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Coordination Action of Ports for integration Of Efficient Innovations and development of adequate Research, development and innovation Activities

Final Report Summary - CAPOEIRA (Coordination Action of Ports for integration Of Efficient Innovations and development of adequate Research, development and innovation Activities)

Ports are key elements of the European transport system: failure in one port has consequences for the entire supply chain. Thus, over 90 % of Europe's trades with the rest of the world (and almost half of intra-European trade) are shipped through ports and expected figures are much more impressive for the future: European Sea Ports Organisation forecasts that traffics will double from 2005 to 2015 in EU ports. At the same time, constraints (ships size, calls size, available space etc.) and requirements (environmental protection, security, safety, profitability etc.) should have severely increased. Such a vision of the future emphasises the needs of EU ports for further developments and innovations. Therefore, investments in ports RDI represent each year several billions of Euros. However, various Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) projects have been realised in the past which never passed the commercialisation threshold: stakes for ports RDI and associated investments are of major importance for the future development of a sustainable transport system.

In such a context, CAPOEIRA aimed at minimising the risks of public or private investments in RDI activities in ports, i.e. to contribute to a better commercial success rate of future projects and products. CAPOEIRA concentrated on RDI in the field of freight transport activities in ports (handling, ICT, inland networks' access etc).

The project was divided into six work packages (WPs):
WP 1 - Project management
WP 2 - Assessment of past research projects
WP 3 - Diagnosis of the present situation
WP 4 - Assumptions on the future
WP 5 - Conclusions and recommendations and
WP 6 - Dissemination.

CAPOEIRA began to identify critical factors for RDI success through the analysis of failures and successes of previous projects, and of RDI activities in three representative European ports over the last ten years. Based on the analysis of the present situation and of the visions for the future of the relevant actors, guidelines for current and future RDI projects were then produced, and common ports research topics were issued for short, medium and long terms.

It was a question, at any given time within the lifespan of this Coordination Action, of combining 'who' (the society), 'with what' (techniques) and 'where' (the territory) and thus ensuring that the 'offer' (the innovation) is actually a response to a 'demand' and minimise the risks of research and associated investments (public and private). This approach is called the 'Techniques - society - territory' (TST) approach. The TST process was structured around the following activities:

- data collection:
reading of documents
Interviews of concerned actors using a TST tool ('the questionnaire'); complements may be further obtained through phone calls, emails etc; workshop is considered as a data communication and collection tool.

- data processing:
organisation under a TST tool (the model)
Analysis and reporting (report, communication document).

- Assessment and validation by concerned actors and experts.

The approach was divided into separate stages of action, namely:
stage 1: reading of documents;
stage 2: TST model design;
stage 3: interviews of actors;
stage 4: TST model development;
stage 5: analysis and reporting;
stage 6: workshop realisation.

A TST model was specifically designed and developed so as to address the implementation stage of an innovation. The TST sub-systems contained the necessary elements to form an adequate model.

As found during this research, the impact of implementation efforts (before, during and after) will be maximised if:
- they are based on an understanding and assessment over time of the interactions between an innovation, a local situation and a global context at the level of the interrelations of the concerned actors, techniques, territories;
- they have been planned on an appropriate way in collaboration with local actors;
- representatives of the diverse stakeholder groups are involved in the process in an appropriate way; experts may be involved, especially if behaviours to be adopted are complex;
- social marketing principles are considered for animation and communication;
- support and involvement from top level management and champions is secured;
- monitoring, controlling and reporting activities are ensured on a transparent, continuous and regular basis;
- adequate training is ensured;
- follow-up support is provided, in order to avoid revert to previous situation and ensure a successful long-term change;
- they are assessed (notably mistakes) to be built upon.

The research team recommends the following:
- An association must be made between men and research, whether they are financial decision-makers or investors.
- Training linked to research is becoming an investment and not an expense.
- The EU has to take these facts into account and to consider them while making its assessments. Training must become a tool supporting research results, it must not be alms given to academics to support their laboratories.

CAPOEIRA aimed to 'minimise risks of research in ports environment'. Pragmatically speaking this has concerned to identify framework conditions for research project success and failures.

For that purpose a dedicated approach (the TST approach, for techniques, society and territories) has been built (however, and as expressed below, some aspects need to be detailed) and applied. Initiated by one of the CAPOEIRA partner during his doctorate, the design of the approach has been pursued in order to finally offer a tool actually allowing addressing the complexity and transversality of research by integrating different scientific corpus, distinct methodologies and the vision of time.

In parallel a primary concern has been actors' mobilisation: professionals coming from various fields (port business, industries and research organisations, technology platforms and advisory councils) have accepted to play the game, and to be interviewed and come and deliver their experiences during workshops, whereas they had other preoccupations and operational constraints. Notably, open discussions with partners from former EC RDI projects have been made possible which have allowed gathering detailed information on the RDI projects life cycle.

Based on CAPOEIRA partners' knowledge and on data collected through the Coordination Action, guidelines and recommendations have been given aiming to improve the research process, from elaboration of research calls / associated projects, to the completion of a call / projects and its follow-up, through the projects control by EC officers / realization by consortium of partners. These guidelines are 'tested' on currently running Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) projects. First results are positive. Upon these guidelines and recommendations, one thing seems obvious. The European Commission does not aim to substitute to industrials regarding technologies / products / services with a short time-to-market. The European Commission has to bring improvements for the future, not for the present. It has to act as a catalyst and risks funds for technological but also organisational innovations.

As a crucial corollary to these results, the CAPOEIRA Coordination Action has allowed to conceptualise, formalise and test the TST approach. Above all, it has permitted to communicate and confront it: a large network of representatives from industries, universities, and research organization has been formed which has been presented the TST approach and has acknowledged its relevancy, not only for ports but also for all the transport system and modes.