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Empowering Biomedical and Bioengineering SMEs to promote participation in FP7 projects

Periodic Report Summary - SM-BIO-POWER (Empowering Biomedical and Bioengineering SMEs to promote participation in FP7 projects)

SM-BIO-POWER empowers biomedical engineering SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to participate in EU research.

Many SMEs find it difficult to exploit the FP7 research and development program opportunities, though their being aware of their existence. Often, the time is too short for SMEs to properly prepare themselves for submitting and participating in those programs and they rather concentrate on their short term targets in order to survive. Therefore, SMEs inevitably play a less significant role in FP7 projects than what should be anticipated. The aim of SM-BIO-POWER is to treat SMEs differently and more carefully in order to achieve their greater participation in FP7 activities. SM-BIO-POWER approach resides in raising the appropriate awareness, onto the point of time when an SME can participate in a submission of a research proposal to FP7 as well as benefit from specific assisted guidance in tackling the EU project's 'jargon'.

In order to achieve greater participation, SM-BIO-POWER envisions:

1. The mobilisation of 300 to 400 European SMEs in the relevant health domains (namely medical technology and biomedical engineering) with 10 strategic interest topics, through regional awareness activities and involvement in specific interest groups built around their specific innovation needs and interests.
2. Building a self-sustained European learning community that will be responsible to coach SMEs for increasing their innovation-driven FP7 activities.

The first project year has seen a vigorous launch of the SM-BIO-POWER initiative. Over 200 organisations all across Europe have already registered to take advantage of regular news on the developing EU funding scene in that very specific and hitherto much neglected domain of biomedical engineering.

Over 150 SMEs attended 13 regional workshops spreading the news about the opportunities for assisted international collaboration offered to those joining a special interest group in one of the following fields:

- Medical informatics, eHealth systems, health monitoring and telemedicine
- Bioinformatics, computational genomics and proteomics
- Physiological modelling and multivariate biosignal processing
- Biomedical instrumentation and medical electronics
- Nanomedicine and cellular engineering
- Biomedical devices, instrumentation, sensors, artificial organs, and nanotechnologies
- Rehabilitation engineering, home care
- Clinical decision support systems
- Multidiscipline networks, synergy from different research field, e.g. 'from molecule to population' approach
- Medical imaging and diagnostics.

The benefit for SMEs created by the consortium of ten partners includes for SMEs to get their voice heard at the European Commission and to gain international visibility for their company. SM-BIO-POWER also provides information on the latest trends in EU support for biomedical engineering research together with best practice examples from other SMEs in EU projects. An online helpdesk is available for registered users, for using as personal assistance in identifying funding opportunities and project partners. Personalised updates include selected information such as call alerts, partner searches and consortia and project opportunities.

For a small or medium business focusing in the broad interdisciplinary arena of biomedical engineering, we offer the following top five reasons on why to register with SM-BIO-POWER and participate in the project activities:

- Make your voice heard at EC level and express your R&D needs.
- Gain more international visibility to your firm/brand.
- Learn from other SMEs' on their EU research endeavours.
- Identify possible collaborators/R&D partners outside your home-base region.
- Get more involved in EU research, e.g. increase your direct FP7 participations.

Any of these or all can apply!

The second project year will see a continuation of regional mobilisation workshops, and the launch of personalised news.

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