FUSE - Stimulating use of microelectronics technologies
First User Action (FUSE) is a major technology transfer project being implemented as an accompanying measure under the specific RTD programme in the field of Information Technologies (ESPRIT). The aim of FUSE is to stimulate the effective use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises, in particular SMEs. FUSE aims to encourage industrial enterprises to utilize microelectronics technologies to improve existing products and manufacturing processes. In order to be supported by FUSE, the technology introduced to the enterprise must be new to the enterprise and should result in a clear advance in its technological capability. FUSE funds an Application Experiment (AE) for the first user, enabling the enterprise to design and produce a component or system for the improvement of its manufactured products or processes. Following successful application of new technologies in the first user enterprise, FUSE disseminates the results of the AE to encourage other enterprises to adopt microelectronics technologies. The FUSE project is based on a network of 26 Technology Transfer Nodes (TTNs) covering all regions of Europe and coordinated by a central support centre. The TTNs, which were established in January 1996, promote the value of introducing microelectronics technologies into industrial products and processes and promote awareness of technologies. The network facilitates the exchange of information and dissemination of the results of the AEs. In the first five calls for proposals for FUSE support, some 1,200 proposals were submitted. Of these, 288 have been approved for funding. The numbers of proposals submitted demonstrate the potential for exploitation of microelectronics among European enterprises. The FUSE project is now aiming to expand its activities, both in terms of geographical area and industrial sectors covered. FUSE will also consolidate its existing achievements, with an even greater focus on the replication of the results of AEs.