Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

SPRINT Science Park Consultancy Scheme

The Commission of the European Communities invites applications for consultancy support, on the part of bodies planning or already running Science Parks, in the context of the SPRINT Science Park Consultancy Scheme.

One of the main objectives of the Community Strategic Programme for Innovation and Technology Transfer (SPRINT, 1989-1993) is to increase the efficiency and the coherence of existing policies and instruments in the field of innovation and technology transfer (ITT) at regional, national and Community levels.

With this objective in mind, the SPRINT Science Park Consultancy Scheme was launched by two calls for expressions of interest during 1990 and continued with two calls for proposals in 1991 and 1992. The experience so far has shown that:

- There is a need for continuing support for the design improvement of Science Park initiatives, especially with reference to their technology transfer role.

- Many of the proposed initiatives tend increasingly to be considered as (key) elements in a wider local or regional infrastructure of ITT support services. Following the latest call, there have been several proposals aiming to assess this overall infrastructure and the interplay between the various local actors in order more precisely to define the place and role of a foreseen Science or Technology Park.

- Several Science or Technology Parks created a few years ago have now come of age. The question of their impact on the local economy, the transfer of technology, the creation of new technology based firms etc. is becoming more acute for their promoters. However, experience to date with such evaluations is limited and their is no agreed set of criteria and good practice in this domain.

The purpose of the proposed scheme is:

- 1. To improve the market-oriented definition and planning, and the chance for success, with particular regard to the technology transfer role of future Parks, or business and innovation centre projects. This will be achieved by providing support to their promoters (in particular in the less favoured areas or in areas where experience in Science Park creation is scarce) through facilitating access to information on previous foreign experiences and advice from renowned independent experts from the Community.

- 2. To provide local and regional governments and/or development organizations with support in the analysis and/or development of their ITT support infrastructure by offering them access to advice from Community experts.

- 3. To provide support on an experimental basis to a limited number of promoters and managers of Science Parks who wish to evaluate or monitor the running of their initiatives, by facilitating the use of consultants from the Community with the relevant competence and experience, and in so doing, to organize experience exchange and develop a harmonized framework at Community level.

The Commission would provide (with regard to (1) above) financial support to promoters willing to set up a panel of experts to advise them on the main features of their proposed development.

Financial support may also be available, with regard to (2) and (3):

- To local or regional governments and/or development organizations willing to set up a transnational team of experts to review the design, impact and effectiveness of technology diffusion services constituting the regional ITT support structures and the interaction among them;

- To a limited number of Science Park promoters and/or managers willing to use consultants to evaluate (and possibly review) the operation of their initiatives.

The call therefore aims at gathering applications from: Local, regional or national bodies planning, starting or furthering the development of a Science Park or similar initiative; local or regional bodies already operating these; and local or regional governments or bodies invested with a significant mission with regard to regional development, either on an individual basis or as a consortium.

The Commission's financial support would cover 50% (up to 75% in regions lagging in development or of industrial decline) of the eligible costs of a consultancy assignment, with a limit of ECU 60,000 for feasibility and evaluation studies and ECU 120,000 for examination of regional innovation support infrastructures.

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