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Don Q Air

Final Report Summary - DON Q AIR

The project DON Q AIR project aimed at encouraging R&D activities in the aeronautic-related SMEs in Poland, Romania and Turkey, by means of a well-targeted methodology, the DON Q AIR method, developed to enable R&D in adverse environments. By means of DON Q AIR methodology, aeronautic-related SMEs in targeted countries got aware of the advantages of taking part in RTD actions, especially at a European level, through dissemination events and training on how to participate, promote and / or propose RTD projects in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). DON Q AIR sought also to provide SMEs with both information and resources to participate in R&D activities in a European context. DON Q AIR has significantly increased the awareness of Polish, Romanian, and Turkish SMEs about EU activities in the aeronautics sector and will strive to encourage their participation in RTD and co-operative research actions even after the project has finished.

DON Q AIR had the following objectives:
- Contact at least 250 aeronautic-related SMEs.
- Analyse the technological situation of at least 170 SMEs related to the aeronautical sector (including suppliers) - 60 in Poland, 40 in Romania, and 70 in Turkey).
- Inform about RTD actions and European RTD programmes to 170 SMEs through the celebration of 3 training seminars in each targeted country (9 seminars throughout the project).
- Support and tutor directly 90 SMEs, through the creation of a direct support information area. Mail, phone and technical visits were the common means to carry out these tutoring activities. Integration of these 90 in a first excellence club, for further collaboration.
- Perform 50 detailed technological diagnoses, with assessment on possible improvements. The top 50 SMEs were included in the Permanent Exchange Ideas Network, to facilitate future contacts and project cooperation.
- Develop, from 30 project ideas, at least 15-20 project dossiers involving various SMEs from targeted countries, training SMEs in developing good ideas, finding partners, planning resources, and fitting the proposal to the proper instruments and calls.
- 10-12 SMEs involved in European RTD projects / proposals.
- 5 Full proposals, ready to be submitted, if the proper call appears.

The project was structured into five work packages (WP), as follows:

WP 1: From DON Q method to DON Q AIR methodology: Polish, Romanian and Turkish cases.
The consortium has defined guidelines for the analysis report and started working on gathering the information. The final outcome of this analysis was to show the complete situation of aeronautical sector in Poland, Romania and Turkey, taking into consideration its constant changes, creation of new companies, R&D institutes, industrial clusters and new tools and financial support mechanisms for the development of aviation sector in mentioned countries. All the information gathered by partners was compiled by the coordinator, supported by CARSA. Appropriate analysis and conclusions were drawn, putting special emphasis on the common potentials and barriers for developing technological innovation of contacted SMEs. CARSA, with the support of all the consortium partners has refined the DON Q AIR methodology tools and procedures to the particular requirements for Poland, Romania and Turkey in order to apply it for the technical audits procedure that was conducted at the later stage of the project.

WP 2: Selection and clustering of SMEs.
The aim of the creation of a direct support information area (DISA) was to support and tutor directly SMEs. Mail, phone and technical visits were the common means to carry out these tutoring activities. DISA originated the excellence club of SMEs where all aeronautics RTD-advanced SMEs were assisted with additional support, such as introduction in specific networks, support in customisation of their business plans based on opportunities given with the appearance of technologies, etc. This club grew up in number in accordance to the technological improvement of other interested SMEs. With the support of DISA, each project partner (CARSA excluded) organised a number of training seminars in each country. Each partner organised three or more seminars, in which a special attention was put to invite for active participation as much SMEs as it was possible.

In the later stage of the project partners evaluated all SMEs, and chose 101 potential project end-users out of the 140 SMEs pre-selected in the first phase of the project, that fulfilled the minimal requirements. There were two main criteria, upon which companies were selected to the potential end-users group: area of interest and internationalisation potential.

WP 3: Tutoring of SMEs.
Main goal of the technological diagnosis was to perform a diagnosis of each of the SMEs gathered in top excellence group. Main points of the diagnosis included:
1. SWOT analysis;
2. Predicted technological situation of the SME in the next few years with respect to the market / competitors;
3. First assessment on most favourable practices.

In this study, CARSA was implementing a DIATEC tool, specially customised for the purposes of the project within the activities performed in WP1. DIATEC is the computer-based methodology that CARSA has applied to analyse the technological standing point and potentiality of the diagnosed SMEs.

Within the scope of the project, CARSA has diagnosed 21 enterprises in the second part of the DON Q AIR technical procedure, in order to detect and analyse the research competences of each company and beyond that, also the potential impact of collaborative EU research at each company.

The primary objective of this task was to perform total of 50 technological diagnoses, with an assessment on possible improvements. The top 50 SMEs were to be included in the Permanent Exchange Ideas Network, in order to facilitate contacts and project cooperation. The second phase of the technological diagnosis was accomplished with 21 companies audited: 6 Romanian, 8 Turkish and 7 Polish.

WP 4: Gathering best practices.
CARSA has led the task of elaborating proposals starting from the project dossiers created in previous WP. In this respect, CARSA, with the active support of the local partners, prepared nine proposals. This number of nine projects has exceeded the amount of proposals that were planned within the DON Q AIR DoW.

The 'Best practices guide' was prepared by the consortium after the end of the project. Goal of this guide was to gather the experiences all partners have learnt throughout the project realisation, especially for the Polish, Romanian and Turkish cases. The document provides guidelines for a successful participation in RTD projects within FP7, with a special emphasis on the SMEs that were the main target group of the project.

WP 5: Dissemination.
Project website was established during first three months of the project lifetime. Main goal was to provide basic information about the project activities, as well as to give up-to-date information about current project activities, various aeronautical events, and recent FP7 calls for proposals, partner searches, public project reports, project newsletters and others. Each project partner contacted and disseminated information on project activities via various channels. Key players of each country were contacted, including universities, R&D centres, large companies, clusters, chambers and associations and the proposal for future collaboration was submitted. Many of such entities often cooperate with SMEs, therefore it was very important to try to identify such companies. Project partners also used available contact database and by means of email, telephone and personal contacts disseminated information on project activities. Project partners organised, co-organised and participated in a number of national and international events, aiming at boosting European cooperation in aeronautics. During such meetings, many presentations were made on DON Q AIR activities as well as many new contacts were established with various organisations.

DON Q AIR project has had a big impact on Polish, Romanian and Turkish aeronautical SMEs. It had big influence on every single company that was a part of the top excellence group. Despite of the fact, that none of the nine proposals that were supported by DON Q AIR has succeeded in passing the evaluations, this work had great benefit for the SMEs that took part in preparation of the projects. Project partners were also very active in supporting their clients in joining them into proposals being prepared by key EU aeronautical stakeholders. DON Q AIR project had also its impact on creating opportunities for contributing to development of new sectors in aeronautics. Given the above, it is expected that the project will also have its indirect influence on their SME clients in their future undertakings.

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