The primary objective of SME-to-LEAD is to deliver high quality co-ordinator training to 360 European SMEs through a recognised certification and follow up support programme. The route for achieving this is to develop best practice guidance on project co-ordination for FP6 and FP7 focusing on SME specific needs. This will be delivered to SMEs in a series of high quality, intensive and modular training events and follow up support measures. The project will be cross-sectoral and trans-regional focusing on SME instruments targeting co-ordinators of funded projects and those involved in leading proposals or considering participation in future RTD programmes. The project team comprises 10 organisations from 10 EU countries, including 7 established members and 3 new members. Six partners are SME National Contact Points and represent a significant population of European SMEs. The core team has a significant depth of experience in framework programmes at many levels from proposal preparation and evaluation to project co-ordination and acting as PTAs and legal aides to other consortia. The RTO partners will develop the guidance and training programme and the NCPs will be responsible for facilitating delivery at the local level to SMEs. Partners have complementary roles by virtue of their specialist knowledge of FPs, diversity of industry sector and the regions in which they are located. The project has been scheduled over 36 months to enable maximum impact of the support action, particularly as the changeover between FP6 and FP7 occurs. Co-ordinator training will be provided to 360 SMEs likely to play key roles in developing and running future RTD projects. As well as encouraging and preparing SMEs from all EU regions to participate in FPs, it is estimated that securing this additional expert industrial input will generate in the region of 1.5bEUR through innovation creating/securing 5000 jobs and saving 100kEUR per partner in lost opportunity due to unnecessary project delays.
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