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SPRINT — Result In Brief

Project ID: 15802
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Romania

Reinventing the auto sector in Romania

Intense networking, engaging workshops, a new portal and high-tech research nuclei have contributed to a makeover of the Romanian automotive sector in its fledgling market economy.
Reinventing the auto sector in Romania
In the communist era, Romania was known for its automotive sector that contributed formidably to its economy. The market economy changed all this and in the years to follow the sector was faced with the prospect of extinction or rapid modernisation.

The EU-funded project 'Suppliers portal to research and innovation in transport' (Sprint) encouraged research activities in the sector following European standards on quality, environment and safety. It provided access to cutting-edge research and facilitated participation in EU projects, focusing particularly on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This was supported by workshops to raise awareness about European funding programmes and the organisation of the South East European Conference to foster global research cooperation of suppliers.

Importantly, the project created a high-quality network of suppliers in the industry and several research nuclei to investigate hot topics in the field. These nuclei investigate topics such as new materials, experiments to improve automotive components, design of new cars or components, fabrication support and new technologies. They have resulted in funding for many innovative projects with many more in the pipeline.

All project stakeholders, including suppliers, research laboratories and academia, have completed detailed questionnaires about their products, quality systems, human resources and technologies used, revealing many interesting figures. For example, all suppliers have an ISO 9001 system implemented and 63 % recently developed new products for Dacia-Renault, 37 % for Daewoo and 26 % for other car manufacturers. After the surveys, the network was refined with a focus mainly on information regarding products, technologies, partners, production capacities and equipment, as well as research and development collaboration.

A project portal was established to feature events, links and member profiles. The members' area was designed to cover demand and supply of products, technologies and proposals for partnerships. The portal, workshops and actual visits undertaken by the Sprint team helped to build strong networks and pave the way for suppliers to join EU-funded projects. With collaboration covering Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia, as well as the French company Renault, the automotive sector in southeastern Europe now has the potential to flourish.

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