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CORDIS - Risultati della ricerca dell’UE

Supporting surface transport SMEs in candidate countries preparing RTD projects for FP7 and CPI programmes

Final Report Summary - SURFACE NET (Supporting surface transport SMEs in candidate countries preparing RTD projects for FP7 and CPI programmes)

The SURFACE NET project was an innovative action that builds on proven methodologies and tools for developing a new approach for supporting the participation of SMEs from Candidate Countries in European research activities in the field of surface transport. The candidate countries involved are Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey.

The project had the following main strategic objectives:
- to analyse the existing RDT capabilities of surface transport SMEs in Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey;
- to extract on a functional basis their key competence in areas relevant to the transport activity using a novel and simplified methodology technology assessment tool;
- disseminate the research results and support actions of Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) surface transport projects;
- identify ideas and provide support to surface transport SMEs integration on research consortiums in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) Theme 7 'Transport', Sub-theme 'Surface transport', using a simplified methodology based on an online PC based tool;
- facilitate involvement of SMEs from Candidate Countries in a local event organised in each Candidate Country, which will attend seminars in 'how to perform an internal technology assessment?', 'how to write a competitive proposal?' and 'FP7 stepping into EU funding for innovation and competitiveness in surface transport';
- promote involvement of SMEs in the 57th UITP World Congress and Mobility & City Transport Exhibition that took place in Helsinki, Finland on 20-24 May 2007.

The main activities could be summarised as follows:
- identification of surface transport SMEs and their current situation;
- awareness activities to raise attention from SMEs;
- the organisation of the proposed workshops in each participating country;
- participation of SMEs from Candidate Countries, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, in the 57th UITP World Congress and Mobility & City Transport Exhibition.

WP1 - Awareness activities to raise attention from SMEs.
The first task was to identify and contact SMEs from the surface transport sector in Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey (including rail, road and waterborne transport and addresses the mobility of people and goods, including infrastructures, vehicles, users and all interfaces). The second task on this WP was to gather information about ongoing FP6 projects.

WP2 - Workshops in Candidate Countries and support to proposals preparation.
In Bulgaria, the action taken NSBS drove little attention from the SMEs. The primary appointed reason was the high participation fee. In Turkey, UND was able also to identified some difficulties to achieve the task since UITP granted to Istanbul Ulasim A.S. (the commercial company belonging to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality) a more advantageous price offer for the complete four days of the UITP Event. In Romania, the action was quite successful and URTP was able to gather a very relevant group of people interested in participate in the UITP event held in Helsinki on May 2007.

Three workshops were organised in the following Candidate Countries: Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. The workshops dates were chosen to match the first FP7 calls. This strategy helped to prepare SMEs of the Candidate Countries for proposal submission under the second FP7 calls in the field of the surface transport. The workshop on surface net project turned out a very successful as a national level forum and contributed to the popularisation of the themes upon FP7 and Competitiveness Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) among targeted SMEs and other institutions involved in activities related to the transport sector.

INOVA+ has sent a questionnaire to be filled by the previously identified SMEs. The main purpose was to profile the companies to allow us to know their real needs. The questionnaire also revealed their previous experience and knowledge, their expectation regarding the results after the participation in EU supported projects, what are the benefits for themselves and for the others, the social and economic impact of the implementation of the their ideas.

WP3 - Dissemination and future exploitation results.
The main objective of this WP was to implement a continuously proactive and broader dissemination of the project goals and activities. The aim was to build a preliminary and basic knowledge base for the identified SMEs regarding the FP7 (as well as FP6) trying to raise their attention to the EU funding opportunities for R&D projects in the field of transport and logistics. Web actions, publications, press conference and business meetings were among the activities planned and carried out for this purpose.

WP4 - Management of the Specific Support Action.
The SURFACE NET kick-off meeting took place in Brussels on 9 November 2006. At this meeting the overall objectives and tasks of the project were discussed, including the next steps in terms of daily events, management, financial issues and the communication with the European Commission. The European Commission DG RTD project officer, Ms Susana Martins, hosted the meeting.

The SURFACE NET project has been quite successful in achieving its objectives. First there were a significant number of organisations reached by the project activities. They had received updated information about the Theme 'Transport' in FP6 and FP7 and a set of tools to facilitate their entrance into the methodologies for submitting successful proposals. Their project ideas from the SMEs were also compiled and disseminated among the project network in order to match these ideas with ongoing FP6 projects and with the 'partner searches' being published by the coordinators of proposals under preparation.

The resulting collaborative network of SMEs and other entities related to the transport sector from the participating countries is now capable of converting their ideas into proposals. Some of these organisations are already engaged in actual ongoing FP7 calls.

In conclusion, the project coordinator and the local partners envisages in the near future an even further participation on the next FP7 calls on the Theme 'Transport' and expects that the impact of the project on those countries will last beyond the 'terminus' of the current project.