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IST-BONUS: Identify and support research and business excellence to enhance NMS - ACC participation in the development and pilot implementation-demonstration of ICT business applications and services

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The project aimed to upgrade the participation of competent organisations in the EU-funded research programmes in two areas: e-Business & e-Work. IST-BONUS targets research organisations (universities, institutes, centres etc.), innovative SMEs, mid-range & large enterprises from the New Member States (NMS) and Accession Candidate Countries (ACC). The consortium of IST-BONUS has supported these organisations in their effort to excel in specific areas of expertise and lead European research initiatives. More than 10.000 organisations mainly from the NMS & ACCs but also from the EU-15 have been contacted, informed, participate in and benefit from the project activities. The project comprised a consortium of 12 partners from 11 European countries (Greece, Germany, UK, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Malta, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania). The European Commission (EC) has supported a large number of initiatives, which aim at enhancing the participation of the New Member States (NMS) & Accession Candidate Countries (ACC) in the European research in the Information Society Technologies. Most of these projects has focused on rather conventional activities (information & training events, creation and web-databases and tools, networking / brokerage events, etc) to improve the participation mainly in quantitative terms (that is increase the number of participating organizations and thus the overall budget dedicated to the NMS & ACC). Though still of high importance, very few of these initiatives have included in their core priorities qualitative aspects. Therefore, further support is needed to facilitate the transition of competent NMS & ACC organizations from research followers (that is partners with low capability to influence the research course) to research leaders (that is coordinators or major partners of research projects). This has required an advanced set of support services concentrated particularly on highly motivated, competent and committed to excellence organisations. To achieve this aim IST-BONUS has implemented actions sufficiently including, 'conventional activities' - targeting to a large number of interested organisations and go beyond activities based on a set of 'Research BONUS' Services (elaboration of PR Research profiles - networking with EU-15 research leaders and EC services, development and supporting the implementation of Research Action Plans - Roadmaps to excellence in FP7-ICT) - targeting to a selective number of highly motivated and competent organisations. The 'conventional' activities have concentrated on increasing participation mainly in quantitative terms. Under this approach, activities escalate in 3 levels of maturity: (a) Promotion / publicity and awareness creation, (b) Info-days, training sessions and (c) Networking / partnering events within the context of international IST conferences. The 'go beyond' activities have focused particularly on qualitative terms targeting to increase the number of (i) highly networked organisations from the NMS & ACC, (ii) major research players and (iii) competent coordinators in EU-funded research projects. Other project objectives are: - To motivate and activate new players to the IST Strategic Objectives and/or further enhance the participation of already IST active organisations from the NMS and ACC. - To stimulate close networking between NMS & ACC organisations and EU-15 organisations and networks. - To encourage and facilitate the development of RTD multinational projects and generally technology exploitation projects in the targeted IST areas. - To support organizations from the NMS & ACC that excel in certain fields of IST, to take up the opportunity to lead European research in their domains of expertise by providing them with a bonus Scheme in the form of high-added value guidance and support services. - To promote high-competent organizations from NMS and ACC not only to their leading counterparts from the EU-15 but also to relevant EC services.