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Pan-European Access for man. SME on tech. services for clean production through a Network of premier KET Technology Centres with one stop shop access incl. EEN and discourse with policy makers on RIS3

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - KET4CleanProduction (Pan-European Access for man. SME on tech. services for clean production through a Network of premier KET Technology Centres with one stop shop access incl. EEN and discourse with policy makers on RIS3)

Reporting period: 2018-01-01 to 2019-07-31

Manufacturing micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are creating added-value and employment in many different sectors throughout Europe ranging from machinery and equipment to automotive, chemical industry, medical, healthcare, transportation, food etc. Nevertheless, EU competitiveness in global manufacturing is rapidly declining: between 2008 and 2012, 3.8 million jobs have been lost in EU’s manufacturing SMEs. Asian countries have risen up to the top rank of manufacturing displacing European member states.

For this reason, manufacturing SMEs throughout Europe need to reinforce their innovation capacity through integration and usage of key enabling technologies (KETs) with focus in clean production to reverse the currently negative trend. Clean production processes are seen as a key part of the new industrial revolution. In future factories will use energy- and material-efficient processes, employ renewable and recycled materials and adopt sustainable business models. However, the reinforcement of KET application for cleaner production in SMEs is confronted with a number of challenges and barriers, for instance, SMEs lack knowledge of potentials and benefits, lack of access to KET infrastructures in services in many European regions and SMEs reluctance to invest in changes in production using KETs that they cannot test or fully understand.

KET4CleanProduction main objective is to foster the use of advanced manufacturing technologies and related key enabling technologies by SMEs to upgrade their production processes towards resource- and energy efficiency and sustainability. This is being achieved by reaching out to manufacturing SMEs all over EU 28, raise their awareness on the potential of clean production innovation for increased product quality, productivity and environmental performance and finally increase in market shares and competitiveness. To reach this, KET4CleanProduction aims to create a one-stop-shop for a pan-European and cross-border access to innovation services for SME through a network of superior KET technology centres.

KET4CleanProduction sets the following objectives in order to address the current challenges of SMEs in applying new technologies for clean production:

1. Awareness creation and stimulation of manufacturing SMEs throughout Europe to increase their understanding and interest in clean production and the potential in adopting KETs.
2. Build the KET4CleanProduction platform for Europe with specific awareness measures on regions where KET access is still not satisfactory.
3. Help SMEs benefit from multi-KET service know-how and infrastructure.
4. Unlock the cross-border service potential of EU certified KET Technology Centres on clean production services.
5. Creation of a sustainable ecosystem - A one-stop-shop acting as single access point for EU manufacturing SMEs.
6. Implement a micro-grant scheme boosting clean production in SMEs through KET applications.
7. Escalate regional smart specialisation strategies to a European level and vice versa.

The KET4CleanProduction project consist of the following work packages:

WP1- Stakeholder motivation
WP2- KET4CleanProduction platform- Frameworks, set-up and business model
WP3- Open calls for micro grant services
WP4- Dissemination and communication
WP5- Project management
WP6- Ethic requirements
The main results achieved by KET4CleanProduction in the first period are:

In WP1 research was carried out to understand whether there are specific elements of technology, strategy or skills that prevent the rapid adoption of KETs by SMEs and to observe possible common traits in European national economies with low level of KET adoption. This consisted of a survey to collect input from European SMEs and identify their needs an innovation challenges. Additionally, the motivation of KET technologies centers (KET-TCs) to join the platform was addressed. For this, the procedures and material for integrated new KET TCs was determined. Finally, the EEN partners of the consortium have started reaching out local SMEs and informing them about the platform.

In WP2 the framework processes and tools for setting up the services for SMEs were developed and implemented. The KET4Cleanproduction website was created and its processes and content (including documents and guides for downloading) established. This is an open tool accessible via the link www.ket4sme.eu. To encourage SMEs to join the platform a SME’s Helpdesk in a form of a Frequently Asked Question was created and the KET facilitator process established. For the EEN partners three training modules were implemented. Additionally, in this work package a toolbox for products and services and a business model was created to ensure the sustainability of the KET4CleanProduction platform after the projects ends.

In WP3 the micro grant system was stablished and implemented with the aim to promote and push the initial use of the platform for a cross border KET services provision. The tasks performed were: Call conception and publishing, setting of evaluation criteria, definition of the evaluation process, definition of support processes for SMEs, implementation.

The dissemination and communication activities are delivered in WP4. The first version of the dissemination and communication plan has been prepared. The activities of this WP include: Definition of key messages to address stakeholders (SMEs, KET TCs, EENs), development of marketing material, use of social media and awareness activities.

The coordination and manage of the project is carried out in WP5. For this, a project management handbook was created and provided the project partners with information about the procedures to be follow for the efficient project execution. Additionally, the monitoring of the work and information exchange took place through meetings and virtual conferences. Finally, in WP6 the ethic requirements that the project must comply with were established.
The creation and operation of the KET4CleanProduction platform and the implementation of the micro grant system provides valuable information to established a holistic process that help SMEs to have fast and reliable access to KET technology centres in Europe.

The results of the micro grant projects will lead to success stories and will identify unique selling propositions. This information together with the experience gained by the platform operation will be used to incentive more European SMEs to upgrade their processes toward clean production integrating key enabling technologies. The potential impact is a significant and quantifiable increase in the SMEs productivity, environmental performance and/or in market shares due to increased quality and innovativeness of products.

The expected result is a self-sustainable ecosystem gathering SMEs and KET TCs, which will provide access to technology services and facilities through a marketplace, covering a large number of regions and their smart specialization. Additionally, the cross-border collaboration will provide the KET TCs from regions with low KET service requests a wider market access and visibility.
The KET4CleanProdcution Consortium