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Enhancing the innovativeness of food SME’s through the management of strategic network behaviour and network learning performance

Objective

Strategic network learning is of crucial importance for innovation as it enables the food company to expand its resource base and to absorb new trends and technologies. It is observed that food SMEs often fail in establishing a strategic and efficient network. This project sheds new light on this issue by combining research actions at two levels: the focal company level, investigating how attitudes and preferences determine the food SME’s individual network behaviour in order to achieve business objectives. The network level, investigating the functioning of the network as a whole and how this results in innovation and economic growth and how network stakeholders can make the network better performing. The project combines scientific research with developing network learning tools of practical use to food SMEs, network organisations and policy makers. A broad definition of networks is applied, including networking with competitors, suppliers, knowledge centres and a variety of other actors through formal and informal linkages. Research activities take three steps: (1) profound analysis of success factors and barriers for network learning. Particular focus is on the relationship between informal and formal networking and global networks. (2) Network behaviour is analysed at the focal company level, providing insight in network characteristics affecting innovation and SMEs’ preferences for different network designs. (3) a prototype tool is developed and tested to assess performance of the network at network level. In the development stage of the project, the network learning toolbox will be developed, market-tested and launched. It consists of a set of instruments to enhance the capacity of SME’s, network organizations and policy makers to improve network learning based on strategic network management. The strength of the toolbox lies in the confrontation of our instruments with the business perspective and two-stage testing within SMEs and network organizations.

Coordinator

UNIVERSITEIT GENT

Address

Sint Pietersnieuwstraat 25
9000 Gent

Belgium

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 647 079

Administrative Contact

Nathalie Vandepitte (Ms.)

Participants (10)

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INSTITUTE FOR FOOD & AGROINDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

Denmark

KAREN THORSTED HAMANN - INSTITUTTET FOR FODEVARESTUDIER & AGRO INDUSTRIEL UDVIKLING IFAU

Denmark

TEAGASC - AGRICULTURE AND FOOD DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

Ireland

EU Contribution

€ 351 592

Stichting Food Valley

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 397 720

DEBRECENI EGYETEM

Hungary

EU Contribution

€ 169 360

SKANES LIVSMEDELSAKADEMI

Sweden

EU Contribution

€ 316 560

IFAU APS

Denmark

EU Contribution

€ 299 640

ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - UNIVERSITA DI BOLOGNA

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 266 760

INSTITUT POLYTECHNIQUE UNILASALLE

France

EU Contribution

€ 222 000

RHEINISCHE FRIEDRICH-WILHELMS-UNIVERSITAT BONN

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 285 475

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 245301

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 May 2010

  • End date

    30 April 2014

Funded under:

FP7-KBBE

  • Overall budget:

    € 3 646 352,40

  • EU contribution

    € 2 956 186

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITEIT GENT

Belgium