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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 2 - 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: 2019-08-01 to 2021-09-30

Manufacturing micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are creating added-value and employment in many different sectors throughout Europe. 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. 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 achieved by reaching out to manufacturing SMEs all over Europe, 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 created a one-stop-shop for a pan-European and cross-border access to innovation services for SME through a network of KET technology centres.

KET4CleanProduction addressed the current challenges of SMEs in applying new technologies for clean production through:

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.

KET4CleanProduction supported SMEs by operating as a bridge with KET technology providers and EEN advisors. During the project, transnational microgrant projects were succesfully carried out for the benefit of 40 SMEs. With this, the transnational collaboration among these stakeholders was tested and validated during the operation, involving a network of 30 KET Technology partners and 33 EEN organisations, by the end of the project. Moreover, the KET4CleanProduction service portfolio was developed to facilitate the technology uptake by SMEs. Also, a business plan was developed for the post-project sustainability.
The main results achieved by KET4CleanProduction are:

In WP1 a survey was carried out to collect input from European SMEs and identify their needs and innovation challenges. The aim with this was to provide a better understanding of the SME’s motivation and expectations. Additionally, in this WP motivation activities were carried out to attract important stakeholders such as SMEs, KET TCs and EENs, and also to involve public authorities.
With these activities the number of members of the KET4Cleanproduction platform increased to 30 KET TCs and 33 EEN advisors by the end of the project.

In WP2 the framework processes and tools for setting up the services for SMEs were developed and implemented. For this the KET4CleanProduction platform was established, which is an open tool accessible via www.ket4sme.eu. The main sections of the website are: 1) Services, which includes the description of the toolbox of services offered, 2) Success stories of the finalized microgrant projects, 3) Find out, including promotional and training videos and 4) News and events. Additionally, the automatic matching tool was integrated (“Find me a suitable Technology Centre” field) as a request form.
In WP2 the KET4CleanProduction business plan and self-sustainability plan was also developed.

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. During the project 8 open calls were organized. A total of 154 SME’s service requests were received and 40 microgrant projects funded.

The dissemination and communication activities were delivered in WP4. The dissemination and communication plan was finalised. The activities carried out within were: Definition of key messages to address stakeholders (SMEs, KET TCs, EENs), development of marketing material, use of social media and awareness activities. Additionally in this WP, success stories (37 written and 5 videos) were prepared and implemented into the KET4CP platform. In total during the project 150 events were carried out targeting all key stakeholders. An important event was the KET4CleanProduction final conference and official platform launch that took place on June 19th, 2021. This was a good opportunity to diffuse to a large audience the project results, success stories and the platform’s services.

The coordination and management of the project were 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 scheme provided valuable information to establish a holistic process that help SMEs to have fast and reliable access to KET technology centres in Europe.

The 40 micro grant projects implemented during the project led to the definition of the services needed by the SMEs and also the creation of success stories. This information together with the experience gained by the platform operation was used to incentive more European SMEs to use the KET4CleanProduction services and also to motivate KET technologies centres to join the platform. The short- and long-term 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 result is a self-sustainable ecosystem gathering SMEs and KET TCs, which provides access to technology services and facilities through a marketplace, covering a large number of regions and their smart specialization. Additionally, the cross-border collaboration provides the KET TCs from regions with low KET service requests a wider market access and visibility.
The KET4CleanProdcution Consortium