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Content archived on 2024-06-16

SME action for the environment in candidate countries

Final Report Summary - SAFE (SME Action For the Environment in Candidate Countries)

The main purpose of this project was to create awareness, promotion and training in order to enforce and establish networks which could carry out quality research and help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research organisations participate and write proposals dealing with environmental Research and technological development (RTD). SAFE integrated the National contact points (NCPs) and environmental multipliers from the participating NMASs. SAFE targeted not only SMEs but also environmental researchers and experts, civil society organisations, environmental groups and business promotion bodies and any other organisations with environmental interests that had the potential to contribute to ecosystem and biodiversity conservation and environmental sustainable management strategies.

To achieve this, SAFE addressed a major aim: to support and strengthen the NCPs from the NMASs by developing a capable and proficient network of environmental multipliers in the NMASs, that formed the means to enhance formation of environmental project consortia comprising enterprises, including SMEs, from these NMASs; this by:
- identification of environmental multipliers and their coaching by the European Union (EU) partners and their local NCPs from the NMASs;
- transferring the experience, expertise, best practice and contacts of successful environmental projects to multipliers from the EU through joint and individual, bilateral exchange of knowledge;
- introducing environmental organisation from the participating NMASs to organisations in the rest of EU preparing Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) proposals;
- providing a point of reference through helpdesk support, websites and discussion for SMEs and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that would want to participate in European research programmes.

SAFE considered these objectives crucial and aimed to create a network of SMEs, institutes, organisations and entities related to environmental research systems and policies.

A database of over 1 300 organisations from the NMAS and the EU, including SMEs, research institutes, universities, industrial players etc., which were potential candidates for joining or initiating environmental research project consortia was compiled with the active participation of all nine partners. The database included descriptions of the potential partners, contact persons and details, profile information such as past experience in international research and technological projects and fields of expertise.

Criteria for selection of the multipliers (organisations that were later on trained in workshops organised in the five participating NMAS and that will assist the local NCPs in the dissemination of information regarding the research and technology projects) were developed and applied.

Five workshops for NMAS environmental multipliers were successfully implemented in Malta, Bulgaria, Poland, Turkey and Hungary.

A project management manual, comprising the project management plan, and a Quality assurance (QA) manual was produced.

SAFE attracted considerable attention in the participating NMAS and at a wider EU level, as evidenced by the size of the database of potential partners, the number of visits to the website, the participation at the 5 workshops organised January and February 2007 at the participating NMAS and finally the participation of over 100 participants from 7 countries at the SAFE conference in Istanbul, 9-10 January 2008.

The SAFE publications were received positively from the targeted organisations in the NMAS, based on the comments the partners received.

The database of over 1 300 entries was used to facilitate the formation of successful consortia in the forthcoming calls of FP7. Thus, it was a significant step towards full integration of the NMAS. The database was open to be evolved beyond the end of the project.

The consortium established a close cooperation with MAPO, an ETI project focused to the participation of SMEs in Research and development (R&D) projects related to marine pollution; the two consortia reciprocally advertised their objectives and activities, shared news, information and methodologies and facilitated the cooperation of the two projects' partners.

All partners have been actively involved in the project. Cooperation among the consortium members was very efficient and especially the NMAS partners saw the results as very positive for their respective countries.

As per the technical annex of the project, SAFE created a permanent infrastructure that would facilitate activities at FP7's Environment Workprogramme by supporting and strengthening the partners from the NMASs and by developing a capable and proficient network of environmental multipliers in the NMASs that would create the means to enhance formation of environmental project consortia comprising enterprises, including SMEs.