regard to proposal evaluation. Further expansion activities included contacts in personal meetings and per e-mail and telephone with a wide range of countries/regions in close cooperation with EraSME in the common office. Besides establishing contacts with ministries and funding agencies in new countries, the consortium made efforts to create a need bottom-up, i.e. on applicant's side. All European technology platforms (ETPs) were contacted and informed about funding possibilities in CORNET and EraSME and their calls for proposals and presentations were given at ETP meetings and conferences.
A broad range of activities has been performed to disseminate and communicate the benefits of trans-national collective research and of transnational RTDI between SMEs and RTOs to all stakeholders. Within the framework of a common communication strategy for CORNET and EraSME, the common office has developed a new corporate identity and logo 'Innovation for SME' and a common umbrella website which is available under the address http://www.innovation-for-sme.eu. A general leaflet, success stories, newsletters, call announcement leaflets for each call and a common PowerPoint template were provided and used by CORNET II and EraSME partners for their promotion activities. The CORNET website was continuously updated and extended. A plan for effectively using and disseminating the knowledge gained in CORNET has been provided.
The Common Office of CORNET and EraSME is the interface between both initiatives. It has responsibilities in project and information management and all content related Work packages (WPs). Within WP1 the Common Office has prepared all strategic decisions that eventually were made by the joint Council/Board. Furthermore the Common Office has prepared the programme document, the integration survey and the new SWOT analysis. Concerning WP2 the common office ensured an exchange of experiences related to call procedures, leading to the decision by EraSME to use Eurostars evaluation procedure as well. The call coordinators were in close contact with each other, facilitating synergy effects such as the common use of Eurostars database and sharing the members of the independent expert panel that has the task to provide the binding ranking list. The partnering events in Vienna, Hanover and Maastricht were organised by the Common Office with the objective to promote both CORNET and EraSME calls for proposals. Within WP3 visits were made in a joint effort and new partners were informed about both CORNET and EraSME. The Common Office facilitated an intense exchange of information related to potential new partners. The letter to ETPs was prepared by the Common Office. A strong and synergetic cooperation has furthermore been established and continuously intensified in the field of communication and dissemination within WP4. The common office has developed a new Corporate Identity and logo for CORNET and EraSME. An umbrella website is available under http://www.innovation-for-sme.eu which is designed in the Corporate Identity as well as newsletter, call leaflets and templates for PowerPoint presentations. The common office has an executive function as project secretariat thus performing organisational and administrative support for the common meetings such as the joint CORNET Council / EraSME Board meetings organised since June 2009.
CORNET has created sustainability in a joint effort with EraSME in managing cooperation projects between individual SMEs and research organisations across Europe. This combines the advantages of national/regional actors, such as proximity to the applicants, possibilities to advice applicants in the national language, with a centralised evaluation at European level. Furthermore a combination of national/regional and European budget increases the financial resources and the effectiveness and efficiency of collective research in Europe.
We expect CORNET and EraSME to have major impact on the innovation potential and competitiveness of SMEs without own research capacities in Europe. A survey amongst project coordinators of completed CORNET projects shows that the range of SMEs actively involved in a project during its duration varies between 14 and 35. The SME's commitment and active contribution is ensured by a CORNET rule demanding the establishment of an SME users committee which must be demonstrated by letters of commitment of five SMEs per country/region to be submitted with a CORNET project proposal. During the regular SME users committee meetings the RTOs present the progress of the research to the SMEs. The SMEs give feedback to the RTOs concerning their practical needs and actively influence the development of the progress, thus ensuring that the project meets the SME needs. As SME associations are exclusively eligible partners in a project, broad distribution of the research results during and after a project is ensured. The project coordinators asked in the above- mentioned survey indicated a number between 1500 and 25000 SMEs expected to benefit after the end of a CORNET project.
The active involvement of SMEs and the high number of SMEs that benefit from the projects are distinctive features of CORNET. The commitment and interest of the SMEs is ensured by their letters of commitment at the beginning of the projects and their active participation in regular meetings of the SME users committee throughout the duration of the projects. The results achieved by CORNET projects, therefore meet the demands of a high number of SMEs and are used by them. Given the high benefit for SMEs as described above, CORNET and EraSME are expected to have decisive positive impact on social and economic developments in Europe. As SMEs form 99 % of all European enterprises, it is of major relevance to support their economic welfare. By increasing the SME's innovation potential, European SMEs will be able to compete with companies worldwide and meet the challenges of globalisation and increasing competition. This will ensure employment and create new jobs in Europe.
|Programme||Project reference||Project title|
|FP7-SME||223868||Collective Research ERA-NET II|
Organization:AIF-ARBEITSGEMEINSCHAFT INDUSTRIELLER FORSCHUNGSVEREINIGUNGEN OTTO VON GUERICKE EV
Position:Head of Unit
Address: Finances, Personnel and Data Processing
Region: NORDRHEIN-WESTFALEN KÖLN Köln, Kreisfreie Stadt
Subject index:Business aspects, Information and communication technology applications
Subject descriptors:Business strategy, Management issues , Information analysis
Record control number:52907