IRC Network members act as springboard for technology transfer and innovation in order to increase competitiveness of European SMEs
The IRCs have six recommended tasks:
-Transnational Technology Transfer;
- Transnational dissemination and exploitation of Community research results;
- Stimulate capacity of firms to adopt new technologies;
- Promote common transnational innovation initiatives;
- Provide information on the innovation actions of FP5;
- Signposting to other services.
In 1995, the European Commission established the IRC network. From April 2000, it has consisted of 68 Innovation Relay Centres (IRCs) throughout Europe including the EU, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Poland, Rumania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Switzerland. These centres have been created in order to facilitate the transfer of innovative technologies to and from European companies or research departments. These centres have been created in order to facilitate the transfer of innovative technologies to and from European companies or research departments. As a mover and shaker in innovation, the IRC network has become a leading European network for the promotion of technology partnerships and transfer mainly between small and medium-sized companies (SMEs). The IRCs are innovation support service providers mainly hosted by public organisations such as university technology centres, chambers of commerce, regional development agencies or national innovation agencies. Most IRCs are set up as consortia. Each centre is staffed by personnel who have extensive knowledge of the technological and economic profile of the companies and regions they serve.