Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

A2F Conference Report Summary

Project ID: 638327
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.2.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - A2F Conference (Presidency Conference on Access to Finance for Research, Innovation and Growth)

Reporting period: 2014-04-01 to 2014-09-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"The Conference «Growth Enhancing Access to Finance for Research and Innovation» Conference which was organized by PRAXI Network of the Foundation of Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH) and the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT), of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs in the context of the Hellenic Presidency of the Council of the European Union was successfully concluded. The event was held on 12-13 June 2014, in Athens, Greece.
The overall objective of the Conference was to provide information at a European level on the new generation of EU financial instruments and advisory services designed to support innovative firms. The Conference saw the launch of the new “InnovFin- EU Finance for Innovators” products, which will make available more than EUR €24 billion of financing for research and innovation by small, medium and large companies and promoters of research infrastructures. This finance is expected to support up to €48 billion of final R&I investments.
The first day of the Conference was marked by the signing of two significant agreements:
The first comprised the Delegation Agreement relating to the Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and was signed by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the European Investment Bankand Pier Luigi Gilibert, Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund.
The second comprised the Framework Partnership Agreement relating to the Horizon 2020 Technical and Financial Advisory Service for Risk Finance in RDI and of its first Specific Grant Agreement for the period 2014-2017 was signed between the European Investment Bank’s Vice-President and the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.
During her speech, European Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn noted: ""Financial instruments provide an innovative way of investing in growth-enhancing companies and activities. The EU lags behind its global competitors in terms of business investment in innovation, so we must encourage banks to lend to these projects and help research-intensive companies get access to this finance. This will help us reach our EU target to invest 3% of GDP in R&D by 2020.""
As a generally accepted remark, the conference was successful, in terms of its organisational structure and the awareness and information goals that it envisaged to achieve for its participants. PRAXI Network received very positive remarks not only from the EC and the GSRT but also from the conference participants. The Conference was attended by more than 240 participants, among which many high-ranking officials from the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the European Investment Fund, as well as representatives of the investment, entrepreneurial and academic community.
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Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In this section we offer an overview of the Conference preparatory phase as well as the progress on technical and logistical issues. The preparatory phase of the conference was the longest and most demanding process. It involved a variety of activities ranging from setting up the Conference committees, consultations, invitation of participants, selection of suppliers for the number of activities envisaged (website, corporate identity, transfers, registration desk, printing company) to establishment of back office procedures, which consists in handling in a timely manner, large amounts of constantly changing information.
At the starting point of the Conference we establishment the Conference Committees, namely the scientific and the organising committees.
The Scientific Committee is composed primarily of delegates from the DG Research and Innovation and the Coordinator, PRAXI Network. It is responsible for the selection of speakers and the –development of the conference agenda. The Organising Committee is composed of the Coordinator and the cabinet of the Secretary General and the General Secretariat for Research & Technology (GSRT). The Organising Committee is in charge of certain organisational aspects of the conference such as dispatching invitations to high-level political officials on behalf of the Secretary General.
The participants of the Conference were majorly financial and SME stakeholders in the capacity of speakers and delegates. The Scientific Committee organised and handled the list of speakers to be invited. The Coordinator, in cooperation with the GSRT, was entrusted with the task of drafting distinct personalised invitations according to the needs of the agenda. DG Research and Innovation also undertook the task of identifying and pre-inviting high-caliber speakers from international stakeholder organisations.
The agenda was constantly updated and re-formulated according to availability of speakers. The final programme of the conference was be finalised two weeks before the conference.
Furthermore, undertook the responsibility of inviting conference delegates. In this regard, it extended official invitations to local stakeholders such as professional associations of SMEs, intermediary authorities, financial institutions (banks) and SMEs. In the case of high level guests and Ministry or Embassy representatives’ invitations were sent out by GSRT.
Following the establishment of the Conference committees, the identification of speakers and the smooth cooperation between Coordinator and Committees, the conference back office was established with staff from the Coordinators office. The back office was responsible for the following tasks on an on-going basis:
a. Target mailings of invitations to potentially interested parties from the European and Greek sector of financial and SME stakeholders.
b. Interaction with GSRT staff from the Cabinet of the Secretary General.
c. Reminders to invited parties.
d. Compilation of speakers CVs and biographies.
e. Detailed record keeping.
f. Preliminary transfer to be offered to all speakers.
g. Occasionally hold briefing meetings with the professional services company that will provide registration desk services etc.
Selection of suppliers was of crucial importance. Without the proper choice of suppliers), not only the successful implementation would be put at stake but the back office staff would lose valuable time rendering conference arrangements a costly process. More specifically, the procurement of the following suppliers – services was made in the framework of the preparation phase: Catering, Interpretation, Audio-visual, Professional photography services, Communications Company, Printing Company, Secretariat Services and Transfer.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The overall objective of the Conference was to provide information at a European level on the new generation of EU financial instruments and advisory services designed to support innovative firms. The Conference saw the launch of the new “InnovFin- EU Finance for Innovators” products, which will make available more than EUR €24 billion of financing for research and innovation by small, medium and large companies and promoters of research infrastructures. This finance is expected to support up to €48 billion of final R&I investments.
The first day of the Conference was marked by the signing of two significant agreements:
The first comprised the Delegation Agreement relating to the Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and was signed by Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Philippe de Fontaine Vive, Vice-President of the European Investment Bankand Pier Luigi Gilibert, Chief Executive of the European Investment Fund.
The second comprised the Framework Partnership Agreement relating to the Horizon 2020 Technical and Financial Advisory Service for Risk Finance in RDI and of its first Specific Grant Agreement for the period 2014-2017 was signed between the European Investment Bank’s Vice-President and the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science.

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