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SPRINT final evaluation

The European Commission, DG XIII, has published the final evaluation of the SPRINT programme. The SPRINT programme (Strategic Programme for Innovation and Technology Transfer) ran from 1989 to 1994, and was the forerunner to the current INNOVATION programme.

The objectives of...
The European Commission, DG XIII, has published the final evaluation of the SPRINT programme. The SPRINT programme (Strategic Programme for Innovation and Technology Transfer) ran from 1989 to 1994, and was the forerunner to the current INNOVATION programme.

The objectives of the SPRINT programme were:

- Development of a pan-European infrastructure to support innovation;
- Dissemination and absorption of new technologies and practices;
- Promoting awareness of innovation and understanding of how it works.

The report analyses the impact of the programme on the major actors who can bring the varied skills needed for innovation to SMEs. These include technology brokers and technology transfer organizations, technological partners, financial partners, technology advisory centres, regional or national services for the promotion of innovation, and other SMEs.

The evaluation concludes that the programme is an essential part of the development of innovation and has successfully developed tools to address this complex problem. However the evaluators identified a number of weaknesses, in particular a low profile, poor dissemination of results of pilot actions, and insufficient inter-action with national authorities and other Commission services. Despite these weaknesses, the evaluation calls for the continuation of the programme's activities at Community level.

Overall, according to the evaluation, the SPRINT programme represents a remarkable and highly articulated set of actions and has proved to be a very effective means of support for national and regional innovation policies, while respecting the principle of subsidiarity.
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