In 1994, the European Commission, DG XIII, launched two programmes for regional innovation and technology transfer, in the framework of its SPRINT strategic programme for innovation and technology transfer (1989-1993). The RITTS initiative (Regional innovation and technology transfer strategies and infrastructures) was launched by means of a call for proposals by the SPRINT programme. The RTP initiative (Regional technology plans) was launched as a collaborative project between SPRINT and the Commission's DG XVI (Regional policies). RITTS and RTP are based on a better understanding of how firms operate. The first line of action involves carrying out a factual analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the regional industrial fabric. The regional investigating team - consisting of a variety of experts and local players - evaluates the way in which technological supply and demand are matched. This essentially involves ascertaining the needs of SMEs. RITTS and RTP are similar because they are based on an analysis of technological demand. However, RTPs have a broader reach than RITTS, and are intended for regions eligible to receive Structural Funds. RTPs also encourage regional SMEs to participate in European research programmes financed by the Commission. Furthermore, consultants involved in an RTP exercise may come from the same country, whereas the intervening teams in the RITTS initiative systematically contain an international dimension. At present, RTPs have been implemented in eight Community regions and each one is planned to last for about 18 months. Commission support represents ECU 200,000, covering 50% of the total costs of the exercise. RITTS exercises are currently being implemented in 23 regions in 13 countries. They last 15 months on average with Commission support representing a maximum of ECU 120,000 which covers up to 75% of the total costs of the exercise of Objective 1 and 2 regions.