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Micro and Nano Technologies for a new highly competitive European industry

Final Report Summary - MNT-ERA.NET II (Micro and nano technologies for a new highly competitive European industry)

Executive summary:

MNT-ERA.NET II has been launched to enhance the competitiveness of the European industry by coordinating European support measures for micro and nano technologies (MNTs) and through the continuous improvement and streamlining of support services in MNTs.

MNT-ERA.NET II has successfully executed three joint calls for transnational cooperative projects in 2009, 2010 and 2011, with a total of 159 full proposals submitted.

In total around 61 projects have been funded from these calls, mobilising around EUR 42 million of public funding. Many consortia constitute bilateral cooperation, involving partners from two countries. With respect to the European Community's (EC) contribution for coordination and public funding mobilised at national and regional levels, MNT-ERA.NET II has achieved a leverage effect of approximately 30.

On average, a funded consortium consists of five partners from 2.5 countries. This clearly demonstrates that the chosen call design is suitable for closing a gap between pure national funding programmes and European programmes requiring comparatively larger consortia.

The internal management, planning and analysis of calls has reached an advanced level with a comprehensive intranet for handling submissions, evaluations and monitoring of proposals and funded projects, as well as collecting feedback from the target group.

A major goal has been reached with the systematic integration of the research and technical development (RTD) community through a consultation process with the so-called joint programming board, which consists of national experts and representatives from selected European technology platforms.

The cooperation with other European Research Area networks (ERA-NETs) has been a special focus, in particular in the field of materials. Options for future cooperation of both networks have been discussed extensively, resulting in a decision for an advanced network after the end of the MNT-ERA.NET II lifetime.

Project context and objectives:

MNT-ERA.NET II aims to enhance the competitiveness of the European industry by coordinating European support measures for MNTs and through the continuous improvement and streamlining of MNT support services.

MNT-ERA.NET II will increase cooperation between funding programmes, research organisations and industries, thereby fostering durable, long-term cooperation between key actors from national and regional funding systems.

It will improve the coordination and help to promote the convergence of MNT funding programmes, the streamlining of programme procedures and the more efficient use of resources, thereby reducing the fragmentation of European MNT funding instruments.

This will help to eliminate wasteful cross-European programme duplication and to overcome barriers to entry, enabling the rapid dissemination of research results and exploiting the scientific, technological and innovative impact of public investment in RTD.

This is of particular value for regions and countries that are catching up in terms of research investment and performance.

MNT-ERA.NET II is aiming at the best possible integration of regional and national strategies with European needs and visions by setting up a joint RTD programme, ensuring complementarities with the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) and other funding instruments.

The value for end users will benefit from the close interaction with European technology platforms, exploiting strategy papers, such as the micro- and nano-manufacturing strategic research agenda (MINAM SRA) and roadmaps, e.g. micro- and nano-manufacturing roadmaps.

Innovative joint calls for collaborative projects, operated in a variable geometry approach, will be widely promoted among the target groups, encouraging especially high-tech small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

They will reflect the needs and challenges identified by the European research and development (R&D) community, thus opening an attractive and efficient tool for transnational RTD with low administrative efforts.

Project results:

MNT-ERA.NET II has created a large network of European funding agencies, thereby contributing substantially to a closer cooperation between funding organisations, industry partners, research institutions and universities.

MNT-ERA.NET II has implemented three joint calls for transnational cooperative projects in 2009, 2010 and 2011, with a total of 257 full proposals submitted.

In total 61 projects have been funded from these calls, mobilising around EUR 42 million of public funding. With respect to the EC contribution for coordination and public funding mobilised at national and regional levels, MNT-ERA.NET II has achieved a leverage effect of approximately 30.

The target group has been mobilised. Industry participation in the joint calls has been close to 50 %, with 40 % of all funded applicants being SMEs. Thus, MNT-ERA.NET II has helped enhancing the competitive capacity of SMEs.

The RTD community is positive about the instrument. MNT-ERA.NET II is considered an attractive instrument for establishing transnational RTD cooperation and is complementing other funding instruments. The majority of beneficiaries were satisfied with the entire procedure of executing joint calls. According to online surveys, the funded RTD projects have been successful in creating new results for further R&D or even commercialisation, already at the end of the project.

Many consortia constitute bilateral cooperation, involving partners from two countries. On average, a funded consortium consists of five partners from 2.5 countries. This clearly demonstrates that the chosen call design is suitable for closing a gap between pure national funding programmes and European programmes requiring comparatively larger consortia.

The internal management, planning and analysis of calls has reached an advanced level with a comprehensive intranet for handling submissions, evaluations and monitoring of proposals and funded projects, as well as collecting feedback from the target group.

A major goal has been reached with the systematic integration of the RTD community through a consultation process with the so-called joint programming board, which consists of national experts and representatives from selected European technology platforms.

The cooperation with other ERA-NETs has been a special focus, in particular related to MATERA in the field of materials. Options for future cooperation of both networks have been discussed extensively, resulting in a decision for an advanced network after the end of the MNT-ERA.NET II lifetime.

The majority is positive about the long-term perspective of MNT-ERA-NET in terms of maturity, sustainability and future prospects.

Potential impact:

At the end of the MNT-ERA.NET II project a framework for long lasting cooperation between partner organisations has been developed, creating a lasting impact on existing and future national and regional MNT programmes.

MNT-ERA.NET II has implemented three joint calls for transnational cooperative projects in 2009, 2010 and 2011, with a total of 257 full proposals submitted.

In total 61 projects have been funded from these calls, mobilising around EUR 42 million of public funding. Industry participation in the joint calls has been close to 50 %, with 40 % of all funded applicants being SMEs.

Many consortia constitute bilateral cooperation, involving partners from two countries. On average, a funded consortium consists of five partners from 2.5 countries. This clearly demonstrates that the chosen call design is suitable for closing a gap between pure national funding programmes and European programmes requiring comparatively larger consortia. The joint calls for collaborative projects have opened an attractive channel for transnational RTD projects. Newcomers and SMEs have been brought into European RTD activities because of the transparent procedures and low administrative efforts required.

The internal management, planning and analysis of calls has reached an advanced level with a comprehensive intranet for handling submissions, evaluations and monitoring of proposals and funded projects, as well as collecting feedback from the target group.

With respect to the EC contribution for coordination and public funding mobilised at national and regional levels, MNT-ERA.NET II has achieved a leverage effect of approximately 30.

A major goal has been reached with the systematic integration of the RTD community through a consultation process with the so-called joint programming board, which consists of national experts and representatives from selected European technology platforms. Through close interaction with European technology platforms the calls have an impact on interfacing regional and national strategies with European needs and visions. This is of particular value for participating regions and countries that are catching up in terms of research investment and performance.

The cooperation with other ERA-NETs has been a special focus, in particular related to MATERA in the field of materials. Options for future cooperation of both networks have been discussed extensively, resulting in a decision for an advanced network after the end of the MNT-ERA.NET II lifetime.

Main dissemination activities and the exploitation of results

Professional and comprehensive promotion of activities and results across Europe was carried out in order to mobilise the RTD community and policy makers and to achieve a broad implementation of MNTs within member states industry. The interest of target groups was stimulated through a public relations (PR) package including:

1. a constantly updated public website
2. project brochures
3. wide promotion of transnational calls at regional, national and European levels
4. dissemination of success stories
5. participation in conferences and events.

Experiences made during MNT-ERA.NET II were communicated to the ERA-NET learning platform and were considered for assembling a manual on call implementation, published on Netwatch.

List of websites:

http://www.mnt-era.net

Contact:

Dr Roland Brandenburg

Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG)

1090 Vienna, Austria

roland.brandenburg@ffg.at