The present proposal is aimed at establishing an Innovation Relay Centre in Italy, named IRENE, in the following Regions: Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Marche, Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto. The proposers' consortium, co-ordinated by ENEA, one of the most important Italian research institutions, will include as partners the regional innovation agencies of the five Regions, that way assuring good access to local SMEs. In line with EC Lisbon Decision, the strategic objective of IRENE will be to make the economy of the concerned area more dynamic and competitive, capable of taking advantage of all the opportunities offered by the European single market and able to establish positive relationships with European counterparts. To do this, IRENE will offe r a complete set of cost-effective services aimed at promoting the establishment of transnational co-operations and supporting the conclusion of technology transfer agreements (66 expected agreements). These services will range from the diffusion of inform ation on relevant technological opportunities to customized assistance in the negotiation stage. The extended use of on-line and off-line software tools, the organisation of suitable partnering and TTT days and the participation in the initiatives promoted by the Network and by the CU will constitute essential parts of IRENE workplan. Taking into account the local needs, IRENE will address mainly, not exclusively, SMEs that constitute the backbone of North East industry. Specific effort will be devoted to t he promotion and the exploitation of R&D results coming from universities and RTD centres. Finally, IRENE will take advantage of the wide experience and the good reputation gained by the former IRC which has successfully operated in the same area from 1995 till now, and in particular of its relevant client base (more than 3600 companies), its skills, its proven methodology and tools and its consolidated contacts throughout Europe.
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