Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PEER FOR EXCELLENCE (Peer learning on ways to enhance good practices in SME innovation support using the Seal ofExcellence)
Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2017-10-31
To address this issue, this deliverable addresses a “Peer learning on ways to enhance good practices in SME innovation support using the “Seal of Excellence” (PEER FOR EXCELLENCE)” through the production of this Design Options Paper for the implementation of mechanisms, that will help all European, national and regional funding agencies to harness the potential of the distinction provided by the “Seal of Excellence” to successfully fund high impact innovation projects.
PEER FOR EXCELLENCE is based in the sharing of experiences and practices analysis supported by the twinning advanced methodology. This methodology allows the leveraging and systematization of the knowledge, not only of the members of the consortium, but also of all of the relevant European process stakeholders.
This work is supported by an initial assessment of existing practices in European countries, and compares them with the ones adopted by the national/regional authorities in each of the projects participating countries, this comparison is made on both the explicit and the tacit knowledge that exists in the participating organizations, thus enabling a process of peer learning among them (and with other interested parties that have similar challenges).
From this analysis, a systematic identification of process stakeholders is made, in order to identify the relevant contact points in each of the participating countries. For each of the process stakeholders identified, a generic questionnaire was developed and then customized for each of the stakeholders thus allowing, in each of the participating countries, to ascertain their perspective on the subject.
From this set of interviews and data gathering, a set of challenges is identified and, based on a common procedure, a set of actions is suggested in order to tackle the identified challenge and address the expectations of the involved SME´s.
Furthermore, for each challenge the associated actions are framed to be addressed in the short term (ie: until the end of the current 2014-2020 framework programs); in the medium term (ie: during the preparation phase of the next framework programs) and in the long term (during the 2021-2027 framework programs). Each of the challenges and actions are also framed into the recommendations of the “High Level Group” (High Level Group on maximizing the impact of EU Research & Innovation Programmes, 2017) led by former commissioner Pascal Lamy and recommendations of the “Scale Up Manifesto” (Lisbon Council, 2017) issued by the Lisbon Council think tank . During the project a representative of the consortium was present in most of the Seal of Excellence Community of Practice meetings and all the presentations were carefully evaluated and analysed in order to identify best practices and ideas on the implementation of the SoE.
A set of actions was formulated in order to address the 11 challenges identified with the implementation process of the Seal of Excellence as it stands in Fall 2017.
These 24 actions are set to take place in coordinated time frame, starting with the short term (ST) actions (to take place until 2020, corresponding to the end of the current programs), the medium term (MT) actions (that must ideally be framed in what concerns the discussion of the 9th. EU RTD Framework Program and Regional Development Programs) and the long term (LT) actions (to take place in the period that goes from 2021 thru 2027).
For the challenges identified, in terms of ""Recognition and reputation"" of the Seal of Excellence, it is vital to implement, as soon as possible, a set of events where contact can be made between SoE beneficiaries and support agencies such as the ones involved in the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN). This contact can evolve in the medium term to the creation of a Key Account Manager for the Seal of Excellence (KAM SoE), that leverages and blends the existing EEN assets (network, representatives, database, etc.) with the financing mechanisms. The KAM SoE would allow, in the medium term, the creation of a single entry point, so that the companies with a SoE work with a single entity (and contact person) when setting up a project with multiple funding sources, addressing and unfolding the ""Synergies and Complementarities"" that the SoE enables.
In the medium term, and especially during the discussion phase of the 2021-2027 framework programs, it is essential to formalize several mechanisms, especially the ones related to the enablement of the KAM SoE, that will allow them to have a more proactive attitude, especially in the post evaluation process and after SoE attribution to the companies.
In what regards the evaluation of the projects, it is important that in the long term the evaluation procedure of the proposals can be extended so that private financers agree on a single proposal evaluation matrix, to be technically evaluated based on a common evaluation framework that could then be derived to fit each financing entity objectives and strategies.
With these approaches, we believe that it is possible to address the main difficulties in implementing the “Seal of Excellence”, so that it becomes a powerful tool in successfully funding high impact innovation projects.