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Regional RTD &

Innovation
Policies and
Practices

Reviewing the past to be


successful in the future

A benchmarking exercise, investigating on successfully


implemented regional RTD and innovation policies

NOVAREGIO: Innovative Network for coordinated actions on RTD policies at


regional level
LEGAL NOTICE

The present book has been developed as one of the main deliverables to be achieved
within the framework of the NOVAREGIO project.
NOVAREGIO is a project co-financed by the European Commission in the frame of
the 6th FP, under the specific programme “Integrating and Strengthening the
European Research Area – Regions of Knowledge 2”.
Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the
Commission is responsible for the use which might be made of the information
published in the present book.
The views expressed in this study are those of the authors and do not necessarily
reflect the policies of the European Commission.

For further information on the content of this book, please refer to the web site
http://www.novaregio.net

Coordination: AREA Science Park


Author and Editor: Innova S.p.A.
Cover design: TIA – The Public Agency for Technology of the Republic of Slovenia

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, in any form or by any
means, without permission in writing from the editor.

August 2007

II
Acknowledgments from the coordinator

Moving from industrial society to knowledge society entails creating new


development models based on innovation and integration of research, education and
industry, which represent the edges of the “knowledge triangle”. Particularly, the
integration of regional governments, industries and academic or research institutions
is increasingly gaining ground, thus favouring the development of innovation
processes.
European regions are gaining an increasingly relevant role in the development and
management of a knowledge-based society. Indeed, locally embedded social,
cultural and institutional arrangements are a source of knowledge, learning and
innovation. Moreover, innovation is an interactive process to be shared by a variety
of institutions and at the same time interregional collaboration is a tool for
innovation.
To this aim, AREA Science Park, the multi-sector science and technology park of
the Friuli Venezia Giulia region and one of the leading parks in Europe, has
launched the “NOVAREGIO Project-InNOVative Network for coordinated actions
on RTD Policies at Regional Level”, co-financed by the European Commission
within the 6th Framework Programme known as “Regions of Knowledge II”,
connecting 8 partners belonging to 7 European regions with non-homogeneous
social, economic and political characteristics: Canary Islands (Spain), Crete
(Greece), Styria (Austria), South Transdanubia (Hungary), Småland med öarna/West
Sweden (Sweden), Slovenia and Friuli Venezia Giulia region (Italy).
NOVAREGIO is aimed to establish and diffuse more effective innovation policies
and practices within the European framework to increase the competitiveness of the
regions involved in the project.
NOVAREGIO objectives include identifying the best innovation policies and
practices to be promoted and taken on as models, as well as providing assistance to
regional public administrations for self-evaluating their innovation policies, so that
new knowledge for increasing the competitiveness of the territories and their
relevant economic and productive systems can be acquired.
The NOVAREGIO self-evaluation process was developed through the collection
and selection of the innovation policies and practices implemented in the seven
regions involved, which were later assessed by experts in the fields of technology
transfer and innovation management.
In this context, eleven “best practices” – which are described in this handbook -
were identified, exchanged and diffused among the NOVAREGIO partners and
regional policy makers and innovation practitioners as well.

III
Two out of the eleven best practices were selected in Friuli Venezia Giulia: “Sister”
- a practice promoted by AREA Science Park to scout and exploit research results
from Academia and Public Research Organisations – and “Innovation Network” - an
initiative created by AREA Science Park in cooperation with the regional industrial
associations, chambers of commerce and development agencies aimed at
transferring “demand-driven” technology and knowledge to enterprises.
Therefore, NOVAREGIO is a valid pilot experience for managing innovation and its
outcomes are now available to the Regional Governments at a large extent.
I wish to thank the Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Ministry in charge of Labour,
Education, University and Research, under whose direction the NOVAREGIO
Project has been implemented, as well as the CEI-Central European Initiative and
the CPMR–Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe for the attention
dedicated to the Project.
I also wish to express my sincere thanks to the partners Innova SpA, TIA–The
Public Agency for Technology, FORTH–Foundation for Research & Technology
Hellas, SFG–Steiermärkische Forschungs- und Entwicklungsförderungs GmbH,
ITC–Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias SA, LTC–Länsteknikcentrum i Jönköpings
län AB, STRDA–South Transdanubian Regional Development Agency, for the
qualified contribution and the great spirit of cooperation ensured to NOVAREGIO
during two years of joint work.
Last but not least, I wish to thank the entire structure of AREA Science Park, and
particularly all the staff members who were directly involved, for the commitment
and the competence shown in the complex task of coordinating the Project.

Gabriele Gatti
Director Marketing and International Relations
AREA Science Park

IV
Authors

The content of the Handbook has been developed by a team member of INNOVA,
Antje Klaesener.
A valuable contribution has been provided by all the involved project partners for
the benchmarks’ engineering and description, as well as their process flow design. In
particular, a special thanks is to be given to the members of the Project Management
Committee, namely: Marcello Guaiana and Isabella Aiello (AREA Science Park),
Lidija Fras Zemljic and Mojca Skalar Komljanc (TIA–The Public Agency for
Technology of the Republic of Slovenia), Artemis Saitakis and Kostas Galanakis
(FORTH–Foundation for Research & Technology Hellas), Wolfgang Schabereiter
and Sabine Proßnegg (SFG–Steiermärkische Forschungs- und
Entwicklungsförderungs GmbH), Alma Cruz and Lucía Dobarro Delgado (ITC–
Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias SA), Erik Bunis and Stefan Lind (LTC–
Länsteknikcentrum i Jönköpings län AB), Lorand Szabò and Nikolett Huba Varga
(STRDA–South Transdanubian Regional Development Agency). Further
contributions from their side were made on the main lessons learnt from the selected
successfully implemented RTD and innovation policies.

V
Contents

Preface....................................................................................................................... X
Executive Summary .............................................................................................. XIV

Chapter 1. The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives................ 1


1.1 Defining Benchmarking – what is regional Benchmarking?........................ 2
1.2 Benefits from Benchmarking – why engage in regional Benchmarking? .... 5
1.3 Types of Benchmarking ............................................................................... 7
1.4 The Benchmarking Methodology............................................................... 10

Chapter 2. The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context ... 15


2.1 Objectives of the NOVAREGIO Coordination Action .............................. 16
2.2 The 4 step model of the Benchmarking Methodology applied to
NOVAREGIO ............................................................................................ 20
2.2.1 Identification of 25 successful RTD and innovation policies ........... 23
2.2.2 Validation of 25 Good Practices and selection of 11 potential
benchmarks....................................................................................... 24
2.2.3 Benchmark engineering and modelling ............................................ 26
2.2.4 Publication and transfer of results, monitoring................................. 27

Chapter 3. RTD and innovation Benchmarks ................................................... 29


3.1 The 11 NOVAREGIO Benchmarks ........................................................... 30
3.2 Friuli Venezia Giulia .................................................................................. 34
3.2.1 SISTER............................................................................................. 37
3.2.1.1 Methodology ........................................................................... 37
3.2.1.2 Success Factors ....................................................................... 40
3.2.1.3 Performance Indicators ........................................................... 40
3.2.2 Innovation NetworkTM ...................................................................... 43
3.2.2.1 Methodology ........................................................................... 43
3.2.2.2 Success Factors ....................................................................... 47
3.2.2.3 Performance Indicators ........................................................... 48

VII
3.3 South Transdanubia.................................................................................... 50
3.3.1 “Baross Gabor” Programme – Support of the innovation
developments of small and medium-sized enterprises in South
Transdanubia .................................................................................... 52
3.3.1.1 Methodology ........................................................................... 53
3.3.1.2 Success Factors ....................................................................... 56
3.3.1.3 Performance Indicators ........................................................... 57
3.4 Styria .......................................................................................................... 59
3.4.1 Skills Development of Qualified Employees.................................... 62
3.4.1.1 Methodology ........................................................................... 62
3.4.1.2 Success Factors ....................................................................... 66
3.4.1.3 Performance Indicators ........................................................... 67
3.4.2 Start-up Entrepreneurs ...................................................................... 69
3.4.2.1 Methodology ........................................................................... 69
3.4.2.2 Success Factors ....................................................................... 73
3.4.2.3 Performance Indicators ........................................................... 73
3.5 Slovenia...................................................................................................... 76
3.5.1 Centre of Excellence......................................................................... 77
3.5.1.1 Methodology ........................................................................... 77
3.5.1.2 Success Factors ....................................................................... 81
3.5.1.3 Performance Indicators ........................................................... 81
3.6 Crete ........................................................................................................... 83
3.6.1 University Students Entrepreneurship Programme – UNISTEP ...... 85
3.6.1.1 Methodology ........................................................................... 85
3.6.1.2 Success Factors ....................................................................... 88
3.6.1.3 Performance Indicators ........................................................... 89
3.6.2 Pancreta Development Fund............................................................. 91
3.6.2.1 Methodology ........................................................................... 91
3.6.2.2 Success Factors ....................................................................... 94
3.6.2.3 Performance Indicators ........................................................... 94

VIII
3.7 Canary Islands ............................................................................................ 97
3.7.1 BIC Canarias .................................................................................... 99
3.7.1.1 Methodology ........................................................................... 99
3.7.1.2 Success Factors ..................................................................... 103
3.7.1.3 Performance Indicators ......................................................... 104
3.8 Småland med öarna/West Sweden ........................................................... 107
3.8.1 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Development – SMED........ 109
3.8.1.1 Methodology ......................................................................... 109
3.8.1.2 Success Factors ..................................................................... 112
3.8.1.3 Performance Indicators ......................................................... 113
3.8.2 Healthcare Technology Alliance – HCTA...................................... 115
3.8.2.1 Methodology ......................................................................... 115
3.8.2.2 Success Factors ..................................................................... 118
3.8.2.3 Performance Indicators ......................................................... 119

Chapter 4. Lessons learnt and outlook for the future..................................... 121


4.1 Conclusions .............................................................................................. 122
4.2 Outlook..................................................................................................... 126
Annex ..................................................................................................................... 131
Bibliography........................................................................................................... 181

IX
Preface

The NOVAREGIO project ‘Innovative Network for coordinated actions on RTD


policies at regional level’ is an attempt to showcase best practices in the
development and implementation of RTD and innovation policies and initiatives,
aimed at fostering networking activities, providing guidance to policy makers and
consequently exploiting structural funds more efficiently.
The NOVAREGIO project, coordinated by AREA Science Park, involves 8 partners
from 7 European Regions – Canary Islands (Spain), Crete (Greece), Slovenia,
Småland med Öarna and West Sweden (Sweden), Styria (Austria), South
Transdanubia (Hungary) and Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy) – representing outstanding
organisations dealing with the management and diffusion of innovation:
 AREA Science Park–Consorzio per l’AREA di Ricerca Scientifica e
Tecnologica di Trieste (Italy);
 INNOVA SpA (Italy);
 TIA–The Public Agency for Technology of the Republic of Slovenia
(Slovenia);
 FORTH–Foundation for Research & Technology Hellas (Greece);
 SFG–Steiermärkische Forschungs- und Entwicklungsförderungs GmbH
(Austria);
 ITC–Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias SA (Spain)
 LTC–Länsteknikcentrum i Jönköpings län AB (Sweden);
 STRDA–South Transdanubian Regional Development Agency (Hungary).
The NOVAREGIO project is managed by two dedicated international boards,
namely the Project Management Committee (PMC) and the Strategic Steering
Committee (SSC). The first one, composed by the partner organisations
representatives, is in charge of the coordination at consortium level of the technical
and administrative activities. The second one, composed by European experts in
innovation, has the mandate to define strategies and tools necessary to increase the
project efficiency and efficacy as well as its long-term sustainability.
With the aim of fostering networking activities, providing guidance to policy makers
and exploiting structural funds more efficiently, NOVAREGIO, started in January
2006 with a two-years duration, promotes with its activities the building of a
knowledge society and contributes therefore to the realisation of the Lisbon Strategy
according to which the European Union in March 2000 set itself the ambitious goal
of becoming “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy in the
world by 2010, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs
and greater social cohesion”.

X
The conducted analysis is focused on the regional perspective, and accordingly
investigates on regional RTD and innovation policies implemented in seven selected
European regions. Bearing in mind the globalisation and the resulting enlarged
competition from the merging economies, Europe is more and more constrained to
raise its own competitiveness. Tackling this challenge at regional and not national
level appears reasonable since sub-national systems have a strong identity and are
rich in resources, dedicated to act at regional level and adapt their economies to
globalisation. Furthermore, due to the proximity of contacts between key players,
the regional approach is appropriate for improving the innovation capacity, and
consequently creating a knowledge society.
Nowadays, in Europe are still observed significant regional differences, comprising
advanced regions that dispose of a greater innovative ability and thus able to adapt
their economies to globalisation, and less developed regions on the other side which
require support to improve their innovation performance.
NOVAREGIO involves seven European regions with very heterogeneous
characteristics, as they differ amongst others in terms of size (e.g. population,
geographical size, natural resources, etc.), political independence and economic
wealth. In this frame, the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region acts as key driver due to its
extraordinary concentration of researchers and the presence of many outstanding
national and international RTD centres and institutes. Furthermore, other regions
belong to countries with traditionally strong states like Austria and Sweden, as well
as further countries which have begun more recently to systematically strengthen
their regions, as for example Hungary, Greece and Spain. Consequently, the regions
do not move at the same pace as regards their innovation capacity. However, all of
the seven regions aim at increasing their investment in RTD and innovation
activities by adopting policy measures that tackle the same topics and concentrate on
supporting the innovation progress within the regions.
Furthermore, the regions are geographically situated where two major European
organisations are operating: the CEI – Central European Initiative and the CPMR –
Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe, both organisations that share
the need of convergence and cohesion of regional policies and strategies as
expressed by the Lisbon Strategy, and tackle as one common issue the improvement
of the regional RTD and innovation development.
The project regions, none the less their uneven progress in regional innovation
performance, have been developing a wide range of expertise as regards regional
RTD and innovation policies, implemented in the programming period 2000 – 2006
of the structural funds. The policies concern the development of innovative projects
and programmes, innovative financing systems and the knowledge society as a
whole by promoting innovation in SMEs and supporting the development of human
capital.
The present handbook looks at the RTD and innovation policies that have been
implemented by the partner regions, by adopting a benchmarking exercise building
on the ‘Benchmarking Consulting Practice’, a model that has been developed by
INNOVA and originally applied to the Network of the Innovation Relay Centres
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(IRCs) in the framework of a pilot project initiated in 2001, aimed at improving the
operational efficiency and effectiveness of the IRC Network.
The methodological approach has been adapted to the needs of the NOVAREGIO
project and further improved with new procedural schemes aimed at valorising the
active participation of regional policy makers and key stakeholders involved in
financing and managing RTD programmes.
The handbook is composed of four chapters.
Chapter 1 explains the benchmarking concept: what does benchmarking mean,
especially in the regional context, and why its application can lead to regional
improvements.
Chapter 2 deals with the benchmarking methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO
context. A 4-step model has been developed in order to select the most relevant
practices and to analyse them in detail, making them finally transferable to the other
involved regions and further regions interested in their take up.
Chapter 3 illustrates the outcomes of the benchmarking exercise and presents the
selected benchmarks on regional RTD and innovation policies. A benchmarking
exercise, demonstrating each single part of the implementation and working process,
supports a better understanding and permits to learn how to effectively address
major challenges based upon others’ policy-learning experiences.
Chapter 4 reasons on the main lessons learnt from the successfully implemented
RTD and innovation policy benchmarks. Suggestions are given as regards the
adoption of policies in the future that can favour an inspiring environment for
regional key players, coming from the research and the industry sector and including
both public and private actors.
It has to be pointed out that the intention of the project was not simply to present
regional RTD and innovation policies (all the detected regional RTD and innovation
policies are listed in the Annex), but instead to highlight those policies whose
functional processes resulted to be the most successful ones and who can give an
example to other regions for improving their innovation performance. In this context
the transferability of the selected benchmarks played an important role. A successful
policy which is determined by very specific regional, economic or structural factors
may be less interesting than a less spectacular policy which can be more easily
transferred to another context and thus can serve as an example.
Furthermore, it has to be stated that there does not exist an overall best region,
neither in the project nor from a general point of view, against whom to benchmark.
Some characteristics the regions against whom to benchmark should have, are the
following1:

1
Innovating Regions in Europe (IRE) Secretariat, 2006.

XII
 Regions should have consciously implemented a relevant process of
outstanding effectiveness and efficiency so that it makes sense to learn
from them;
 Regions should have succeeded under similar circumstances with regard to
their legal framework conditions in order to make the lessons learnt
relevant for a subsequent implementation;
 Regions should be motivated to fully share their insights and preferably
even support the transfer of know-how in order to access even sensitive but
crucial information, to speed up the implementation and finally to serve as
partner for continued mutual learning;
 Regions should be known as a system which has succeeded in order to
overcome scepticism in the own region against knowledge from outside.
In this context, the conducted benchmarking exercise aims to exploit the generated
knowledge by exchanging experiences and provide the readers of this handbook
with a good insight into the different possibilities of implementing successful
regional RTD and innovation policies. Furthermore, it can help regions to realise
their limits and opportunities and to be more efficient, competitive and sustainable.
Besides this, the exercise can also raise awareness about performance and identifies
relative regional strengths and weaknesses.

XIII
Executive Summary

NOVAREGIO (Innovative Network for coordinated actions on RTD policies at


regional level) aims at enhancing the interaction between regional policy makers
regarding the implementation of regional RTD and innovation policies, aimed at
fostering networking and providing guidelines to policy makers in RTD and
innovation matters.
This intent has been pursued by mobilising seven European regions2, located in the
central eastern part of Europe and in peripheral maritime areas, giving them the
opportunity to learn from each other and building up as well as strengthen already
previously established cooperation activities, considering this action as an
experiment to establish and validate effective policy design as regards regional RTD
and innovation matters.
A benchmarking exercise has been accomplished that contributed to identify
implemented regional RTD and innovation policies, to analyse the key areas of
interest the regions are focusing on, and to let emerge the best policy practices in the
different fields of interest. The intention of the exercise was to emphasise those
regional policies whose inherent knowledge and underlying processes resulted to be
the most effective ones. In this regard, the exercise helped giving policy makers
examples on policies whose adoption to the own regional context can contribute to
the enhancement of the own regional innovation capacity and performance.
A tailor-made approach has been developed and adopted to the NOVAREGIO
context, in order to collect and analyse the data necessary to select the best practices
and transfer their knowledge to all the involved regions as well as further regions
lying outside the project context but potentially interested in learning from the
achieved results.
In total, the exercise comprised the selection of 25 RTD and innovation policies
showing interesting policy contents and considered as promising for improving
regional development. 11 of them have been considered by regional policy makers
and further important regional stakeholders, involved in policy management and
financing, as valuable and critical for moving towards knowledge based economies.
These 11 best practices were analysed in detail as regards their policy design
techniques and functionality and were appointed as benchmarks in this handbook.

The 11 selected benchmarks


In order to render a practice (in the project context the regional policy) transferable
and adaptable to one’s needs, it has to be underlined before implementing it how and

2
The NOVAREGIO project, coordinated by AREA Science Park, involves 8 partners from 7 European
Regions – Canary Islands (Spain), Crete (Greece), Småland med Öarna and West Sweden (Sweden),
Slovenia, Styria (Austria), South Tansdanubia (Hungary) and Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy) – representing
outstanding organisations dealing with the management and diffusion of innovation.

XIV
why the practice has become a successful one. Each benchmark has been analysed
and described in detail, illustrating each single working step accompanied by a
process flow-chart, success factors and performance indicators giving evidence to
the effective implementation of the practice in the region.
The 11 benchmarks are the following:
a) SISTER
b) Innovation NetworkTM
c) Baross Gabor Programme
d) Skills Development of Qualified Employees
e) Start-up Entrepreneurs
f) Centre of Excellence
g) UNISTEP
h) Pancreta Development Fund
i) BIC Canarias
j) SMED
k) HCTA

a) The SISTER project aims at increasing technology transfer activities in the region
Friuli Venezia Giulia by enhancing the economic value of research results
accomplished by the Public Research Organisations (PROs) located in the region.
Through the adoption of a new valorisation process, those research results are
brought to the market that are representing high potential for being applied and
successfully exploited by industry.
b) Innovation NetworkTM is an initiative sustaining also technology transfer activities
in Friuli Venezia Giulia but through the improvement on the industry side by
enhancing technology demand. The initiative established a Network of specialised
Competence Centres for the different production areas of the region, aiming at
boosting the spreading of new technologies at regional level and offering enterprises
innovation services of added value.
c) The Baross Gabor Programme aims to improve the local innovation potential in
the region South Transdanubia, addressed specifically to the small and medium-
sized enterprises in the region. The programme is executed through a Call for
Proposals tailored to the specific regional needs, objectives and the six core sectors
of the region.
d) The programme Skills Development of Qualified Employees supports an efficient
and goal-oriented training in the region Styria in order to strengthen the
competitiveness of the local companies and the competences of their personnel. The
programme is addressed to different kinds of employees and provides financial
XV
assistance for high-quality training schemes with an innovative concept going
beyond standard courses and seminars.
e) Start-up Entrepreneurs is a programme of the region Styria that provides support
to a new establishment or the starting up of an activity that contributes to a
fundamental change in product management or production. The programme offers a
tailor-made approach to different kinds of entrepreneurs and supports in particular
those projects that improve the potential fields of strengths identified by the region.
f) The Centre of Excellence is a programme set up in Slovenia, bringing together key
players from the scientific-research sector and the economy environment. The
programme supports technology transfer activities through facilitating the
implementation of innovative projects in the region, focalised on selected
technology areas. The establishment of a Centre of Excellence underlies strict
requirements as regards the partnership and the financial liquidity of the participants.
g) UNISTEP – University Students Entrepreneurship Programme – is an initiative
implemented in the region Crete and aimed at counteracting the brain drain existing
in the region by creating a positive environment for cultivating entrepreneurship
among university students. The programme includes a theoretical and practical part.
Trainings on entrepreneurship are offered and laboratories are made available for the
creation, development and testing of prototypes which could be later exploited on
the market through a new technology based enterprise.
h) The Pancreta Development Fund is a funding source for high-risk entrepreneurial
incentives, completing the financial instruments existing in the region Crete. The
fund provides in particular support to SMEs and start-up companies, focusing
mainly on new technologies, innovative products and further activities particularly
with regard to tourism development and the exploitation of local resources.
i) BIC Canarias is an initiative set up in the Canary Islands and aimed at integrating
organisations and resources in order to provide services to the entrepreneurs in four
selected islands. On each of these four islands, a Business Promotion Unit (BUP) is
established, supporting innovative business ideas of local entrepreneurs. The
activities of BIC Canarias include a pre-incubation phase in which extensive project
search activities are carried out and an incubation phase in which direct services are
offered to selected companies.
j) SMED – Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Development – develops big ideas
in small companies in the region Småland med öarna so as to let more innovators
reach the market and stimulate new product development for increasing the
existence of competitive companies in the region. The programme informs
companies about financing possibilities and focuses on product development,
product innovation and product design.

XVI
k) The HCTA – Healthcare Technology Alliance is an initiative supporting the
development of new products and services in healthcare technology in the region
West Sweden. HCTA functions as a network and encompasses a large number of
companies, organisations and research and development institutions working in the
healthcare technology field. The alliance is a good opportunity to set up
development projects and thus to strengthen the regional innovation system for
healthcare technology.

The detailed description of the benchmarks supports the sharing and the
implementation of best practices on RTD and innovation policy design within the
seven project regions, as well as further interested regions, reinforcing thereby the
innovation performance of the regions and contributing to the goal of turning
European regions into knowledge-based societies. According to the aim of the
project, the benchmarking exercise led to a real mutual knowledge transfer among
the project regions, setting the basis for generating substantial improvements in
efficient and adequate policy management.
As the programming period 2007 – 2013 for the structural funds shows, the topics of
the identified benchmarks are lying all in the target areas to be strived for in the near
future. Core issues considered to lead to efficient innovation policies are public-
private partnerships, particularly set up in the form of the triple-helix model,
involving government, academia and industry, all of them players that are bringing
to the partnership a special expertise of strategic importance. Furthermore, the
building of clusters is advisable for stimulating innovation and productivity growth,
achieved through the facilitated knowledge spill-over and increased information
flow. The investment in high-skilled human resources is mandatory for generating
new ideas and products, and thus sustaining the innovation performance of a region.
Innovative financing instruments, such as venture capital funds, are a further issue to
be considered in regional policy design. Innovation activities are related to risk
intensive undertakings and hence need a greater initial investment which often is not
provided by banks, especially when requested from financially weak SMEs.
All these objectives can be best achieved when being approached at regional level,
since the regional approach permits the direct involvement of regional key actors
and allows for designing policies that are tailored more directly to the specific
regional needs.

The transfer of the benchmarks into other regional contexts provides a good initial
point for realising the objectives set by the EU in the single regions. However, the
11 benchmarks should be considered as reference models for the future policy
design. Of course, they cannot be applied within the environment of each region
automatically: adaptations and adjustments to the characteristics of each single
region, such as the environmental conditions, legal framework, industrial core
sectors, structure of the local companies, existing organisations and institutions for
promoting research and industrial growth, available human resources, etc. will be
always necessary.

XVII
The transfer of the benchmarks should be intended as a broad activity, transversal to
the whole benchmarking exercise and running since the beginning of the project. It
is not only a matter of transferring results but also to allow a more comprehensive
knowledge transfer process related to the benchmarking model, the process flow
development, the selection process and the validation and engineering of each single
benchmark. Best results can be achieved when embedding the benchmarking process
into the strategic policy design and implementing it in relation to the regional policy
making process, thus serving as an on-going policy impact assessment and
evaluation tool.

XVIII
Chapter 1. The concept of
Benchmarking, definition
and objectives
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

1.1 Defining Benchmarking – what is regional


Benchmarking?

Benchmarking is a self-improvement tool and describes the procedure in which a


company, organisation or any other (multi-organisational) system carries out three
processes:
1) compares its performance against best-in-class systems;
2) determines how these systems have achieved their superior performance; and
3) uses the collected information to improve its own performance.
Basically, all processes can be the object of benchmarking.
Most organisations tailor the definition of benchmarking to their own strategies and
objectives, so that numerous definitions of benchmarking exist. Generally speaking,
there do not exist neither correct nor false definitions of benchmarking, but rather
adequate or inadequate definitions related to a specific case. Two examples of
defining benchmarking are given below:
“Benchmarking is the process of comparing yourself with others -- measuring
your service's processes and performance and systematically comparing them to
the performance of others in order to seek best practice. It enables the
identification of areas where improvement is possible, how it might be achieved
and what benefit it might deliver.”
Source: Foot (1998) How to do Benchmarking: A Practitioner's Guide

“Benchmarking is the process of improving performance by continuously


identifying, understanding (studying and analyzing) and adapting outstanding
practices and processes found inside and outside the organisation and
implementing the results.”
Source: American Productivity and Quality Centre (1997): What is
Benchmarking

Benchmarking stems from private sector business and over the past years, this
management technique has been adopted and adapted from the private sector in
public policy. In fact, benchmarking has become increasingly popular for political
systems given the fact that nations and regions are facing increased competition
from other competing systems. Today, it has become necessary for regions to
improve and invest in their competitiveness.
In this regard, regional benchmarking, derived from the term territorial
benchmarking, has been developed, a rather new form which looks at the

2
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

performances of regions and the causes of their performance3. Questions that one
should ask in this context are:
▪ How do other regions perform?
▪ How important are the performance gaps between the regions?
▪ Which are the regions showing outstanding performances?
▪ Which practices are sustaining best performance?
Regional benchmarking means that a specific region conducts a benchmarking
process in order to improve its regional development or selected foci of it. Usually,
this kind of benchmarking process comprises the collection, analysis and
documentation of good practice cases, ensuring at the same time the devoted
participation of key stakeholders in the process in order to encourage commitment to
using the knowledge generated in the policy design.
There do not exist overall best regions against whom to benchmark. Instead it is
crucial to select adequate and appropriate regions against whom to benchmark. What
an adequate region depends on heavily is the main purpose of the benchmarking
exercise and the nature of the region to be benchmarked. If a region for example
uses benchmarking for primarily strengthening its own position within the country,
it makes sense to benchmark against other domestic regions. If instead a region is
interested in learning how to handle a particular challenge, regions should be
identified with a very similar challenge and which have successfully faced this
particular challenge.
When considering regional strategies and guidelines designed to boost the economic
development of regions, the term policy benchmarking comes into play. Policy
benchmarking aims at evaluating alternative policies, implementing strategies and
improving performance by understanding and adapting successful strategies
implemented in further regions. The main objective of the exercise is to provide
policy makers with examples of best practices by identifying adequate, well defined
and successfully implemented policies. Policy benchmarking goes beyond the
assessment of the indicators determining observed performance but provides
furthermore an understanding of the processes, skills and capabilities that create
superior performance.

There are numerous approaches on how to conduct benchmarking and the


definitions of benchmarking are manifold. Although there does not exist an overall
best approach, it is necessary to adapt the method that results the best according to
the characteristics of the endeavour, such as the object of benchmarking, the time
horizon and the available budget.
However, essentially each benchmarking definition involves learning, sharing
information and adopting best practices in order to improve processes based upon

3
Innovating Regions in Europe (IRE) Secretariat, 2006.

3
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

the insight on what makes processes effective and efficient. ‘Process’ implies a
sequence of activities made up of tasks and steps that cross the boundaries between
functions. Focusing on the process, distinguishes benchmarking from stocktaking.
The act of appraising a present situation, condition or degree of progress in a
systematic comparison to previous situations, conditions in other systems, as e.g.
regions, or strategic objectives is described. In practice, benchmarking usually
encompasses:
▪ regularly comparing aspects of processes’ performance with best
practitioners;
▪ identifying gaps in performance;
▪ seeking fresh approaches to achieve improvements in performance;
▪ following through with implementing improvements;
▪ following up by monitoring progress and reviewing the benefits.
Although benchmarking involves making comparisons of performance, it is not a
merely competitor analysis but instead is best undertaken in a collaborative way in
order to learn about the circumstances and processes that underpin superior
performance. In this regard, regional benchmarking explicitly aims to exploit the
generated knowledge by defining and implementing adequate policies in a regional
context. Consequently, it is required that the benchmarking process is embedded into
a strategic policy process (policy benchmarking). This means that the exercise
should be implemented in relation to the regional policy making process and can
serve as an on-going policy impact assessment and evaluation tool.

The benchmarking exercise adopted in NOVAREGIO follows the principles of


regional benchmarking, having as target the seven selected central European and
peripheral maritime regions4. Given that the analysis focuses specifically on RTD
and innovation policies implemented in the target regions, the exercise includes
furthermore the policy benchmarking approach, thus making policy benchmarking to
an integrated element of the regional benchmarking exercise.
The ultimate aim of the benchmarking methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO
project context is to offer regional governments and policy makers an effective tool
to foster competitiveness in selected fields, considering also the time span needed
for the successful implementation of development policies and the impact those have
in the long run.

4
Generally, a region is an extensive, continuous geographically defined part of the earth’s surface. The
term is used for vast parts of the earth like Asia/Pacific as well as for areas which constitute a small part
of a country, as e.g. a city and its surroundings. Considering the work programme Regions of Knowledge
in which NOVAREGIO has been set up, the term region is used throughout the project and therewith also
within this document to describe any geographically defined functional system at sub-national level
(Slovenia, being a small nation is referred to as region as well).

4
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

1.2 Benefits from Benchmarking – why engage in regional


Benchmarking?

Benchmarking is usually part of a larger effort, generally a Process Re-engineering


or Quality Improvement initiative. When used appropriately, it has proved to be one
of the most effective tools for attaining high improvements in performance.
Benchmarking provides:
▪ an effective ‘wake-up call’ and helps to make a strong case for change;
▪ practical ways in which step changes in performance can be achieved by
learning from others who have already undertaken comparable changes;
▪ the impulse for seeking new ways of doing things, promoting a culture
that is receptive to fresh approaches and ideas;
▪ opportunities for staff to acquire new skills and to be involved in the
process of change from the very beginning.
Benchmarking activities can be implemented in different environments. In the
private sector the purpose of benchmarking is to gain competitive edge. The
benchmarking approach has become embedded in successful commercial
organisations as a means of seeking innovation outside the industry paradigm and to
keep up at the forefront of competition. Regarding the public sector, organisations
operating in this environment have increasingly been turning to benchmarking their
public services in order to improve and achieve the sort of step changes needed to
deliver modern public services.5 On an European scale, benchmarking is used as an
instrument for reaching improvements in performance in both public and private
sector, aiming to increase the competitiveness of the European economy as a whole.
When specifically referring to regional benchmarking, the ultimate objective is to
improve regional development. Regional benchmarking is a powerful tool which
contributes to regional development by effectively serving a number of key
functions, such as the following6:
 Raising awareness: One of the most important added values of the regional
benchmarking process is raising awareness among regional stakeholders
regarding the region’s position in comparison to other regions. Presenting the
own regional situation by confronting with others may motivate and commit
regional policy and decision makers to review strategies and policies.
 Generation of knowledge: The process permits to learn how to effectively
address major challenges based upon others’ policy-learning experiences. A
system cannot perform all learning internally but has to integrate competence
from outside the own system. A main reason for implementing benchmarking is

5
Public Sector Benchmarking Service (PSBS).
6
Innovating Regions in Europe (IRE) Secretariat, 2006.

5
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

to learn about how policy has an impact on regional systems (policy


benchmarking).
 Trans-regional co-operation: Trans-regional benchmarking projects can be an
opportunity to collaborate with other regions and establish trans-regional
partnerships. Regions working together on the common approach of a
benchmarking methodology get to know each other better and built up mutual
trust, thus constituting the basis for further strategic forms of cooperation.
 Creation of commitment: Commitment results from the perception and
communication that there are major threats and opportunities ahead, that others
are prepared to deal with them and that there are lessons learnt to be
implemented by the region in order to become or remain competitive.
 Regional marketing: Benchmarking can be applied as a regional marketing
tool. In this context, the regional benchmarking exercise is utilised as a
promotion tool and as an instrument to position the region as a leader in specific
fields on the market.
In conclusion, regional benchmarking creates and strengthens the key stakeholders’
motivation, their competence and devotion to boost regional competitiveness by
implementing more effective and efficient policies. A successful benchmarking
exercise bridges gaps in performance by improvements, and results in significant
tangible benefits, such as:
- supply policy makers with examples of best practice;
- step changes in performance and innovation;
- improving quality and productivity;
- improving performance measurement.

6
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

1.3 Types of Benchmarking

There are almost as many types of benchmarking as there are definitions. The
various definitions depend on what an organisation or any other system intends to
benchmark. In the following table, the main types of benchmarking are illustrated.
Table 1.1 – Types of Benchmarking

Type of Benchmarking Description

- Applied when organisations seek to improve their overall


performance by examining long-term strategies and general
Strategic approaches that have enabled high-performers to succeed.
- Involves assessment of strategic rather than operational
matters.
- Used where organisations consider their positions in relation
Performance to performance characteristics of key products and services,
(Competitive) quantified in terms of price, speed, reliability, etc.
- Benchmarking partners are drawn from the same sector.
- Utilised when the focus lies on improving specific critical
Process processes and operations.
- Comparing to discrete work processes and operating
systems.
- Applied when organisations look to benchmark with two or
Functional (Generic) more organisations drawn from different business sectors or
areas of activity.

Internal - Seeking partners from within the same organisation, e.g.


from business units located in different areas or processes.

External - Seeking outside organisations that are known to be the best


in class.
- Benchmarking partners are sought from other countries
International because best practitioners are located elsewhere in the world
and/or there are too few benchmarking partners within the
same country to produce valid results.

When selecting the type of benchmarking to be used, different aspects have to be


taken into consideration. It has to be defined in the first place which objectives the
exercise wants to achieve and which aspects should be reviewed. Moreover, time
and resources available are further important features that have to be respected.
Each of the above described benchmarking types has its benefits and shortcomings
and there are circumstances in which one type is likely to be more suitable than
other types. However, it is essential to outline the difference between performance
and process benchmarking since all categories will fall into one of these two areas or
into both.

7
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

Performance benchmarking compares the performance of output of activities. Such


measures can indicate which activities are the organisation’s or system’s strengths
and find ways of closing gaps of performance. Once identified, further investigation
is required to establish how such performance is achieved.
On the other hand, process benchmarking looks at the processes used by
organisations or systems and compares these against what is deemed to be the best
practice. Such processes are invariably made up of several sub-processes that
produce an overall approach or process.
Figure 1.1 – Performance and Process Benchmarking

Process
Depth of understanding, Potential benefits
Benchmarking

Performance
Benchmarking

Effort required, Cost

It has been discovered that actual improvements following benchmarking arise from
consideration and observation of the processes rather than from the output measures.
That is why a large extent of time and effort is needed when carrying out a
benchmarking exercise. In a first step, the questions and areas to be investigated
need to be established and agreed on. Obtaining data, completing questionnaires and
any subsequent analysis are also issues that are very time consuming.
If the output of the analysis is merely a set of statistics, then the return on investment
will be minimal and subsequently, the results are not worth the effort that has been
made before. Indeed, a thorough analysis of the processes and procedures that
support the figures must also be undertaken if major improvements are to be made.
For these reasons, many benchmarking exercises try to obtain both measures of
performance and process, in order to know not only who does what best, but also to
discover how such good performers get there.

8
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

With reference to NOVAREGIO, both performance and process benchmarking are


applied to the regional context. The performance of each involved project region
regarding RTD and innovation is evaluated in relation to all involved regions by
analysing their implemented RTD and innovation policies. Furthermore, the
conducted exercise intends to put emphasis on the critical processes underlying to
the selected successfully implemented regional policies, so as to provide to the other
regions examples of high-performing strategies. The exercise regards also the
international dimension of benchmarking since the regions are located in seven
different countries, all of them implementing successful policies which tackle
different topics but on the whole, all aimed at improving the RTD and innovation
performance of the regions.

9
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

1.4 The Benchmarking Methodology

As the previous sections show, there exists a wide variation of benchmarking


definitions, their types and applications. However, in all methods, benchmarking is
essentially a structured approach to comparison.
INNOVA has developed its own Benchmarking Consulting Practice7 which is built
around a 4-step model as illustrated in figure 1.2. The model is based on the IVEM
(Identification, Validation, Engineering and Monitoring) Benchmarking Cycle
which is the core of the benchmarking practice and is, in turn, built around the
following four steps:
▪ Identification of the areas/business processes to be benchmarked;
▪ Identification of the benchmarking sample;
▪ Streamlining of areas/business processes to be benchmarked;
▪ Application of the IVEM Benchmarking Cycle.
The first step in the Benchmarking Consulting Practice is the identification of the
areas/business processes to be benchmarked. It is important to have a clear focus
since the tighter the definition of the areas under study, the more valuable and
focused the learning opportunities.
Once the areas to be studied have been defined, the benchmarking sample will be
identified: whom to benchmark with.
A third step in the methodology is the streamlining of the areas/business processes
to be benchmarked. An useful instrument to develop this step is the development of
a flow-chart representing all the stages in the process.
Last but not least is the application of the IVEM Benchmarking Cycle, which
consists of the Identification, Validation, Engineering and Monitoring of selected
practices or potential benchmarks.
The selected practices or potential benchmarks will eventually become proper
benchmarks once they have been validated and the processes behind the practices
have been engineered. The emphasis is placed on how a practice has been achieved
and it is only by analysing, structuring and engineering the processes behind that an
organisation can improve and learn from benchmarking. The benchmarking
consulting practice is best suited to cooperative benchmarking environments, where
the opportunities to develop a learning atmosphere and the sharing of knowledge are
greater.

7
The “Benchmarking Consulting Practice” has been originally developed within the Benchmarking
Exercise conducted by the company INNOVA Europe, subsidiary of INNOVA, for the Innovation Relay
Centres Network throughout the period 2001-2005. Further successful applications and adaptations to
other European networks have followed since 2004.

10
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

In the following pages, a detailed description of the 4 moments that form the IVEM
Benchmarking Cycle8 is provided:

Identification
There are many ways in which potential benchmarks can be identified. Depending
on the type of study to be undertaken, one might consider using questionnaires,
direct interviews, ad hoc visits, etc. in order to spot interesting practices.
A carefully designed benchmarking questionnaire, containing both qualitative and
quantitative questions, is always a good start in the search of the potential
benchmarks. Once the information has been gathered through any of the means cited
above, the data must be analysed. This analysis must involve a deep understanding
of current process practices as well as of their performance indicators. On the basis
of this analysis, there is a first selection of practices that should be further examined
and evaluated before they can be considered benchmarks. At this stage, additional
information on the selected practices are collected and the material to evaluate and
validate them is prepared (a useful hint to accomplish this task is to prepare a list of
questions and a draft of the process flow-chart to be discussed with the organisation
that “owns” the potential benchmark).

Validation
The Validation phase together with the Engineering phase are the most
distinguishing features of the Benchmarking Consulting Practice. Validation, as the
word indicates, refers to the verification of the collected information and the
acquisition of additional information. The validation activity is usually carried out
through visits and direct interviews to the organisation that “owns” the potential
benchmark.
The acquisition of information of various types (quantitative and qualitative) and
formats (manuals, software, brochure and so on) is essential to complete the whole
picture of a given practice and should be done in an ordered manner, planning in
advance the type of information to be requested and structuring the questions to be
asked. Furthermore, in order to optimise resources, it would be highly recommended
to prepare a draft of the process flow chart, representing the potential benchmark
and discuss it with the organisation’s manager(s).

Engineering
This phase represents the core of the current Benchmarking Consulting Practice.
Once all the information about a practice has been gathered and validated, the
engineering comes into play. This is accomplished through the following actions:
- identifying all the elements that are part of that particular practice;
- breaking them down into the smallest possible pieces;

8
INNOVA Europe, 2003.

11
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

- pulling them back together, reconstructing the puzzle, in a logical and structured
manner.
Engineering therefore, involves structuring the potential benchmarks into logical and
sequential steps in order to understand what is behind the benchmark and how it has
been achieved.
The idea that any practice is performed in a step-by-step manner, with a beginning,
an end and tasks in between can be illustrated using a process flow. The flow-chart
clearly shows the elements in which a specific benchmark has been broken down
and therefore decodes the knowledge and the know-how built in the benchmark.
Representing all the stages in the process makes the benchmark understandable in all
its parts and clarifies how it has been achieved. Once this is fully understood, the
benchmark can be transferred or adapted to other organisations. When the best
practices have been identified, the processes in the partner organisation are
communicated and studied and a scheme for implementation of these processes is
established: what needs to be looked at is why the best are the best, what processes
have they followed to reach where they are. These are questions that will lead to a
workable road map for improvement.

Monitoring
Benchmarking is a continuous and recursive process, not a snapshot that is
performed once and disregarded afterwards. Monitoring and reviewing is necessary
to see how the benchmarks evolve over time; it should involve looking at the
evolution of the performance indicators, by measuring on a regular basis the
performance achieved, as well as observing the process flow to detect any changes
in the steps or in the activities undertaken.
Monitoring can be directed to the identification of new areas of work to be further
analysed and/or to new benchmarks in those same areas as well.
In order to close the loop and ensure that benefits do materialise, it is essential to
review the implementation of the practices and whether the adopted practices have
managed to fill a performance gap.

The following Chapter 2 presents a practical application of the benchmarking


consulting practice to the context of the NOVAREGIO project. The benchmarking
initiative has led to the identification of eleven best practices concerning RTD and
innovation performances, selected within the seven involved project regions. These
practices in the course of the benchmarking exercise have been validated and
engineered and hence turned into eleven benchmarks which will be illustrated in
detail in Chapter 3.
The detected benchmarks represent successful models of regional policies developed
by regional authorities and dealing with topics such as technology transfer and
networking initiatives as well as entrepreneurship, new product development, human

12
The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives

resources’ development in S&T and last but not least with the raising of public and
private funds.
Specific knowledge is being brought to the forefront, finally giving project partner
regions as well as further regions the opportunity to adapt and apply proven
successful methodologies to their own regional policies’ design.

13
14

Figure 1.2 – Benchmarking Consulting Practice

The concept of Benchmarking, definition and objectives


Identification of
Identification
Identification of of
areas/business
to beprocesses
benchmarked
to be benchmarked

Identification of the
Identification of the
benchmarking sample

Streamlining of
Streamlining
Streamlining of of
areas/business
to beprocesses
benchmarked
to be benchmarked

IDENTIFICATION
Questionnaires
Questionnaires
Benchmarks Benchmarks IDENTIFICATION
IDENTIFICATION Visits
Visits
Monitoring Identification Interviews
Interviews
Analysis
Analysis of of
practices & performance
practices & performance
indicators.
indicators. 1st 1st
Selection of practices
Selection of practices
Contacts
Contacts to to
gather moremore
gather information
information
Preparation
Preparation of material for thefor
of material validation visit
the validation visit

Benchmarks Benchmarks VALIDATION Visit and


Visit and
VALIDATION
VALIDATION
Direct Interview
Engineering Validation Direct Interview
Verification of the
Verification information
of the providedprovided
information and and
acquisition
acquisition of further information
of further information

ENGINEERING
ENGINEERING
ENGINEERING Process Flow
Process Flow

Break -down ofof


Break -down practices into structured
practices and
into structured and
sequential
sequential steps.
steps.

MONITORING Review
MONITORING
MONITORING Review&&Updating
Updating
Chapter 2. The IVEM
Methodology applied to the
NOVAREGIO context
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

2.1 Objectives of the NOVAREGIO Coordination Action

The NOVAREGIO project (‘Innovative Network for coordinated actions on RTD


policies at regional level’), funded under the 6th Framework Programme for
Research and Technological Development, is a Coordination Action that enhances
the interaction between regional policy makers regarding the implementation of
regional RTD and innovation policies, aiming to foster networking and provide
guidance to policy makers in RTD matters. This endeavour is achieved through
mutual learning processes initiated in seven selected regions that are, as figure 2.1
demonstrates, geographically located in the areas of competence of two major
European organisations: the CEI9 - Central European Initiative and the CPMR10 -
Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe:
▪ Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy)
▪ South Transdanubia (Hungary)
▪ Styria (Austria)
▪ Slovenia
▪ Crete (Greece)
▪ Canary Islands (Spain)
▪ Småland med öarna/West Sweden (Sweden)

9
The Central European Initiative (CEI) - www.ceinet.org - is the oldest and largest of sub-regional co-
operation initiatives that emerged in Central and Eastern Europe after the collapse of the communist
system. Founded by Austria, Italy, Hungary and Yugoslavia in 1989, as Quadrilateral co-operation, its
membership increased to 10 by 1994, to 16 by 1996 and to 17 in 2000 with the accession of the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia. Other CEI Member Countries are Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia
and Ukraine. The CEI, as an intergovernmental body is involved in the NOVAREGIO project through its
Science and Technology Network.
10
The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe (CPMR) - www.cpmr.org was founded in
Saint-Malo in 1973 on the initiative of the Region of Brittany, at the same time as the United Kingdom,
Ireland and Denmark entered the European Community. Today, the CPMR’s membership includes 154
Regions from 27 States – both members and non-members of the EU – all located in one of Europe’s
main sea basins.

16
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

Figure 2.1 – Central European Initiative (CEI) & Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions
of Europe (CPMR)

CEI CPMR

Out of 25 RTD and innovation policies implemented within these seven regions,
eleven have been validated, engineered and thus benchmarked for finally being
transferable to further regional contexts of the involved partner regions as well as to
regions lying outside the project context.
As already underlined before, there do not exist overall best regions against whom to
benchmark; instead it is crucial to select adequate and appropriate regions against
whom to benchmark. NOVAREGIO comprises regions that are all concerned with
improving their regional RTD and innovation performance, and in this regard they
all set similar foci for reaching this goal, which are amongst others the enhancement
of technology transfer activities, clustering activities and the support of
entrepreneurship within the regions.
The ultimate objective of the project is to diffuse expertise knowledge on RTD and
innovation policies’ benchmarks and to ensure a more efficient use of structural
funds in supporting RTD investment. In the long run, the project activities aim to
sustain a greater convergence towards a knowledge-based society in Europe, along
with fostering networking and providing guidance to policy makers in RTD matters.
It would be an overstatement to claim that Benchmarking represents a formula
which guarantees success, but it does represent an approach which has been
independently tried and proven by many organisations around the world.
Benchmarking is to be an action-oriented exercise and in the context of the
NOVAREGIO project the lessons learnt should lead to better-targeted policies and
knowledge based strategies. The final results should be taken into account in the
policy design as well as in the policy implementation. The precondition for reaching
this goal is the active participation of relevant stakeholders in the process, ensuring
their commitment to use and adapt the knowledge generated through the
benchmarking exercise in the future policy design.

17
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

More specifically, Benchmarking applied to NOVAREGIO can bring about two


substantial improvements at two levels:
1. At Regional level:
▪ Better understanding of the Region: exploring own innovation processes
and resources thoroughly will lead to a more comprehensive understanding
of the regional approach that is being taking in order to promote innovation
activities within the Region: what is the Region doing?, who are the best
innovation performers in the Region?, for what are funds being spent and
where are they generated?
▪ Establishment of goals: Benchmarking will enable regions to set
performance goals which are achievable and realistic in the framework of
the regional environmental conditions, by ensuring that best, feasible,
proven practices are taken up in the regional context. The philosophy
should be: “If other regions can, why can’t we?”
▪ Objective diagnosis: Benchmarking will show, following an objective and
systematic approach, how regional innovation processes can be improved,
by comparing them with those regions whose processes have been selected
as benchmarks.
2. At Project level:
▪ Stimulation of Networking: Benchmarking will stimulate direct exchange
of information and networking among the regional authorities and policy
makers participating to the project, thus enhancing their level of interaction.
▪ Learning and Management of Knowledge: Benchmarking will be a source
of learning and therefore of knowledge. This source of knowledge needs to
be widespread among the partner regions as well as further regions
involved in the two European organisations CEI and CPMR, so as to
facilitate the dissemination of best practices and finally promote “learning
from each other” within regions.
In the framework of these common improvements that are to be achieved by means
of the benchmarking exercise, other important aspects distinguishing the single
regions such as cultural differences, national traditions, funding schemes and
different working methodologies have been considered. The unifying element of the
exercise is to move the regions forward concerning their RTD and innovation
performance and to ultimately achieve greater convergence towards a knowledge-
based society in Europe.
Some major conditions should be ensured to achieve the above mentioned
objectives:
▪ The exercise goes beyond the numbers: Benchmarking is about processes
and practices as well as performance. It is only by changing and modifying
processes and practices that a region can improve in its innovation policies;
simply looking at performance will not lead to improvement.
18
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

▪ The processes and practices used to reach a better RTD and innovation
performance are identified: It is worth mentioning that whether practices
are called “best” or “good”, they are seldom the ultimate that can be
achieved, given that best practice is always contextual. It should be
therefore noted that best is a moving target in today’s world, and also
situation-specific.
▪ There is commitment from policy makers and further relevant stakeholders
and willingness to act upon the results: By learning from comparing,
regional policy makers can implement improvements in a manner that is
consistent with their regional conditions and culture. The right term is to
adapt, not necessarily to adopt. It is rare to find a process that a region can
simply transfer to its own context. Instead, regions must assimilate the good
practice/methodologies, shape them to their own environments and
circumstances, test them to make sure they work in their settings, and then
make the changes to their specific conditions.
The purpose of the benchmarking exercise is to support a new way of thinking
among the project regions that considers benchmarking as an useful tool for
incremental improvements in terms of managing innovation concerns through
implemented policies. What’s more, the results of the exercise should be accessible
and easily understandable by all stakeholders, thus the outcomes have to be
illustrated in a simplified and understandable way.

19
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

2.2 The 4 step model of the Benchmarking Methodology


applied to NOVAREGIO

The Benchmarking Practice already explained and illustrated in the previous chapter
(see section 1.4) has been tailored and applied to the NOVAREGIO context, as
illustrated in Figure 2.2. The adopted methodology follows a 4-step model
consisting in:
1. identification of the areas/processes to be benchmarked;
2. identification of the benchmarking sample;
3. streamlining of areas/processes to be benchmarked;
4. application of the IVEM Benchmarking Cycle.

1. Identification of the areas/processes to be benchmarked


The benchmarking study is focused on regional policies promoting RTD and
innovation activities. The initial set of interest areas resulted from the analysis done
during the project preparation. Originally, four main interest areas were identified on
which the analysis had to be focused on:
▪ Public and Private incentives for investments in innovative RTD;
▪ Support for the starting-up of innovative SMEs;
▪ Stimuli for the partnership between Industry and Science;
▪ Investment in Human Resources.
2. Identification of the benchmarking sample
The benchmarking partners are the seven regions that are involved in the
NOVAREGIO project and that are located within the areas of competence of two
European organisations CEI and CPMR, bringing together central eastern European
countries (CEI) and peripheral maritime regions (CPMR).
3. Streamlining of areas/processes to be benchmarked
During the first project months, partner regions elaborated templates with
information regarding regional policy makers financing and managing research in
the regions as well as the existing policy frameworks including RTD and innovation
programmes, projects and initiatives implemented in each region.
After having looked more closely at the single implemented programmes of the
partner regions it was shed light on the fact that all of the involved regions, no
matter their geographic location and different environmental conditions, follow the
same course, thus using the same inputs for developing RTD and innovation
initiatives in order to exploit structural funds for RTD most efficiently. That is why
the initially selected four interest areas were specified more precisely into the
following six so-called “hot topics”:

20
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

▪ Raising Public & Private Funds;


▪ Entrepreneurship – Start-ups;
▪ Technology Transfer;
▪ Development of Human Resources in Science & Technology;
▪ Networking – Clustering;
▪ New Product Development (NPD) – Innovation.
4. Application of the IVEM Benchmarking Cycle
The IVEM Benchmarking Cycle has been adopted to the NOVAREGIO context by
carrying out the four activities:
▪ Identification of 25 successful RTD and innovation policies
▪ Validation of 25 Good Practices and selection of 11 potential benchmarks
▪ Benchmark engineering and modelling
▪ Publication and transfer of results, monitoring
In the following sub-chapters the implementation of these four stages is described in
detail.

21
22

Figure 2.2 – Benchmarking Consulting Practice applied to NOVAREGIO

The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context


Identification of Identification of
Identification
Identification of of Regional RTDIdentification
& of
areas/business
to beprocesses
benchmarked innovation policies
to be benchmarked
to be benchmarked

Identification of the Identification of the


Identification of the 7 European regions
benchmarking sample

Streamlining of Streamlining of
Streamlining
Streamlining of of Streamlining of
areas/business 6 interest area
to beprocesses
benchmarked to be benchmarked
to be benchmarked

IDENTIFICATION
Questionnaires
Questionnaires Benchmarking
Questionnaires fact sheets
Benchmarks Benchmarks IDENTIFICATION
IDENTIFICATION Visits
Visits Visits
Direct contacts
Monitoring Identification Interviews
Interviews Interviews
Analysis
Analysis of of
practices & performance
practices & Contacts topractices
gather
indicators. 1st Selection of practices
Analysis of
1st Selection ofmore information
& performance
25 Good
performance indicators. 1st Selection of practices
Practices
Contacts to gather
indicators. more information
1st Selection
of practices Preparation of Fact sheets

Contacts to gather more


information
Benchmarks Benchmarks
Engineering Validation Preparation of material for
the validation visit

Visit and
Visit
Visitand
and Evaluation Panel
VALIDATION Direct Interview
VALIDATION
VALIDATION Direct
DirectInterview
Interview
Presentation of 25 Practices
Verification of the information acquisition
to regional of further information
representatives
acquisition
provided of further
and informationof
acquisition
Qualitative and quantitative
further information Performance indicators
11 Benchmarks selected

ENGINEERING
ENGINEERING
ENGINEERING Process Flow
Process Flow Process Flow for each
Process Flow
selected benchmark
Break -
Break-down of practices into
sequential
structured steps.
and sequential Break -
Final process flow-chart for
sequential steps.
each benchmark & approval
steps
by regional authorities

MONITORING Monitor and update the


MONITORING
MONITORING Review &&Updating
Review Updating Process Flow in terms
11 benchmarks
of implementation
-
processes & performance
indicators
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

2.2.1 Identification of 25 successful RTD and innovation policies


The first stage of the IVEM Benchmarking Cycle deals with the identification of a
first set of successfully implemented RTD and innovation policies in the seven
partner regions. The search for potential benchmarks has been an ongoing task since
the beginning of the exercise, because benchmarking is a process and it must be
continuous to be effective.
The identification process started at the Project Committee Meeting (PMC) held in
Crete in June 2006, where each project partner after consultation with regional key
stakeholders (regional authorities, regional administrations, etc.) presented five to
seven RTD and innovation programmes and projects implemented in the region.
From July until November 2006, project partners gathered additional information on
two to four of the previously presented regional programmes and projects, all lying
in the focus of the selected interest areas (“hot topics”) of NOVAREGIO. These
practices were considered to be the most interesting ones by the members of the
Strategic Steering Committee (SSC) Meeting held in Crete in June 2006 the day
after the PMC meeting, and were therefore chosen to be included into the shortlist of
the 25 Good Practices. The selected practices resulted to be the most attractive and
motivating ones in terms of their learning effects and transferability to other partner
regions.
The entire information gathering process has been performed in a structured manner
in order to ensure that all regions provided the same type of information, whenever
possible. The “information set” for each of the 25 Good Practices contains the
following elements:

23
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

Table 2.1 – Information gathered on each of the 25 Good Practices

Information set for the 25 Good Practices


1. Name of the programme
2. Region
3. Time scale
4. Rationale
5. Area of interest
6. Objectives
7. Key activities
8. Key actors
9. Funding information
10. Outcomes
11. Contact and data references

As a result, for each of the selected 25 Good Practices a fact sheet with the main
information details was elaborated, as presented in the Annex of this handbook.

2.2.2 Validation of 25 Good Practices and selection of 11 potential


benchmarks
The validation phase is the second stage of the IVEM Benchmarking Cycle. In the
framework of NOVAREGIO, validation means the examination and evaluation of
the information collected on the 25 identified Good Practices on RTD and
innovation. This phase concludes with the confirmation of those RTD and
innovation policies finally selected and considered as benchmarks.
More precisely, the validation was carried out through the involvement of 7
Regional Evaluation Panels, consisting in key actors in each of the partner regions,
who are most important for RTD promotion and innovation development, its
management and financing. In specific, these actors were chosen among:
▪ Regional representatives as e.g. regional authorities and regional
administrations;
▪ CEI or CPMR responsible in each Region;
▪ Further key persons involved in financing and/or managing RTD
programmes (Technology Parks, Research Centres, etc.).
The participation of these players was essential for the succeeding of the project
objectives. In fact, these actors are the ones that are responsible for the regions’
development towards a knowledge based society established on innovative mindsets.
Each of the 7 Regional Evaluation Panels expressed one final vote on each of the 25

24
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

Good Practices promoted by the other involved regions. Each Practice was voted
with a mark between 1 and 3, meaning:
▪ 1 = low interest
▪ 2 = medium interest, and
▪ 3 = high interest.
Furthermore, more detailed information on regional quantitative and qualitative
performance indicators for the final 25 Good Practices were collected by project
partners through regional documentations and statistical publications made available
on official websites such as EUROSTAT. Although the more detailed investigation
revealed that published indicators are not complete due to not elaborated regional
data, the eventually gathered indicators represent none the less a supporting tool and
scientific component that allow, through the interpretation of statistics, quantitative
comparisons and thus the assessment of a region’s performance in innovation and
RTD in a qualified way.
The validation of the potential benchmarks was carried out through site visits or via
e-mail/phone contact with the regional key actors involved in the Regional
Evaluation Panels, by presenting each of the 25 Good Practices to the Panels
according to the fact sheets elaborated during the identification phase.
Besides the particular interest on the regions’ side towards the transfer and adoption
of specific practices to their own contexts, the selection process of identifying out of
the validated 25 Good Practices the final potential benchmarks was based on certain
criteria established by the Project Management Committee. The following principles
were considered:
▪ each interest area (‘hot topic’) has to be covered with at least one
practice;
▪ those practices are selected who get the highest voting from the Regional
Evaluation Panels;
▪ no more than two practices can be chosen from each partner region;
▪ at best, each region should be represented in the sample in order to
maintain the geographical balance.
Each Regional Evaluation Panel, consisting of up to 7 key actors, gave in a two
months period its final vote for each of the 25 Good Practices.
Considering the above described criteria, it emerged out of the final Evaluation
Matrix that 11 RTD and innovation policies and initiatives can be considered as
benchmarks. These practices are of specific interest to the regions and their final
acceptance and approval was achieved during the SSC Meeting held in Trieste in
February 2007.
The following table 2.2 illustrates the final 11 benchmarks according to their interest
area and regional origin. These benchmarks that are engineered in the following

25
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

phase of the IVEM Benchmarking Cycle, represent the focus of the whole
benchmarking exercise and the subsequent knowledge transfer activities conducted
within the project.

Table 2.2 – The 11 selected benchmarks according to the areas of interest

Area of interest Benchmarks


Raising Public & Private Funds ▪ Pancreta Development Fund (Crete)
▪ Start up entrepreneurs (Styria)
▪ Baross Programme (South Transdanubia)
Entrepreneurship – Start-ups
▪ UNISTEP (Crete)
▪ BIC Canarias (Canary Islands)
▪ SISTER (Friuli Venezia Giulia)
Technology Transfer ▪ Innovation NetworkTM (Friuli Venezia Giulia)
▪ A Centre of Excellence (Slovenia)
Development of HR in Science & ▪ Skills Development of Qualified Employees
Technology (Styria)
▪ Health Care Technology Alliance (Småland med
Networking – Clustering
öarna/West Sweden)
New Product Development (NPD) –
▪ SMED (Småland med öarna/West Sweden)
Innovation

2.2.3 Benchmark engineering and modelling


The benchmarks’ engineering and modelling as step 3 represents the central part of
the four phases of the IVEM Benchmarking Cycle as applied to the NOVAREGIO
context. The 11 benchmarks identified and demonstrated in table 2.2 were analysed
in detail by structuring the identified practices into logical and sequential steps in
order to understand how each practice was built up. In particular this means that in
this phase the processes were described from the initial idea of implementing each of
the specific programmes, projects or initiatives in the regions until their actual
implementation and functionality. These processes were illustrated by using flow
charts that clearly show in a step-by-step manner the elements that were needed in
order to implement and realise the practices in the regions.
This break down was necessary in order to make the benchmarks viable and transfer
or adapt these successful practices to other regions. Project partner regions as well as
further potentially interested regions will then be able to work on improving their
own practices or adopt new practices in order to attain a standard equivalent to the
benchmark. Therefore, only by representing all the stages in these processes the
practices can be transferred or adapted to other contexts.

26
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

In Chapter 3, an in-depth description of each benchmark along with the clarification


of the process criticalities that are rendering each practice successful and the
illustration of the performance indicators is provided. Furthermore, to each
benchmark the appropriate process flow-chart representing the engineering process
is shown. All flow-charts received the approval of their respective regional policy
makers.

2.2.4 Publication and transfer of results, monitoring


The monitoring is the last step in the methodology. Benchmarking is a continuous
process, not a snapshot that is performed once and disregarded afterwards.
Monitoring is necessary to see how the benchmarks evolve over time.
Given the speed at which the world is moving nowadays, today’s benchmarks might
not be tomorrow’s. Therefore, one needs to keep an eye on how these practices
change and recalibrate them accordingly. Monitoring should involve looking at the
evolution of the performance indicators, by measuring on a regular basis the
performance achieved, as well as observing the process flow to detect any changes
in the steps or in the activities undertaken by regions who adopted the benchmarks
to their contexts.
As regards the project, after the benchmarks have been validated and engineered, the
outcomes are communicated and demonstrated to the whole project consortium and
regional policy makers as well as further important key actors in three seminars and
workshops, accomplished within the period June 2007 until December 2007. The
seminars and workshops are the first step for raising awareness on best practices in
RTD and innovation policy design and set the foundation of transferring the
knowledge inherent to the benchmarks into the partner regions of NOVAREGIO.
Further personnel exchanges shall support the knowledge transfer and establish a
collaborative working environment among the regions. Following a spill-over effect
these practices are to be spread into further regions interested in the take up and the
learning of the selected regional policies.
The transfer process in the project is understood as a transversal action which started
with the knowledge transfer of the methodology used for carrying out the
benchmarking exercise and the building of the process flow, done in accordance
with the relevant regional key actors responsible for implementing the practices in
the regions. The initial discussion of the 25 Good Practices and the choice of the 11
benchmarks presented a further step of the transfer process. However, the actual
knowledge transfer began at the first seminar and workshop where the benchmarks
were presented and where the consortium as well as participating policy makers and
regional innovation management actors were encouraged to reflect upon how to
improve their regional policies in order to support an productive regional innovation
development.
In this context, the present manual represents the main dissemination tool and a
support to the transfer of the project results to the regions as well as further regions

27
The IVEM Methodology applied to the NOVAREGIO context

lying outside the project scope but potentially interested in learning and taking up
successful RTD and innovation policies.

28
Chapter 3. RTD and
innovation Benchmarks
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.1 The 11 NOVAREGIO Benchmarks

Benchmarking is a process-by-process comparison and not an organisation-to-


organisation comparison. Actual improvements following benchmarking activities
arise from the consideration and observation of the processes rather than only from
the examination of the final outputs.
In order to render a practice transferable and adaptable to one’s needs, it has to be
underlined before implementing it how and why the practice has become a
successful one. This chapter deals with analysing and describing the chosen
benchmarks identified within the seven regions of NOVAREGIO and selected
during the evaluation process by regional policy makers and innovation actors from
December 2006 until February 2007.
The Strategic Steering Committee agreed on eleven best practices which resulted to
be the most useful and critical ones to support regional innovation activities
(benchmarks). Table 3.1 resumes the eleven benchmarks in the order in which they
will be presented in the following sub-chapters including their main success factors.
At first, the regions located in the CEI geographical area are illustrated,
subsequently follow the regions situated in the CPMR area. The region Friuli
Venezia Giulia as member of both organisations is presented first.

30
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Table 3.1 – The 11 selected benchmarks in detail

Benchmark Region Area of interest Success Factors

▪ Proactive working approach to


Friuli Venezia Technology PROs
SISTER
Giulia Transfer ▪ 3 alternatives for technology
exploitation

▪ Competence Centres tailored for


the needs of different local
production areas
Innovation Friuli Venezia Technology
▪ Extensive support throughout
NetworkTM Giulia Transfer entire development- and
implementation process
▪ Relationship consolidation
▪ Exhaustive Call for Proposals
preparation (six months)
▪ Project proposal preparation
Baross Gabor South Entrepreneurship
support
Programme Transdanubia – Start-ups
▪ Project proposal evaluation
through Expert Committee
(prominent innovation actors)

Development of
Skills ▪ Innovative education concept
Human
Development of
Styria Resources in ▪ Different degree of funding
Qualified
Science and according to geographical area
Employees
Technology
▪ Tailor-made approach for
different kinds of entrepreneurs
Start up Entrepreneurship
Styria ▪ Reimbursement only after project
Entrepreneurs – Start-ups
completion and presentation of
supporting documents

▪ Compulsory involvement of
research and industry / public and
private actors
Centre of Technology
Slovenia ▪ Companies have to demonstrate
Excellence Transfer
50% of co-funding; public
institutions 25% which has to
come from the private sector

31
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

▪ Initiative set up as joint effort of


four of the most important
research and technology actors in
the region
Entrepreneurship ▪ Extensive theoretical training and
UNISTEP Crete mentoring (practical)
– Start-ups
▪ Involvement of business mentors
as industrial partners and potential
investors
▪ Extensive promotional activities
▪ Combination of the founding
institutions (direct relations with
the local industry and
comprehensive market
knowledge)
Pancreta ▪ Network of Contact Points
Raising public
Development Crete (Pancreta Ventures and bank
and private funds
Fund branches spread throughout the
region)
▪ Two-step evaluation process
▪ Participation of financier to the
company’s board
▪ Business Promotion Units (BPUs)
established on 4 islands, each of
them with its own Selection
Committee
▪ Selection Committees made up of
technical experts and
Entrepreneurship representatives of the institutions
BIC Canarias Canary Islands
– Start-ups financing the BPUs
▪ BPUs addressed to companies in
the creation process AND to
already established ones (SMEs)
▪ Comprehensive dissemination and
promotion activities
▪ Main regional players involved
(government, industry and
Småland med New Product research)
SMED öarna/West Development - ▪ Broad and exhaustive marketing
Sweden Innovation activity (4 years)
▪ Stepwise working method

32
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

▪ Main regional players involved


(government, industry and
academia/research); Steering
Committee
Småland med ▪ Aggregation of the companies
Networking -
HCTA öarna/West under one umbrella (Network)
Clustering
Sweden
▪ Public/private partnerships
supported
▪ Seminars, trainings and network
meetings

In the following sub-chapters it will be highlighted why those RTD and innovation
policies are considered to be the best, thus providing suggestions and
recommendations to policy makers how to improve regional innovation
performance.
Each region is described firstly with a brief overview of its main characteristics.
Subsequently, an in-depth description of each benchmark is provided, illustrating
main conducted activities, overall objectives and the methodology according to
which each benchmark has been implemented in the regional context. Furthermore,
process criticalities that are rendering each practice successful as well as the
illustration of quantitative and qualitative performance indicators is presented.
Concerning the qualitative performance indicators in particular, as already
mentioned previously, due to not fully existing qualitative regional data it was not
feasible to indicate for all benchmarks qualitative performance indicators. Therefore,
also quantitative indicators have been taken into consideration which represent an
effective supporting tool to allow for quantitative comparisons and thus for a
meaningful assessment of the benchmarks’ performance.
Finally, each benchmark is illustrated graphically in a process flow-chart that has
been designed in cooperation with the ‘owner’ of the practice through brainstorming
on major process tasks and interviews with questions regarding quantitative and
qualitative information.

33
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.2 Friuli Venezia Giulia

The Friuli Venezia Giulia Region has an area of 7.840,13 km2 and lays between the
Alps and the Adriatic Sea, among Austria, Slovenia and the Veneto Region. The
region consists of four Provinces, whose chief towns are Trieste, the regional capital,
Udine, Pordenone and Gorizia.
Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) is one of the four Italian autonomous regions on the
base of a special statute. As a consequence, the Regional Administration is able to
adopt local laws targeted to match the local socio-economic needs. As access door to
Eastern Europe thanks to its natural geographical position, the region has always
been acknowledged the role of a strategic logistic region and nodal point for
international trade flows to and from Eastern Europe.
Besides its historical vocation to international trade, Friuli Venezia Giulia is among
the European Union’s most advanced areas thanks to its balanced industrial structure
with sectors of excellence at world level as well as due to its significant tradition in
the field of science and innovation.
Industry system
The industrial system of Friuli Venezia Giulia is characterised by a core of large
national and international enterprises, operating with full capacity and
competitiveness on the European and world markets in the production of capital
goods (steel, industrial plants, machine tools), consumer durables (household
appliances, furniture) and shipbuilding.
The system is also characterised by a diffused tissue of about 100.000 small and
medium-sized firms and a wide network of craft firms, some of which are
concentrated in integrated export-oriented areas specialised in the production of
consumer goods.
The composition of the industrial workforce is mainly based on the mechanical
industry and wood furniture. Furthermore, additional relevant sectors are transport
and agro-food.
Most SMEs are clustered in six particular industrial districts: Pordenone (mechanics
and components), Maniago (cutlery production), San Daniele (ham production),
Manzano (chair production) and Alto Livenza (furniture production) and Trieste
(coffee), with high level of export. Each of the mentioned districts is an active
promoter of innovation, and small high-tech enterprises are growing in the region as
providers of services for the more traditional sectors.

34
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

In addition, two strong research-driven clusters11 are operating in the following


sectors: biomedicine and shipbuilding.
Research, Training and Innovation
Friuli Venezia Giulia hosts a highly advanced scientific system, based on
competences and know-how in fields ranging from physics to materials science,
pharmacology, chemistry, nanotechnology, bioinformatics. As a consequence, there
are 8.9 researchers for every 1.000 inhabitants, compared with 2.9/1.000 nationally,
5.7/1.000 in the European Union, and 8.9/1.000 in the United States. These figures
reflect a deep-rooted vocation throughout the entire region for study, research and
innovation.
Friuli Venezia Giulia ranks fifth among the Italian regions endowed with greater
innovative ability12. This situation is favoured by the availability of highly qualified
human resources, motivated by a deep working culture, enriched by cutting-edge
technological clusters and innovation structures. The region has always focused on
supporting research and industry development and features an enviable quality of
life and a low unemployment rate. This factor makes the territory particularly
attractive.
Two Universities, in Trieste and Udine with branches in the two adjacent provinces
of Gorizia and Pordenone, and the International School for Advanced Studies –
ISAS, carry out high level research activities in many sectors and offer the PhD title
through particularly demanding intensive courses.
Many networked innovation structures are available in the region and among these
stands out AREA Science Park for its more than 20 years experience in the field.
AREA Science Park is recognized as the main and more experienced multi-sector
science and technology park in Italy and as a valid example of fully operative cluster
for regional innovation. AREA extends on 55 hectares surface and has more than
80.000 sqm of equipped laboratories, offices and service structures established in
two campuses on the hills overhanging Trieste, in the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region
that is part of the well known Italian North-East area.
Presently, AREA Science Park consists of 84 national and international R&D
organisations, that include public research institutions, private R&D and innovation
centres, knowledge-based companies. The personnel is over 2100 units.
AREA Science Park is a knowledge district with multi-disciplinary features; the
basic technology and business sectors are:

11
Research-driven cluster are concentrations of research organisations (public research centres,
universities, not-for-profit bodies), enterprises (large firms, SMEs), regional or local authorities (local
government, regional development agencies) and where appropriate local entities such as chambers of
commerce, savings banks and banks, operating in a particular scientific and technological domain or
economic sector.
12
Source: Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2006

35
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

▪ life sciences
▪ physics, materials and nanotechnologies
▪ electronics, informatics and communication
▪ environment and energy
AREA Science Park is managed by a national research institution, the Consorzio per
l’AREA di Ricerca Scientifica e Tecnologica di Trieste (briefly AREA), that
operates under the vigilance of the Italian Ministry of University and Research. The
AREA’s board of directors includes representatives of the regional and local
administrations, of the three regional Universities and of several scientific and
economical institutions, as well as of the local associations of labour and industry.
Networked co-operation is the strategic factor to develop advanced research at
international level and to exploit research results at a large extent; as a consequence,
AREA builds up cluster-based initiatives involving innovation stakeholders and
economic operators, such as industrial companies, science and research institutions,
education and training organizations, technology transfer and business support
structures, financial institutions.
One of the leading cluster initiatives is the TDMB - the regional Technology District
of Molecular Biomedicine – established in AREA at the end of 2003. The TDMB is
an innovative knowledge district officially endorsed by the Italian Ministry of
University and Research and focused on life sciences, where development
programmes driven by research and industry stakeholders are strongly supported
both by public and private funds and advanced value-added services and excellent
research infrastructures as well. The TDMB results from the converging and
common objectives of industry, research and finance.
The TDMB is managed by the CBM–Consortium for the Centre of Biomolecular
Medicine, a public company controlled by AREA as the main shareholder. The main
goals of the TDMB are to create a strong network of international competences, to
offer advanced research facilities to researchers and investors and to promote the
creation of hi-tech start-ups in the field of bio and nanotechnology, focusing on a
number of therapeutical areas which are all extremely relevant at world level:
oncology, vascular cardiology, neurosciences, hepatology and regenerative
medicine.

The two benchmarks identified in the region and presented in the following are both
dealing with the enhancement of technology transfer activities. While the first
illustrated benchmark, SISTER, is addressed primarily to the world of research
(technology offer), the second benchmark, Innovation NetworkTM, sustains the
improvement on the industrial side (technology demand) and thus is mainly
addressed to the enterprises located in the region, especially to the SMEs.

36
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.2.1 SISTER
The project SISTER stands for the creation of a permanent system developed by
AREA Science Park and addressed to ease the introduction of new technologies on
the market. In this regard, SISTER aims at increasing the economic value of
research results by activating projects devoted to develop their economic potential in
order to turn them into marketable intellectual property rights and/or products.
Researchers from PROs (universities and research institutions located in the region)
are supported in setting up first contacts with the world of industry, resulting finally
in the fostering of technology transfer activities through stronger relations between
academia and business.
SISTER was implemented within the period 2001 and 2005 and was funded to
100% by the regional government, the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia,
covering completely all the costs arisen through personnel and consulting activities.
The project has designed a new valorisation process for bringing those research
results to the market that are representing high potential for being applied by
industry. In this regard, SISTER staff has supported researchers by offering them a
huge service spectrum concerning technology transfer services.
Outcomes of SISTER are the valorisation of innovative technologies transferable to
enterprises, the filing of patents, the launching of new collaboration activities as well
as the starting up of entrepreneurial initiatives (spin-offs) resulted from research.

3.2.1.1 Methodology
The impulse for starting the SISTER project in Friuli Venezia Giulia gave a regional
opportunity analysis carried out by AREA Science Park which resulted in the need
of implementing a technology and know-how transfer system due to the existing
imbalance between technology offer and technology demand in the region.
The methodology followed for setting up such a system and making it functioning
successfully is illustrated in figure 3.1. Basically, SISTER can be structured in four
main phases:
▪ Establishment Liaison Office;
▪ Scouting and first documentation analysis;
▪ Validating of result performances;
▪ Planning of technology exploitation track.
In the following, these four phases are explained in detail.
Phase 1. Establishment Liaison Office
The implementation process starts with setting up the ‘SISTER Liaison Office’ at
the premises of AREA Science Park. The setting-up of the Liaison Office was
performed by co-ordinating the activities of already existing technology transfer
offices (three amongst the regional PROs) and by providing services to PROs where
37
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

no technology transfer functions were implemented. Generally speaking, the


function of a liaison office is to promote technology transfer and hence to facilitate
and favour the meeting between researchers and enterprises interested in adopting
new technologies to their industrial processes. In the specific case of SISTER, the
liaison activities sought to make available to PROs and to researchers opportunities
for exploiting their results on the market and finalising their contacts with
enterprises.
Next to the coordinating person, three full-time employees are working at the
SISTER Liaison Office, engaged with offering a wide range of services to
researchers as described in the three subsequent phases. In order to foster relations
between academia and industry and turn research results into valuable intellectual
property rights and/or products, the Liaison Office maintains a continuous
monitoring of technologies and know-how generated in the research centres of the
region.
Phase 2. Scouting and first documentation analysis
The actual service offer starts with the second phase where a thorough scouting
activity is conducted by the Liaison Office that contacts researchers and visits the
regional PROs in the aim to investigate on innovative achievements and raise
awareness on the services offered by SISTER. The scouting is an activity that has
been accomplished on a continuous basis throughout the project life of SISTER, in
the aim to support the interaction with researchers and to identify potential
applications.
The more closer contact with the researcher starts when a proposal on a new
technology is introduced to SISTER Liaison Office. In a following step, a meeting
between the researcher and the personnel of the Liaison Office takes place in which
the researcher details his research results and gets the possibility to discuss his idea
on exploiting his result on the market.
Subsequently to the meeting, the Liaison Office performs a detailed analysis on how
to exploit the innovative technology, defining a validation process based upon a
desk analysis in which the commercial context for the marketing of the result is
defined. The analysis is carried out by means of information gathered with
documents available from relevant sources related both to technological and
economic subjects. A dedicated analysis is performed on existing patents, in the aim
to assess the technological context in which results must be located and their
patentability. A further step on Intellectual Property issues is achieved by a
patentability assessment performed by technical-legal experts that provide an
evaluation on how to protect the IPR and identify the most suitable strategies for its
protection.
When the results of the previous analysis are positive, the exploitation potential of
the research result is evaluated by spotting potential target markets and identifying
the development phases necessary to conform the result to the requirements of
protectability and marketing. In this regard, a cost/benefit analysis estimates in how
far the benefits of introducing the result on the market exceed the actual costs arising
38
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

from a market launch. The phase ends with an evaluation on the opportunities to
further invest in result valorisation.
Phase 3. Validation of result performances
When all the above verifications have been successfully run, a project dossier is set
up by the Liaison Office. This dossier consists of a draft programme in which all
valorisation activities needed to introduce successfully the results into the specific
market are identified, together with an estimation of time, costs and resources
necessary for the implementation.
The project dossier is submitted to the PROs whom the researchers belongs to, for
its approval: the PROs are asked to decide if there is an interest to continue the
valorisation process and to introduce the technology to the market.
Would PROs agree on the programme, the Liaison Office performs a detailed
examination, based upon the results collected in the project dossier, of the spotted
market aiming to find the most efficient exploitation track for the research result.
So far the exploitation track has been decided, the Liaison Office launches the
planned validation activities. A first set of activities is aimed to protect the results
IPR: to this end the Liaison Office supports the required patent filings accordingly to
the results of the patentability assessment and to the defined protection strategies. A
second set of activities is aimed to assess how the result performances fit with the
selected market requirements: to this end the Liaison Office supports the required
testing asking, when possible, a third party to run the test. By this way an
independent judgement to be used as market introduction for potential users is
reached. The intermediate results of validation activities are compared with the
different market requirements, and a risk map is compiled allowing the Liaison
Office to evaluate which exploitation track shows higher potential.
Phase 4. Planning of technology exploitation track
As far as the validation results are available, the Liaison Office in strict co-operation
with the PROs, defines how the technology could be successfully exploited.
In this regard, three basic alternatives of exploiting the technology are investigated:
- the acquisition of the technology finding by companies, thus its
commercialisation;
- the setting up of a partnership in research and development; or
- the creation of a spin-off research company.
Each of these alternatives entails a coordinated series of operations and services that
provide support to PROs. For all three opportunities, the Liaison Office offers
support regarding financial and organisational questions as concerns for example
issues related to the contract management. In specific, for the first alternative
(commercialisation), potential users interested in obtaining the result are identified
and contacted as well as provided with the technical documentation. The Liaison
Office supports the preparation and the drafting of contracts and sustains the PROs
39
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

during negotiating agreements. As regards the second alternative (setting up of a


R&D partnership), potential partners interested in collaboration projects are
identified and presentations for demonstrating the technology are organised.
Furthermore, also here support is given to the preparation and the drafting of
contracts as well as regards negotiating agreements. Last but not least, the creation
of a spin-off company as third exploitation alternative is supported through the
permanent assistance throughout all the phases of the new business set-up.

3.2.1.2 Success Factors


The project SISTER shows two main features that are rendering this initiative
successful. The first success factor is the proactive approach pursued by the Liaison
Office that, besides the continuous monitoring of technology and know-how
generated in the region Friuli Venezia Giulia, accomplishes an exhaustive
valorisation activity. The Liaison Office, visits universities and research institutions
located in the region in order to establish a continuous dialogue with the researchers
and PROs’ offices. Besides raising awareness among researchers as regards SISTER
and its activities, this approach enables the easier identification of research results
and encourages researchers to present their innovative technologies and to engage
themselves in the search of the most promising way of exploiting the technologies
and turn them into marketable products.
The second success factor of SISTER can be seen in the three alternatives of
technology exploitation that are taken into consideration by the Liaison Office in all
cases when validating the exploitation opportunities. Not focusing right from the
beginning on only one utilisation possibility widens the perception on existing
opportunities and guarantees the detection of the alternative that is most appropriate
for exploiting the research result most efficiently on the market.

3.2.1.3 Performance Indicators


One qualitative performance indicator that can be mentioned here is the increase of
RTD projects in the region:
▪ 2002: 86;
▪ 2003: 160 (+ 86,05%);
▪ 2004: 195 (+ 21,88%).
It has to be noticed that this indicator can not be directly related to the SISTER
project but none the less, SISTER can be considered as one main initiative
implemented in the region FVG that supported the considerable percental increase of
RTD projects in the region.
Further quantitative performance indicators directly related to SISTER are the
following:
▪ 156 researchers have been contacted;
▪ 1.039 patentability analysis and business intelligence interventions;
40
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

▪ 337 research findings passed the second phase “Scouting and first
documentation analysis”;
▪ 184 research findings proposed for valorisation;
▪ 340 valorisation activities supporting research findings;
▪ 32 Italian patent applications;
▪ 18 international patent applications;
▪ 34 new established cooperations;
▪ 6 research spin-offs.

41
42

Figure 3.1 – SISTER process flow

RTD and innovation Benchmarks


Technology and know-how
transfer system?
Regional Imbalance Input/Output Activity Process Decision point
Opportunity TT offer
Analysis &
by AREA TT demand

Establishment Liaison Office


Establishment
SISTER Liaison Continuous technology
Office at AREA and
(Coordinator + know-how monitoring
3 persons)

Scouting and first documentation analysis Evaluation of


First Verification: Patentability & exploitation potential
Desk analysis Promising Spotting
Researcher Meeting Patent Patentability technology? target
Scouting analysis
introduces Researcher/ analysis Yes markets
(visits, phone, (experts)
technology proposal Liaison Desk
e-mail)
to Liaison Office Office analysis
Market and No Cost/benefit
Market
Technology analysis
potential
Intelligence analysis

Planning of technology Validation of result performances


exploitation track Exploitation
possible?

Creation of a No
spin-off company Patent
filing Yes
PROs interested
support in continuing?
Financial and Technology
Partnership in R&D Market to be Project Set up
organisational presentation project
support examination validated for Yes
the market No to PROs dossier
Validation of
Commercialisation exploitation
(Transfer into opportunities
the market)
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.2.2 Innovation NetworkTM


Innovation NetworkTM is an AREA Science Park initiative which was initially
foreseen to be operative throughout the period 2003 until 2005; due to its great
success though the initiative has been carried on ever since. As the project SISTER,
also Innovation NetworkTM is supported by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region. At the
start, the project was activated with AREA funds but soon after it has been financed
by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Authority with 750.000 Euros per year,
according to Art. 13 of the Regional Law No. 11/2003.
The project gave life to a stable structure of services to businesses, dedicated to
transferring to them the expertise and technology found in the world of research and
to stimulating the setting up of innovative projects. In specific, the initiative
established a Network of specialised Competence Centres for the different
production sectors of the region. Through these centres, projects dealing with
technology transfer are conducted, aimed at boosting the spreading of new
technologies at regional level and at offering to the enterprises innovation services
of added value.
Innovation NetworkTM target group are primarily small and medium-sized
enterprises since they form the greater part of the industrial picture in the target
Region. The project aims at disseminating knowledge of technological innovations
towards these key actors, consequently supporting the regional development.

3.2.2.1 Methodology
The initiative resulted from an opportunity analysis regarding the socio-economic
development of the region. The analysis revealed core production sectors of the
region with a high innovation potential. These sectors, most important for the
industrial development of the region, are wood & furniture, agro-industry, business
management, environment, molecular biomedicine, the nautical sector, plastics &
new materials, energy and metallurgy.
The implementation procedure of Innovation NetworkTM followed a schematic
approach as demonstrated in figure 3.2 and described in the following. There are
four main phases:
▪ Network set-up;
▪ Needs verification and evaluation;
▪ Project development and implementation support;
▪ Follow-up.
The phases 2 and 3 are not necessarily consecutive steps and thus, as a matter of fact
they can be accomplished at the same time. Indeed, a first verification and
evaluation of the companies’ needs has to be done before implementing a concrete
project but at the same time, the actual project development can require further
verifications which emerge only during the implementation phase. While phase 2
43
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

describes the whole range of services provided to the enterprises, phase 3 depicts the
concrete interaction between competence centre and client once a specific project
idea has been come up.

Phase 1. Network set-up


The first phase deals with building up the Network structure and thus with the
setting up of the Competence Centres in the region. Once the decision has been
made on establishing a competence centre for a specific production sector, aimed at
supporting significantly the sector’s development in the region, an institutional
partner with a strong link to the sector and decision power is searched for. Typically,
the competence centres are located in the middle of industrial clusters and are
therefore mostly represented by industrial associations and chambers of commerce
as well as technology centres that are working on tests concerning advanced
technologies for product-, process and management innovation.
AREA gets in contact with the previously identified institution of a specific
production sector, presenting the initiative and enquiring on the interest and
availability to participate. If the individualised institution is interested to become
part of the competence centre, the personnel responsible for accomplishing the work
of the centre is chosen. The staff, which belongs to AREA, is normally composed of
one or two people working as technicians and specialists in the relevant production
area. These experts undergo a specific training as regards the activities and services
to be carried out and offered by a competence centre as will be described in the
following phases. The training has a duration of about 12 months; afterwards the
experts are ready to work as a ‘technology broker’ in the competence centre.
Phase 1 finalises with an agreement between AREA and the regional partners for
setting up the competence centre, formalising the commitment made and specifying
the activities to be conducted.
All competence centres as a whole build the Innovation NetworkTM which is
coordinated by AREA Science Park. The centres have all access to the same
databases concerning research findings and activities conducted in the region and
beyond. Furthermore, AREA signed contracts with the MIT (Massachusetts Institute
of Technology) in Boston, Massachusetts, and with the Stanford Research Centre in
California in order to access their research databases.
Phase 2. Needs verification and evaluation
The task of a competence centre is essentially to support entrepreneurs in the region
with its in-house competencies, helping them develop product-, process- and
management innovations. Especially at the very beginning of the competence
centre’s establishment, the personnel of the centre takes the initiative by contacting
the sector related companies in the region and informing on the services offered by
Innovation NetworkTM. Once the information on the activities has been diffused
widely in the region, the clients themselves are getting in contact with the personnel.
After the first contact launch, the technology broker of the competence centre visits

44
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

the client at his premises for collecting further information as regards the client’s
service request.
Following the visit and based on the information gathered, the technology broker
verifies and evaluates the collected information. This first evaluation and
verification process deals with a first assessment and the studying of the companies’
innovation needs. Related to the specific request made by the client, the competence
centre offers a wide range of services, all aimed at providing the enterprise with a
reliable and independent support all the way up to the implementation of the
innovation. The services offered are:
- Technology Auditing:
Technology audits in this context are understood as ‘short term actions’ to
assess areas of expertise, technology and equipment by means of questionnaires
or direct interviews with staff members. The final aim is to evaluate the need for
innovation within the enterprise and the existing surrounding opportunities and
then to identify the most likely mechanisms or routes for exploitation of each
opportunity. Potential solutions are identified and tried to be maximised by
building on areas of strengths previously detected within the company.
Furthermore, technology audits in this context shall increase awareness and
motivate personnel in terms of being open to new ideas and starting innovative
methods for fabricating new products, introducing new processes and seeking
for new management practices.
- Information on patents, document retrieval and business intelligence:
Another important service offered by the competence centre is the provision of
ample knowledge to the client as regards his industry sector and issues linked to
innovation processes, such as patent issues and the state-of-the-art of considered
technologies. Activities that are conducted here are the retrieval of documents
of scientific, technical and industrial interest and the subsequent analysis of the
resultant information synthesised. Personalised reports on technological
scenarios are elaborated, thus providing the enterprise with a broad picture of
new possibilities and helping direct its RTD activities into promising fields.
Moreover, a monitoring service regarding competitors and their technological
innovations is provided, consequently giving on the one hand the chance to be
informed and keep step with changing environmental conditions and on the
other hand to facilitate the opportunity of concrete collaborations among
businesses.
- Planning of innovative solutions for implementing innovation projects:
The interventions made for assisting in realising an innovation project normally
take more time since the study to be undertaken is rather complex. Together
with the enterprise, innovative solutions are planned and further developed; last
but not least a prior conducted technology audit will have shed light on the
current situation of the enterprise. The assistance furthermore includes technical
and economic feasibility studies in order to assess the impact of innovation on
the company structure. It will be evaluated in how far a company has the
45
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

competencies to carry out a specific innovation project dealing with innovation


in the product-, process- or management sector.
- Support in developing research projects:
This service intends to support the enterprise in developing and refining projects
in collaboration with research institutes so to achieve original and innovative
solutions and encourage local technology transfer.
- Validation of business ideas:
This service is addressed to potential entrepreneurs who want to evaluate their
innovation ideas and business suggestions in terms of their operability and
practicability. Technical, normative, organisational and business parameters are
identified and checked in how far they will influence the success of new
business initiatives both in a positive and negative way. The single processes to
be followed in order to realise a new business idea are analysed and then
stepwise refined according to the given parameters so as to make the business
idea become a successful one.
- Sector and multi-company studies:
Besides the validation of specific project ideas regarding innovative
technologies, the competence centre addresses its services also to sector specific
analyses by examining a specific area and its progress towards new
technologies. This method supports a broader view of the state-of-the-art of
technologies belonging to different sectors and leads enterprises in the right
direction in terms of new ideas for innovations. Moreover, the conducted
studies can also cover more than one company, hence multi-company studies
that investigate the technological trends of widespread industrial relevance in
favour of several companies from the same sector. Multi-company studies in
general identify complex issues and can solve common problems by promoting
a system change.

The previously described types of interventions are the ones that are applied most
frequently. In the course of time and depending on the enterprises specific needs,
new types of interventions stimulating the innovation activity may be implemented.
The result of this second phase is the thorough evaluation of the innovation
necessities of the enterprise under study, meant to link the company’s demand with
those competencies that are able to provide suitable innovative solutions.
Phase 3. Project development and implementation support
In case the first evaluation results to be positive and the client’s idea to be a valuable
one, the further development of the project starts. At first, the technology broker
presents a first project scheme to the client, containing the results of the analysis
made. After that, technical aspects concerning the specific case are deepened with
the scientific experts identified during the previous phase. Outcome of this deeper
and more detailed analysis is the set-up of a work plan proposal presented to the
client and including issues such as costs and time spent for the idea implementation
46
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

as well as main objectives to be achieved within the enterprise. Afterwards the work
plan is verified with the client, analysing the economic availability on the client’s
side in order to implement the innovation idea successfully.
If the client agrees with the work plan and there exists the economic availability, the
implementation of the project idea starts. In this phase, the competence centre offers
an extensive implementation support to the client. Throughout the entire process the
client is supported in relating with the expert who takes care of the idea
implementation. In this regard, problems that may occur are solved and contingency
plans set up in order to guarantee still a successful project realisation. Furthermore,
at the implementation’s finalisation the client’s satisfaction is verified and it is
discussed in how far the aspired objectives are achieved.
The third phase ends with the successful implementation of the innovation project.
Phase 4. Follow-up
The last phase is dedicated to the consolidation of the relationship between the client
and the competence centre. The service offered to the client should not remain a
‘one-shot’ activity but should instead imply the beginning of a long lasting
relationship in order to carry out further technology transfer activities supporting the
enterprise’s innovation improvement and therewith also the added value brought to
the region.
In this context, each competence centre organises technical workshops addressed to
the enterprises of the sector. The workshops are aimed at keeping the enterprises up-
dated on the latest achievements made, dealing with topics, such as innovative
techniques, materials and processes existing in the sector.
Furthermore, the relationship consolidation process is maintained through periodical
contacts with the client and the verification of new opportunities for product-,
process- or management innovation as well as the client’s involvement in initiatives
and areas of interest.

3.2.2.2 Success Factors


The process flow of Innovation NetworkTM reveals different key success factors. The
first one is the creation of an innovation network itself, composed of competence
centres for different production areas. Each competence centre incorporates an
institutional partner central for the specific production sector, as for example an
industrial association or a chamber of commerce, thus the direct contact to the
sector’s companies is guaranteed. Furthermore, scientific collaborations are set up
with technology centres dealing with innovation activities concerning the various
production sectors. Consequently, the competence centres facilitate and activate
efficiently technology transfer activities in the region. Moreover, the competence
centres are collaborating among each other also if specialised per sector. This means
that they are dealing as well with transversal themes as for example the activation of
collaborations and synergies, the sharing of experiences and the circulation of new
ideas and technology diffusion amongst production sectors. Adopting this approach

47
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

means a faster and more tailored response to the innovation requests of enterprises
located in the region. In the long run, a territorial system of competitiveness and
attractiveness is built up, thus expanding the regional business system and
supporting the start-up of new entrepreneurship.
Furthermore, the straight contact with the client achieved through visits and the
extensive support provided throughout the entire development- and implementation
process constitute a further key success factor of the initiative. The client is not only
supported in structuring his project idea in a practical scheme but is also assisted in
the further step of realising his idea most efficiently and tailored to his needs. The
verification if the client has been satisfied with the work accomplished as well as the
maintenance of a continuous relation between client and competence centre
including the offering of technical workshops close the circle of service offer and set
the basis for new collaborations.

3.2.2.3 Performance Indicators


Performance indicators that demonstrate the success of the initiative are the
following:
▪ 7 Competence Centres have been established;
▪ 1217 enterprises have been contacted;
▪ 604 enterprises have been visited (50% of contacted enterprises);
▪ 333 innovation initiatives have been implemented (55% of visited
enterprises).

48
Figure 3.2 – Innovation NetworkTM process flow

RTD and innovation Benchmarks


Network set-up Innovation NetworkTM
Competence Centres’ (CC) set up
Regional Regional core Interested
Interested to to
Opportunity sectors with AREA searches AREA gets become a CC? AREA
participate? Training Agreement
Analysis innovative institutional in contact staff selection
(technology AREA/regional
by AREA potential partner of with potential Yes (1-2 technical
broker) partners
production sector partner No experts)

Coordination by AREA

Needs verification and evaluation


Evaluation and verification process
CC contacts Technology Valuable idea?
sector related broker visits Evaluation of
Feasibility Individuation of
companies client and collects Information innovation
verification / technical/scientific No
(awareness raising) information validation necessities
Service offer competences

Yes

Project implementation support


Support in
Project development and implementation support
Support client in
problem solving
relations with
& Client agrees with
expert
Contingency plan work plan and
existing economic
availability? Work plan Deepening of
Verification of Verification of Presentation of first
Handing over of Yes proposal to client technical aspects
client economic project scheme
results to client (objectives, time, with selected
satisfaction availability to the client
costs) experts
No

Discussion and verification


of objectives’ achievement
Input/Output
Follow-up
Relationship consolidation Activity
Innovation
Long lasting
project Periodical Verification Client’s involvement
Technical relationship
implemented contact of new in initiatives and Process
workshops “Client/CC”
successfully with client opportunities areas of interest
49

Decision point
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.3 South Transdanubia

The South Transdanubian Region is located in the Southern part of Hungary. In the
North, the region is bordered by Lake Balaton, in the East the river Danube serves as
a natural border, while in the South the region has a common border with Croatia.
South Transdanubia is composed of the counties Baranya, Somogy and Tolna,
inhabited by nearly 1 million people (9,8% of the total population of Hungary) and
spread over an area of 14.169 km2 (15,2% of the total territory of Hungary). The
region’s strong rural character comes across through its lack of medium sized towns
and the consequent fragmented settlement structure.
The regional economy is dominated by the agricultural sector and agro-food
industries where meat and milk processing and the production of beer, wine and
sugar play a key role. Although some large industrial companies are situated in the
Region, industry is still not as competitive as it is in the western or central regions of
Hungary. As regards the tertiary sector, tourism is of vital importance to South
Transdanubia, in particular the areas surrounding the Lake Balaton. During the last
years, the availability of business support services has been increasing throughout
the Region. In 2003, the unemployment rate was 7,9%.
The South Transdanubian Region hosts some of the most renowned Hungarian
agricultural higher education institutions. For this reason, the region offers a large
number of highly qualified human resources in this field. The regional volume of
R&D activities in the agricultural sector is the highest in the entire country.

The region elaborated, as all the other Hungarian regions, a Regional Innovation
Strategy (RIS) for the period 2004 – 2010, an innovative programming method with
a tried-and-tested approach to the promotion of innovation. The five main objectives
of this strategy are:
1. to initiate regional dialogue;
2. to support the direct involvement of all relevant organisations in shaping
innovation policy;
3. to analyse regional innovation needs and capacities;
4. to select priorities for innovation support;
5. to develop action plans and pilot projects.
In conjunction with the elaboration of the Regional Innovation Strategy of South
Transdanubia, the Regional Innovation Agency STRIA (South Transdanubian
Regional Innovation Agency) was set up as a division of the South Transdanubian
Regional Development Agency (STRDA). The Regional Innovation Strategy was
formulated by STRDA and approved jointly with the Regional Innovation Council
as well as further actors involved in regional innovation activities. STRDA, as all the
other Regional Innovation Agencies in the country, aims at supporting the

50
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

implementation of its innovation strategy within the region and at developing and
co-ordinating the regional innovation policy.
Furthermore, STRDA is the coordinator of a three-year lasting project (2005 to
2007), supported by the government and which aims at establishing and
coordinating a Regional Innovation Agency Network (RIA Network). The network
will operate as a complex, easy-to-reach system of services, guaranteeing the
support to the innovative development of SMEs, the increase of the technology
transfer capacity of universities and the development of innovation services based on
the Regional Innovation Strategy. The network is made up of prominent innovation
actors of the region: in addition to the coordinator STRDA, the two universities
providing the knowledge base and so-called technology transfer organisations are
the members. Besides the network, STRDA will also set up a regional innovation
information system and database linked to national and international innovation
databases and networks.
Regarding international cooperation in the field of innovation, the South
Transdanubia has established close collaborations with the regions Friuli Venezia
Giulia (Italy), Shannon (Ireland) and Yorkshire & Humber (United Kingdom). In
particular with the two latter regions South Transdanubia has worked together under
the framework of its Regional Innovation Strategy (RIS).

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.3.1 “Baross Gabor” Programme – Support of the innovation


developments of small and medium-sized enterprises in South
Transdanubia
The “Baross Gabor” Programme is an ongoing scheme set up in 2005 and
implemented in all seven Hungarian regions which are characterised by
underdeveloped regional innovation systems. The set up of the programme is due to
the results achieved from the RIS projects conducted in all seven regions. The RIS
project in the Region South Transdanubia was accomplished within the period 2002
and 2004 and its main goal was the elaboration of a flexible framework programme
that allows the increase of the competitiveness of South Transdanubian enterprises
through the optimisation of infrastructures and regional innovation policies.
The overall aim of the subsequently developed “Baross Gabor” Programme is to
improve the local innovation potential of the region. Although the programme has
been developed at national level, for each region a Call for Proposals has been set
up by the local Regional Innovation Agencies – in the case of the region South
Transdanubia by STRDA - and in accordance with the Regional Innovation Council
(RIGB). The content of each Call is tailored to the specific needs, priorities and
objectives of each region and is elaborated in line with the specific Regional
Innovation Strategy.
Generally, the following main themes are targeted by the Baross Gabor programme:
▪ Support for the transfer of technology and knowledge;
▪ Support for product- and service innovation;
▪ Creation of regional innovation clusters;
▪ Support for SMEs and spin-off companies;
▪ Development of R&D and innovation infrastructure.
The “Baross Gabor” Programme developed in South Transdanubia was managed by
the Regional Innovation Agency STRDA and was addressed to the small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) located in the region, consequently the specific
Call for Proposals “Baross Gabor Programme – Support of the innovation
developments of small and medium-sized enterprises in South Transdanubia” was
set up. The Regional Innovation Agency Network, started to be set up in 2005 by
STRDA, represents a main supporting tool in carrying out this programme as
regards the generation of projects in cooperation with SMEs. By supporting the
development of innovation activities within SMEs, the region expected an increase
in the competitiveness of the local businesses.
The funding of the programme has been accomplished via competitive grants.
Partly, the programme was supported by the National Research and Technology
Innovation Fund that aims at providing a stable and reliable financing for innovation
and supporting knowledge intensive companies in the entire country. Each year, the
Innovation Fund disposes at least 25% of its financial resources for regional
52
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

innovation purposes. Furthermore, the “Baross Gabor” Programme envisaged also a


mandatory contribution of the private sector.
The allocable resources available for the Call launched in 2005 have been
approximately 2 million Euros, corresponding to the decentralised part of the
Innovation Fund. Projects that were mostly supported dealt with mechanical-, metal,
electronics industry and computer science (35%), food industry and agricultural
innovation (31%) and health services (28%).

3.3.1.1 Methodology
The implementation procedure of the “Baross Gabor Programme - Support of the
innovation developments of small and medium-sized enterprises in South
Transdanubia” followed a schematic approach illustrated in figure 3.3 and described
in the following. The process flow is an attempt to model the way the Regional
Innovation Agency STRDA developed the specific Call for Proposals and managed
the implementation of the programme in the region. It is a simplified description of a
more complex process, but it is nonetheless useful to identify and bring to light the
key activities that add value to the entire process of supporting SMEs and their
innovation potential in the region, and finally making the programme successful.
The description of the “Baross Gabor Programme - Support of the innovation
developments of small and medium-sized enterprises in South Transdanubia” is
given below highlighting the three focal “moments” that add value to the process
flow:
▪ Call and Proposal Preparation;
▪ Proposal Evaluation & Funding;
▪ Implementation Support.
Phase 1. Call and Proposal Preparation
The RIS project conducted in the period from 2002 until 2004 resulted in the
elaboration of a mid-term innovation-oriented strategy (for the period until 2010),
accomplished by the Regional Innovation Council (RIGB) and STRDA, and
principally addressed to the enterprise promotion in the region South Transdanubia.
The Innovation Strategy revealed that there are six core sectors in the region whose
development regarding innovative activities has to be supported by enhancing and
promoting the competitiveness of the local SMEs who are the main industrial
players of these sectors:
- Food industry and agriculture innovation;
- Environmental industry;
- Health services;
- Textile and Leatherwear industry;
- Mechanical-, Metal- and Electronics industry;
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

- Computer science.
Furthermore, as mentioned previously, in the framework of the Innovation Strategy
the Regional Innovation Agency STRIA was set up as a division of the South
Transdanubian Regional Development Agency (STRDA).
The Regional Innovation Strategy gave the main impulse to set up a Call for
Proposals under the framework of the “Baross Gabor” Programme. Based on the
results of the Innovation Strategy, the Call set up in South Transdanubia was
addressed to sustain the development of SMEs operating in specific industry sectors
by strengthening their R&D activities, supporting the development of new
technologies and tasks related to the establishment of innovation structures and
model plants, building up public/private partnerships and developing network
cooperation. Innovation is deemed to enhance the competitiveness of companies and
by supporting innovation developments in the six listed sectors, the region expected
a high contribution to the establishment of a harmonised and structured regional
innovation system.
Once the Regional Development Council and the Regional Innovation Agency
STRIA have been agreed on the decision of implementing a Call for Proposals in the
region, the call preparation process starts. The work programme and the application
form are prepared by STRIA. The application form, set up in Hungarian language, is
similar in its structure to the Call for Proposals published within the Framework
Programme of the European Commission. The application is built up in two main
parts containing the following information:
- administrative information on the participants of the consortium and budget
request;
- project information (scientific and technological objectives; potential
impact; etc. ).
Furthermore, the funding margins are decided. The programme supported SMEs,
and the intensity of the support was at maximum 50% of the whole budget of a
project. For all identified six key sectors one Call for Proposals has been elaborated.
The RIA Network supported to a great extend the call preparation process through
the consultation and the measuring of the demand of local SMEs. The development
of the Call was a long process that took more than half a year.
After its finalisation, the Call for Proposals has been approved by the Regional
Innovation Council who announced subsequently the publication of the Call online
on its website (www.deldunantul.com) and on the website of the RIA Network
(www.ddriu.hu). According to the Hungarian rules, STRDA had to communicate the
Call through nationwide newspapers and through the regional press as well. The Call
was open for one month.
In order to encourage a high number of proposal submissions by local enterprises,
STRDA started an extensive proposal preparation support in the region, offering
the following activities:

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

- Dissemination of information through the agency’s website and flyers


circulated by RIA;
- Sectoral workshops on project development (how to set up a proposal, how
to find the right partners, how to write a winning proposal, etc.). In total,
four workshops organised by the RIA Network partners were
accomplished;
- Consultation services (proposal applicants’ direct requests to the agency
and the RIA Network).
The call and proposal preparation phase ends with the proposal submission to
STRDA by local SMEs.
Phase 2. Proposal Evaluation & Funding
After the proposals have been submitted to STRDA, a first formal professional
evaluation is accomplished by STRDA who analyses if the formal requirements of
each submitted proposal have been fulfilled, thus if all the requested information has
been provided by the applicant, if the proposal has been filled-in in all its parts and if
the proposal consequently is eligible for funding.
Once STRDA decided on the proposal’s eligibility, the proposal evaluation process
starts. The eligible proposal is assessed according to the selection criteria set by an
Expert Committee. The Expert Committee consists of representatives of
governmental and regional bodies in charge of regional development and innovation.
Only Hungarian organisations are eligible for funding, and the main selection
criteria are the following:
- the target audience are SMEs and micro enterprises, or their consortia;
- well-grounded and feasible innovative project proposal;
- specific professional value of the project;
- matching with the regional aims;
- innovativeness and sustainability;
- innovative project matter.
The Proposal Evaluation Process took one month. The Expert Committee may
accept the proposal without modifications or reject the proposal. The assessment is
subject to the approval of the Regional Innovation Council. On the basis of the
assessment, the President of the National Office for Research and Technology
decides about the final decision if the project proposal will be funded or not.
Phase 3. Implementation Support
Once the project has been retained for funding, the contract signing takes place. The
contracts were signed by the KPI, the Agency for Research Fund Management and
Research Exploitation. Major costs that are eligible for funding are:

55
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

- Labour costs (including overheads);


- Equipment;
- Training (including study trips);
- External expertise (consultants, studies, etc.);
- Other: costs of immaterial assets, patent registration.
In order to implement the funded project in the most efficient and effective way,
STRDA offers support to the innovation development. A specific feature of the
programme is that it supports innovation developments and the subsequent
implementation of the innovative developments in the region. This precondition asks
for the strong cooperation of businesses and research institutes in order to achieve
and commercialise R&D results.
The beneficiaries carrying out the project have to make reports every year which are
handled by RIA. The work of RIA is supported by external experts throughout the
entire implementation process of the project. RIA monitors the projects on a formal
way and then the external experts make a decision if they accept the report of the
beneficiaries or not. The final report includes also information on standard
indicators, demonstrating from a scientific perspective the extend to which the
project has been completed successfully. Such indicators are amongst others:
- Number of registered scientific and technical results;
- Number of new products on the market;
- Amount of further direct R&D and innovation expenditures in the project;
- Increase in gross value added to the companies;
- Number of workplaces created;
- Number of workplaces preserved;
- Number of new start-up and spin-off companies;
- Revenue generated by the utilisation of R&D results for business purposes.
Phase 3 concludes the process with the successful implemented innovation project in
the region.

3.3.1.2 Success Factors


The “Baross Gabor Programme - Support of the innovation developments of small
and medium-sized enterprises in South Transdanubia” reveals a number of activities
contributing to the success of the programme in the region.
The first success factor can be seen in the long preparation phase of setting up the
Call for Proposals of more than six months. Furthermore, the preparation was
supported by the RIA Network which is made up of prominent innovation actors in
the region. These two facts, the comprehensive Call preparation as well as the
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

involvement of the most important innovation actors in the process, sustains the
accurate preparation of a Call for Proposals that is in line with the regional
requirements and that is tailored to satisfying the needs of local SMEs.
Furthermore, the proposal preparation support accomplished by STRDA represents a
critical moment in the entire proposal preparation process. The active support of
STRDA, provided through sectoral workshops and additional consultation services,
motivates on the one hand enterprises to present a project proposal and on the other
hand increases also the quality of the submitted proposals, thus resulting finally in a
higher number of projects which comply to the requirements set in the Call and
which are therefore eligible for funding.
Last but not least, the proposal evaluation through the Expert Committee instead of
STRDA itself represents a further success factor. The suitability of the project to
contribute to the regional innovation development can be assured since the
Committee is set up of representatives of governmental and regional bodies in
charge of regional development and innovation, including therefore actors
concerned with the implementation of projects that are promoting the innovation
development of local micro enterprises or SMEs efficiently.

3.3.1.3 Performance Indicators


Out of the 56 submitted applications in 2005, 32 projects have been supported (57%)
with an average funding of ca. 60.000 Euros per project.
Some further indicators that are supporting the effectiveness of this programme are:
▪ STRDA won a price for managing the Baross Gabor programme in the
category “Supporting Enterprises” in the competition “European
Entrepreneur Award”.
▪ The programme was re-launched in September 2006. The total budget
was ca. 1,48 million Euros. In total, 40 projects have been submitted with
an overall support request of ca. 2,22 million Euros.

57
58

Figure 3.3 – Baross Gabor Programme process flow

RTD and innovation Benchmarks


Call and Proposal Preparation
Regional Core sectors > 6 months
Innovation & Implementing Call Approval by the Regional
Strategy Beneficiaries Call Preparation Process by STRIA
for Proposals? Innovation Council?

Regional Innovation Council (RIGB) Work Application


RIS project Funding No
Yes Programme Form
STRDA
No
Yes
STRIA (Regional
Innovation
Agency) Call for proposals
Regional Innovation Agency set up
Network (RIA Network) completed
- STRDA (Coordinator)
- 2 Universities
- TT organisations

Proposal Evaluation & Funding Communication Announcement


1 month through STRDA of the Call online
(newspapers, press) (RIGB, RIA Network)
Proposal Evaluation Process
through Expert Committee

SME/ Technical
Feasibility
Micro capacity
Formal eligibility
Proposal Preparation Support by STRDA
fulfilled? Formal
Proposal
Consist Innovative Sustaina professional Sectoral Information
submission to
ency ness bility Yes evaluation Consultation Workshops
STRDA Dissemination
No by STRDA services on project (website, flyers)
development

Proposal
accepted by
the Expert No
Committee?
Yes Input/Output
Implementation Support
Proposal evaluation
& assessment Activity
completed
Innovation Development Support by STRDA
Contract Innovation project
Proposal Formal Interim- Process
Proposal Signing & Implementation External implemented
approved and ex-post
Yes approved Funding support expertise successfully
by RIGB? monitoring
No with KPI
Decision point
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.4 Styria

The Region Styria is the second largest in Austria, with an area of 16.387 km2
(covering 20% of Austria) and inhabited by 1,2 million people. Styria encompasses
17 districts and 542 municipalities. The region has a number of population centres
including Leoben, Kapfenberg, Bruck/Mur, Mürzzuschlag, Liezen and the Styrian
capital Graz. The capital is the second largest city in Austria with a population of
230.000 inhabitants. In 2003, Graz was awarded the ‘European Capital of Culture’.
Styria is characterised by a long industrial tradition, based on its coal and mineral
natural resources as well as forestry and water. Today, the region is characterised by
three existing fields of strength which are:
▪ Automotive Industry/mobility;
▪ Wood/paper;
▪ Materials.
Potential strengths that the region has identified for the future are:
▪ Energy and environmental technology/Renewable energy;
▪ Human technology;
▪ Creative industries;
▪ Food technology;
▪ Nano/Micro technologies;
▪ Simulation/Mathematical modelling;
▪ Engineering/Plant construction;
▪ TIME (Telecommunication, Information technologies, New Media,
Electronic).
Economic Development Situation
The company size structure in the region in recent years has moved towards a higher
number of smaller firms. Currently, there are 40.221 companies located in the region
with 430.000 employees. 95% of these companies are small and medium-sized
enterprises.
There is a good supply of education and training facilities in Styria. The region
disposes of five universities, two technical colleges and 18 competence centres
which aim to improve the competitiveness of enterprises through strategic co-
operation between the science and industry sectors. The high R&D rate is giving
evidence to this fact: in 2004, the rate, calculated on the basis of the gross regional
product (GRP), was 3.55% and therewith above country average which was 2.21%
in 2004.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Within the universities, considerable recent growth and spin-off potential is evident
in the area of synthetics and materials. A number of technology and new firm
formation centres have been created as part of the regional renewal effort, offering a
range of services from administrative support through to technology transfer and
consultancy.
Regarding its relation with foreign markets, especially with South East Europe,
Styria augmented its export volume in 2005 to 12.5 billion, representing an increase
of 20.5% compared to the previous year 2004.

The main promoter of regional development in the Region Styria is the Styrian
Business Promotion Agency (SFG, Steirische Wirtschaftsförderung). SFG is an
independent service enterprise, majority-owned by the Province of Styria, that aims
with its activities to improve the overall local conditions of the regional industries
and make a contribution to the structural improvement and the economic growth of
businesses that have their headquarters located in Styria as well as of disadvantaged
regions.
SFG offers a variety of services to its customers who are primarily businesses
currently in their foundation phase as well as existing businesses and business
cooperations. However, the services are also offered to public bodies, natural
persons and legal entities and further legal subjects whose activities are suitable for
making a valuable contribution to the achievement of the region’s economic
objectives.
Independently from the type of business and the industry branch, SFG offers to its
clientele extensive advice on funding possibilities, the preparation of information,
contacts and cooperation possibilities according to the type of business and industry
branch. Furthermore, the Agency offers monetary support for the realisation of
projects in the following fields:
▪ Human resources;
▪ Research & development;
▪ Knowledge and technology transfer;
▪ Networks;
▪ Internationalisation;
▪ Equity generation;
▪ Business foundation;
▪ Integral business development;
▪ Business related services;
▪ Innovative investments;
▪ Infrastructure.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Half of the funding of qualification measures for businesses with headquarters in the
Structural Funds Objective 2 Area is co-financed with subsidies from the European
Social Fund (ESF).

The region revealed two policies considered as benchmarks. The first illustrated
benchmark is addressed to improving the expertise knowledge of employees in the
region, while the second benchmark deals with supporting the entrepreneurial
activities.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.4.1 Skills Development of Qualified Employees


In view of the challenges coming up for businesses caused by the accelerated
globalisation process and its broader economic relationships, the increase of
competition as well as the elevated legal and technical complexity, the requirements
and expectations both to entrepreneurs and employees grow steadily to the same
extent. This is especially the case for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that
have to adapt their know-how and qualification to the quickly changing economic
conditions in order to meet the rising expectations of their clients.
In this regard, permanent training and a high level of qualification are very
important ingredients to realise ambitious corporate visions and business objectives.
Considering that technological innovation impulses take place in ever shorter
distances and patterns of work organisation change as well as the kinds of jobs, a
continuous advanced vocational training is necessary. Advanced training and the
capacity to adapt ones own qualification to different contexts are becoming more
than ever important and therefore have to be applied as preventive measures for job
protection and sustainable competitiveness.
Taking the above said into consideration, the Styrian Business Promotion Agency
SFG set up the action programme “Skills Development of Qualified Employees” for
the time period 2000 until 2006. The programme supports an efficient and goal-
oriented training which helps strengthen competitiveness of the local companies and
the competences of their staff. In specific, the skills level of the qualified employees,
key employees and executives employed in enterprises shall be further raised and
broadened by providing financial assistance for high-quality continuing training
schemes that are adapted to the needs of the individual enterprise. Special regard is
given to the qualification needs of entrepreneurial newcomers and individuals who
are taking over a business by supporting them already before initiating their actual
entrepreneurial career as well as during the start-up phase.

3.4.1.1 Methodology
A regional need analysis conducted by SFG revealed that there exist problems as
regards the satisfactory training of qualified employees working in the enterprises
located in the region. This circumstance is caused by the kind of training offered,
meaning that its nature is not always matched to the supply of suitable jobs in the
regional labour market.
Based on these findings, SFG decided to implement the present programme in order
to support training schemes that are better adapted to the specific needs of the
qualified employees and the enterprises. The implementation and the execution of
the programme follows a relatively simple scheme composed of three consecutive
phases as described in the following (see figure 3.4):
▪ Programme Preparation;
▪ Programme implementation;

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

▪ Funding request & Project implementation.


Phase 1. Programme Preparation
The set up of the programme starts with the elaboration of the action programme and
the application form designed by the SFG team.
The action programme includes various information such as details on the
programme beneficiaries, the sectors eligible for funding, the geographical area
covered as well as the maximum project volume financed.
Beneficiaries of the programme are natural persons or legal entities as well as
partnerships according to private and commercial law and which possess the
required trading licence or any other relevant permission. Furthermore, also persons
who are still in the planning phase of building up their own businesses are eligible
for funding. In conclusion, the beneficiaries of the programme may be:
▪ Manufacturing enterprises in the field of industry and commerce;
▪ Innovation oriented business-to-business or inter-regionally operating
enterprises of the service industry;
▪ Information and communication technology companies;
provided that
▪ their headquarters or establishment for which financial assistance is
applied for is situated in Styria and that the training participants are
permanently employed at the company’s location in Styria, and that
▪ they are categorised as micro, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
according to the recommendation of the European Commission of May
6th, 2003 which regards the definition of micro- small and medium-sized
businesses (Official Journal L 124 of May 20, 2003).
The training measures funded through the programme are addressed to qualified
employees, key employees and executives as well as to the entrepreneurs
themselves.
In particular, funded are projects with qualification measures especially in the areas
Business Management, Engineering, Computer Applications and Foreign Languages
that are contributing to the increase and the diffusion of a superior qualification level
of the qualified employees, key employees and executives. Furthermore, the
measures have to be directly linked to the current or future activity of the training
participant within the business.
Not eligible for financial assistance within the framework of this programme are
companies operating in the fields of tourism and leisure, temporary staff agencies
and enterprises in which the public sector participates directly or indirectly with 25
% or more. Furthermore, SFG reserves the right to exclude also other sectors from
the programme. In addition, companies are not eligible for support if they fulfil the
prerequisites for a business reorganisation process according to the

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Unternehmensreorganisationsgesetz (Business Reorganisation Law), i.e. significant


and progressive deterioration of the equity quota, insolvency, prerequisites for an
opening of insolvency proceedings, or if an insolvency proceeding is pending.
What is more, the qualification projects eligible for funding must include innovative
education concepts, originated from the qualification needs of the training
participant and essentially different from the offer existing on the education market.
The visit of standard courses, seminars and the simple deepening of already existing
qualifications as well as training on new products or measures that are not going
beyond the conventional internal education measures (such as introductive training
for new employees, “breaking-in” courses for certain machinery) cannot be funded.
In contrast, innovative qualification projects are promoted that are going beyond the
usual individual operational education activities of businesses. In this regard, the
planned education activities can comprise general or specific qualification measures:
▪ General education: A general education includes learning components
that are not applicable exclusively or mainly at the present or future job
of the employee. It is connected to the general functional manner of the
businesses and procures qualifications that are largely transferable to
other businesses or working areas.
▪ Specific education: A specific education includes learning components
that are applicable directly and mainly at the present or future job of the
employee. It is connected to the specific activity of the business. The
transferability of such educations to other businesses or working areas is
extremely low.
Regarding the costs within the framework of this programme, eligible for funding
are all external costs linked to the skills development of qualified employees, key
employees and executives. One condition is that the qualification measures must
include at least 30 units of 45 minutes each and project costs have to be at least EUR
800 respectively. Cost that are not considered eligible are:
▪ internal personnel costs;
▪ travel costs as well as skills development costs which incurred before
submitting the grant application form;
▪ costs for trainings that are not directly connected to the work activity of
the trainee.
The eligible project costs per training participant amount to a maximum of EUR
30.000 for the whole duration of the programme.
As regards the geographical area, the aid intensity for enterprises located in the
New Objective 2 and Phasing Out area amounts to:
▪ 70 % for general training, and
▪ 40 % for special training.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

For enterprises situated in the New Objective 2 area half of the grant is co-
financed by the ESF.
Enterprises that are instead located in Greater Graz are granted an aid intensity of:
▪ 35 % for general training, and
▪ 20 % for special training.

The application form is divided in two main parts. While the first part includes
general data of the company, the second part is addressed to information on the
specific project, thus on the training measures that will be accomplished.
Information on the training participants and their degree of qualification have to be
provided as well as a qualification concept elaborated for the specific qualification
project, expounding the qualification deficit as well as the planned education
measures, their necessities and the subsequent benefits resulting for the participants
and the enterprise. In detail, the following points have to be highlighted in the
concept:
▪ Description of the project on the basis of the existing situation of the
involved businesses;
▪ Objectives and strategies of the project;
▪ Action plan/education activities/education institutions;
▪ Description of the expected benefits for the employees, the businesses
and the region.

Furthermore, institutions and centres providing the training courses must


demonstrate that they are qualified to offer such courses. They must show evidence
of their teaching staff’s professional skills by enclosing appropriate documents, i.e.
CVs, institution profiles etc. to the application form.

Phase 2. Programme Implementation


Once the action programme and the application form have been elaborated, both
documents are presented for approval to the Regional Council. At the same time, a
Contact Point is set up at the SFG premises, acting as an expert regarding the
programme, who disseminates information on the initiative through the organisation
of info days and by providing consultation services to interested parties. In this
context, a brochure with information on the programme constitutes an effective
supporting tool.
After the approval of the programme set up through the regional council,
information on the initiative is published online on the SFG homepage.
The second phase finishes with the availability of the programme and the complete
accessibility of all necessary information and documents online as well as at the
SFG premises.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Phase 3. Funding request & Project implementation


The requests for funding training measures are sent to the Contact Point at the SFG.
Applications can be submitted directly by the enterprise, using the module available
online or can be submitted through the training institution itself, authorised by the
enterprise.
After the training proposal submission the evaluation process starts in which the
Contact Point verifies if the application responds to the criteria established in the
action programme and if the application form has been filled-in correctly in all its
sections, including the description of the realisation concept.
If the established requirements are fulfilled, the SFG decides if the proposal is
qualified for funding or not. As mentioned previously, the decision depends, besides
the fulfilment of the common requirements, above all on the degree of
innovativeness of the training measures as well as on the degree to which such
trainings finally contribute to the regional development, considering also the
industrial sector the proposal is dealing with.
If the SFG decides in favour of the applicant, a funding contract is signed between
SFG and the enterprise asking for the grant. Once the agreement on the funding has
been made, the training implementation takes place. All qualified employees, key
employees and executives who have been nominated by their company as well as
entrepreneurs may take advantage of the training measures. As said before, at least
30 units of 45 minutes each have to be accomplished.
After training completion, all training participants are required to submit their
participation certificates and if requested further corresponding documents to the
Contact Point who subsequently evaluates the documents handed in. If the
certificates and supporting documents are satisfactory the granted amount is paid, in
general in one single payment, to the applicant and the training project can be
considered as successfully completed.

3.4.1.2 Success Factors


One main quality characteristic of the programme “Skills Development for Qualified
Employees” is the underlying innovative education concept that is requested in all
eligible applications. The training has to be of high quality and goal-oriented as well
as adapted to the specific needs of the enterprise, meaning also that the training
measures have to be directly linked to the current or future activity of the training
participant within the enterprise. Furthermore, an institutional profile of the training
institution has to be provided, showing the specific qualification of the institution in
the field. Last but not least, the training is rather exhaustive with 30 units of 45
minutes each.
The established conditions demonstrate the sophisticated approach of the
programme. Establishing high level requirements in the action programme
guarantees the accomplishment of high quality trainings that contribute to lift up the

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

qualification level of employees and consequently also supports the realisation of


ambitious business objectives.
Another characteristic of the programme is the extent to which funding aid is
provided related to the geographical area within the region. Enterprises that are
located in new objective 2 and phasing out areas receive higher funding than
companies located in Graz, the capital of Styria. This approach considers the greater
support that enterprises located in the more disadvantaged areas need in order to
move forward and contribute to an economic stability in the region.

3.4.1.3 Performance Indicators


Some indicators that demonstrate the efficiency of the programme in the region are
the following:
▪ Since the year 2000, 2.815 projects have been funded through the
programme.
▪ 93% of the qualification projects (3.043 in total in Styria), have been
funded through this specific programme (note: the total amount of
funding for all 3.043 projects is EUR 16.582.879, including an ESF-
European Social Fund contribution of EUR 7.167.954).

67
68

Figure 3.4 – Skills Development of Qualified Employees process flow

RTD and innovation Benchmarks


Programme
Qualification implementation!
Regional
deficits
Need Input/Output Activity Process Decision point
of
Analysis
employees

Programme Preparation Programme Implementation


Action Programme set up

Beneficiaries Sectors Location


Action
Programme Publication Action programme
Approval by
Project Project online &
Eligibility Regional
type volume on SFG Application form
Council
homepage available

Application Form set up


Contact
General Project Training Point
company data data participants at SFG
Application
Form
Formal Definitions/ Qualification Infodays
obligation Glossary concept Programme brochure

Funding request & Project implementation


Project
Enterprise Requirements
Project Proposal
completed? fulfilled?
successfully Submission to Evaluation
Payment to Contact Point
completed Assignee process No
No Yes enterprise
(Training
institution) Yes
Project
results’ Qualified for
evaluation funding? Funding
Signing decision
Project documentation Project Yes by SFG
Funding of funding
to Contact Point implementation No
agreement contract
(Certificate) (Training minimum:
30 units à 45 min.)
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.4.2 Start-up Entrepreneurs


As stated in the introduction of the Styrian region, the Styrian Business Promotion
Agency, SFG, aims at providing substantial support to start-ups and early-stage
businesses that contribute through their economic and performance potential to the
boost of the Styrian economy and to the creation of new employment opportunities.
For this reason, increasing the number of start-ups in Styria is at the centre of SFG’s
activities.
In particular, the aim of the action programme “Start-up Entrepreneurs”,
implemented by SFG in the period 2000 until 2006, is to provide support to a new
establishment or the starting-up of an activity contributing to a fundamental change
in product management or production. In this context, especially projects improving
the potential fields of strengths the region has identified for the future, are supported.
Clients are individuals who intend to set up their business or who have started a new
business for the first time in the last three years. As concerns public limited
companies this criterion must apply to the majority of the equity holders, in the case
of partnerships to the majority of the partners.

3.4.2.1 Methodology
The methodology underlying to the implementation and the working process of this
action programme is quite similar to the action programme “Skills Development of
Qualified Employees” explained previously in section 3.4.1. The graphical
presentation of the action programme “Start-up entrepreneurs” is illustrated in figure
3.5. As in the case of the first Styrian benchmark, also this benchmark’s process
flow is structured in the three phases:
▪ Programme Preparation;
▪ Programme implementation;
▪ Funding request & Project implementation.
The regional need analysis conducted by SFG disclosed a lack of new
entrepreneurial initiatives in the sectors identified as areas of strengths for boosting
the economic development in the region. Based on this perception, SFG decided to
set up the action programme as presented in the following.
Phase 1. Programme Preparation
Phase 1 deals with setting up the action programme and the application form
prepared by SFG.
The action programme contains information such as who are the beneficiaries of the
programme, what are the eligible projects and costs and to what extent is the
financing provided.
As concerns the beneficiaries, there are three different types of start-up
entrepreneurs within the target group of the programme:
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

▪ the business start-up entrepreneur:


sets a business for the first time in the field of trade and industry such as
commercial manufacturing enterprises, craft enterprises, trading
companies or other service enterprises, etc.
▪ the innovative start-up entrepreneur:
sets up a business for the first time in innovative, technology-oriented and
other promising fields and/or introduces products and services that
feature substantial improvements or innovations compared to the
competitors in the respective region.
▪ the innovative start-up entrepreneur of large-scale enterprises:
an innovative start-up entrepreneur who makes major investments (from
EUR 77.777 upwards) in fixed assets.
Individuals taking over a business are given the same status as business start-up
entrepreneurs and are granted access to funding as well. Into this category do fall
also persons who possess a trading licence prior to the application – and
consequently persons who had already been self-employed –provided that these
persons accept the entire risk when taking over a business and pursue no other
occupation.
Eligible costs are identifiable as specific costs directly linked to and necessary for
carrying out the project. These costs may fall into the following categories:
▪ Consulting services;
▪ Plant and machinery;
▪ Office equipment and furniture;
▪ Construction costs (up to 25% of the total of the above mentioned eligible
costs).
The economic efficiency must be demonstrated through supporting documents.
Moreover, applicants must show accordance with the principles of sound financial
management, compliance with the relevant regulations and evidence of the
professional competencies and qualifications required to complete the proposed
project.
The funding intensity differs according to the type of services requested, as follows:
▪ Grant for consulting services for integrated business-take over plans:
50% of the external costs for a qualified consultant, up to a maximum of
EUR 5.555 for preparing and supporting the take-over process of an
innovative enterprise.
▪ Grant for consulting services for integrated business plans:
50% of the external costs for a qualified consultant, up to a maximum of
EUR 3.333 for drawing up an integrated business plan as well as for
coaching services in the course of the start-up phase and based on the
business plan.
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

▪ Grant for consulting services for integrated marketing plans:


50% of the external costs for a qualified consultant, up to a maximum of
EUR 4.444 for drawing up an integrated marketing plan as well as for
coaching services in the course of the implementation of the marketing
plan.
▪ Grant for consulting services for technology and innovation plans:
50% of the external costs for a qualified consultant, up to a maximum of
EUR 6.666 for drawing up a technology and innovation plan, e.g. costs
for consulting services linked to the development of new products and/or
services, feasibility studies.
Furthermore, a so-called Start-up Bonus is designed as a grant in order to cover a
part of the costs directly incurred in the course of setting up the business.
Applications for this bonus must be submitted within six months after the start-up of
an enterprise.
The Start-up bonus differs according to the type of start-up entrepreneur:
▪ Start-up bonus for business start-up entrepreneurs:
In addition to the 7% bonus made available by Austria Wirtschaftsservice
GmbH SFG, a special Styrian bonus of 5% is granted to business start-up
entrepreneurs on the basis of the guidelines of the Austria
Wirtschaftsservice GmbH. In order to apply for this bonus, business start-
up entrepreneurs must submit a copy of their application form for the 7%
bonus to SFG.
In total, up to a maximum of 15% of the eligible project costs is granted.
The maximum ceiling is EUR 11.111.
▪ Start-up bonus for innovative start-up entrepreneurs:
Up to a maximum of 50% of the eligible project costs is granted. The
maximum ceiling is EUR 22.222.
▪ Start-up bonus for innovative start-up entrepreneurs of large-scale
enterprises:
Up to a maximum of 37.4% of the eligible project costs is granted. The
maximum ceiling is EUR 33.333.
If in conjunction with the project disabled persons are employed, as laid down in the
Disabled Employment Act (Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz – BeinstG), a bonus
ranging from 1 to 3 percentage points may be granted. The percentage granted
depends on whether the enterprise fulfils or exceeds its quota of disabled persons
that must be employed, i.e. 1% bonus if the quota is not fulfilled, 2% bonus if the
quota is fulfilled and 3% bonus if the quota is exceeded.
If a disabled person, as laid down in the Disabled Employment Act starts up a
business, a bonus of 4% may be granted.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

The application form is, as in the case of the first benchmark, divided into the two
parts general data of the company and information on the specific project. In total,
there exist three application forms tailored to the following project types:
▪ Business start-up project;
▪ Consulting project;
▪ Investment project.
All three application forms are made up of a first part asking for general information
of the company. The second part differs according to the project type. While all
three application forms comprise information requests in terms of the start-up
project (project title, project location, project duration, basic description of the
project, estimation of arising costs), the application form addressed to consulting
projects requires also information on the consulting services foreseen and the related
expenses. The application form of conducting an investment project asks for
information on the market situation existing before starting the start-up as well as
information on the target groups and the strategies followed for reaching those
groups.
Phase 2. Programme Implementation
After the elaboration of the action programme and the three application forms, the
documents are presented for approval to the Regional Council. A Contact point
established at the SFG premises and functioning as expert of the programme, is
available for information requests coming from interested parties. At the same time,
information on the programme is disseminated through info days as well as by
means of a programme brochure.
Once the action programme including the application forms have been approved by
the regional council, detailed information on the programme is published on the
SFG homepage.
The second phase terminates with the availability of the full information set on the
programme, accessible on the SFG homepage and including all its relevant forms to
be downloadable.
Phase 3. Funding request & Project implementation
The proposal submission to the Contact point at SFG is effected either through the
start-up itself or through a assignee represented for example by a financial institution
or a consultancy firm.
After the submission, the proposal evaluation process starts in which the Contact
Point examines the provided documents in detail, by analysing the underlying
financial issues in terms of the economic efficiency and the sound financial
management of the start-up as well as technical issues related to the professional
competencies in order to carry out the envisaged endeavour.
In case of positive evaluation results, SFG decides on the funding. Before
determining the type and amount of financing, other funding possibilities are taken
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

into consideration. In particular, funding opportunities available through the Austria


Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (Austrian economic service corporation) are considered.
The accumulation of different funding sources is possible, however the maximum
permissible funding cash value in the framework of the European Competition Law
has to be respected.
If the project proposal is qualified for funding, a funding contract is signed between
SFG and the start-up. Subsequently, the actual project implementation takes place
and the business or innovative start-up entrepreneur begins its activity.
After the project’s conclusion the start-up entrepreneur has to demonstrate a report
on expenditure of funds which is checked and evaluated by the Contact Point
together with the relevant supporting documents also provided by the start-up
entrepreneur. In case of positive results, the entrepreneur receives the payment of the
grant, generally in one single amount.

3.4.2.2 Success Factors


One feature contributing to the success of the programme “Start-up Entrepreneur” is
the tailor-made approach provided for different kinds of start-up entrepreneurs. The
programme distinguishes if the entrepreneur sets up a business in the field of trade
and industry or if the business start-up deals rather with more sophisticated and so
with innovative technology-oriented fields. The innovative start-up entrepreneur gets
the highest funding for making use of consulting services, also with regard to the
funding received through the Start-up Bonus.
This specific characteristic holds up the mission of the programme which is to
support particularly start-ups that are contributing to a fundamental change in
product management or production, a circumstance that is usually achieved through
the implementation of innovative technologies and applications.
Furthermore, the funding amount is paid only after the project’s completion and not
prior to the implementation or in between. This approach is a further aspect that
guarantees the correct and effective project execution, bringing fruitful results and
thus supporting the entrepreneurial performance of start-ups in the region.

3.4.2.3 Performance Indicators


The programme “Start-up Entrepreneurs” discloses its successful adoption in the
region by means of the following indicators:
▪ Per year, approximately 500 projects are supported.
▪ Number of business start-ups in the region:
o 2000: 3.286;
o 2001: 3.781;
o 2002: 3.779;
o 2003: 3.746;
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

o 2004: 3.844.
As regards the second indicator, it has to be underlined that the numbers provided
cannot be related only to the implementation of the programme; however it can be
stated certainly that the programme significantly contributed to the creation of
business start-ups in the region, considering also the high number of projects that are
supported every year.

74
Figure 3.5 – Start-up Entrepreneurs process flow

RTD and innovation Benchmarks


Increase of
entrepreneurship?
Regional Lack of
Need new Input/Output Activity Process Decision point
Analysis entrepreneurs

Programme Preparation Programme Implementation


Action Programme set up

Eligible Eligible
Beneficiaries
projects costs
Action
Programme Publication Action programme
Financing Approval by
Subsidiarity/ Further terms online &
character & Regional
accumulation & conditions on SFG Application forms
-intensity Council
homepage available

Application Forms set up Application


Form Business Contact
Business Start-up project Point
Consulting Investment
Start-up at SFG
project project Application
project
Form Consulting
project Infodays
Company Project Formal Definitions/
data data obligation Glossary Application Programme brochure
Form Investment
project

Funding request & Project implementation Evaluation process


Requirements
Project Enterprise Economic Professional fulfilled?
successfully Proposal
completed?
Project efficiency competencies No
successfully Submission to
Payment to Contact Point
completed Assignee Sound Compliance
No Yes enterprise Yes
financial with
(Consulting firm,
management regulations
Financial
Checking of institution)
supporting Qualified for
documents funding? Funding
decision
Signing
Proof of appliance Yes by SFG
Funding of funding
to Contact Point Project No
agreement contract
(supporting documents) implementation
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.5 Slovenia

Slovenia is located in Central Europe, where four major European geographic


landscapes meet: the Alps, the Dinaric area, the Pannonian plain and the
Mediterranean. It borders Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Italy. The region is one of
the most water-rich countries in Europe. Over a half of its surface area is covered by
forests. 8% of the territory is under environmental protection.
According to the population census of 2005, Slovenia’s population counts a little
above 2 million over an area of 20.273 km2. The country is divided into 12 statistical
regions and 193 municipal communities. The largest cities are Ljubljana (capital),
Maribor and Celje. Ljubljana, which is home to the head offices of one third of all
Slovenian enterprises, has the strongest economic and financial potential in the
country.
The main industrial sectors in Slovenia are the automotive, tool, transport and wood
industries. The ICT and pharmaceutical sectors are emerging. Tourism is an
important economic activity. With the exception of Malta and Cyprus, Slovenia has
the largest percentage of foreign tourists among the new EU member states.
Industry traditionally plays a predominant role in the Slovenian economy, but is now
losing some of its importance, while the Service Sector is growing. Services stand
for approximately 61.5% of the national GDP, Industry 30%, Construction 5.5% and
Agriculture 3%. The unemployment rate in 2004 was 6.3%.
In the 1990s, Slovenia underwent huge system changes, which included
privatisation, liberalisation of the market, macroeconomic stabilisation, associate
membership in the EU, and in May 2004 full EU membership. The Slovenian
economy has gradually adopted the structure of a developed economic market, but
the percentage of innovative companies is still below the EU average.
The most important R&D and innovation actors in Slovenia are the technology parks
in Ljubljana, Maribor, Koper and Sezana; the Public Agency of the Republic of
Slovenia for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investments; the Slovenian
Entrepreneurship Fund; the Technology Agency of Slovenia; the National Agency
for Development with 12 Regional Development Agencies; Universities of
Ljubljana, Maribor and Primorska; the Institute Jozef Stefan; and the Institute for
Economic Research.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.5.1 Centre of Excellence


A Centre of Excellence brings together people from the scientific-research
environment and the economy environment, aimed at improving the Slovenian
innovatory system and therewith the innovation activities in the frame of different
research-technology focused projects.
Generally speaking, the programme intends with its activities to reach the Lisbon
Strategy and the Barcelona objectives through the implementation of innovative
projects based on the transfer of knowledge. In the long run, the international
competitiveness of the Slovenian economy should be enhanced together with a
notable increase of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The programme was run by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and
Technology (MVZT) in cooperation with the Ministry of the Economy for three
years throughout the period 2004 until 2006, and was funded through financial
sources from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). In total, around 15
million Euros were made available for the programme. The financing period for the
confirmed projects goes until 2008.
The established Centres of Excellence are addressed to strengthen the capability of
transferring and commanding new technologies as well as to develop innovative
technologies in priority areas of research and technological progress, which are in
particular:
▪ Telecommunication technology;
▪ New and advanced materials;
▪ Biotechnology;
▪ Pharmacy;
▪ Technology for the stability of the economy (e.g. environmental
technologies);
▪ Leading edge technologies in process control and measurement.

3.5.1.1 Methodology
The motivation for implementing the Centre of Excellence programme resulted from
a regional analysis bringing to light the innovation deficit existing among the main
regional actors and the related shortfall in technology transfer activities. Basically,
the implementation process, as demonstrated in figure 3.6, is structured in three
parts:
▪ Programme preparation;
▪ Proposal evaluation;
▪ Centre of Excellence implementation.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Phase 1. Programme preparation


The programme was set up as a competitive approach, thus a Call for Proposals
needed to be launched that aimed at creating the right environment for establishing
consortia and setting up projects supporting the sectors chosen as priority areas for
research and technological progress.
The first step for putting the Centre of Excellence programme into practice was the
elaboration of the work programme and the application form, both designed by the
Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology.
The work programme provides a general description of the Centre of Excellence and
its functionality, thus including details on main activities to be conducted and
objectives to be achieved. Technical and financial criteria are laid down as well as
criteria according to which the presented projects are evaluated, plus the funding
possibilities and maximum duration.
The programme in general is divided into research and infrastructure projects. This
means that each Centre of Excellence firstly has to apply for carrying out at least one
research project; afterwards more funding can be requested for infrastructure
projects, related to the area in which the prior research activities have been carried
out.
Regarding technical criteria, at least three partners have to apply for a Centre of
Excellence project. The consortium has to comprise obligatorily at least one
company. Furthermore academic institutions are involved. The supporting investor
of the project has to be a public institute which fulfils the conditions to perform
research activities. This public research institution is usually also the coordinator of
the project. Typically, the partnership in a Centre of Excellence encloses more than
ten partners, and quite often the ratio between academic institutes and companies is
1:1 or 1:2.
Partners working together are obliged to realise the following operative aims in the
field of knowledge and technology transfer: new products, new technologies, new
patent/s, new jobs, etc.
Within a Centre of Excellence one big project or at most six different projects may
be financed, all of them have to cover the topic to which the Centre is addressed.
The research that is to be done within the Centre can be carried out through the
submission of one project where all consortium members are involved, or by more
than one project. In the latter case, not necessarily all the partners have to participate
to each single project, but in the sum of all the presented projects all the partners
need to be engaged.
As concerns financial criteria, the programme includes the following restrictions,
distinguished in the financing of research projects and infrastructure projects:
- Research projects
o Companies involved receive 50% of co-financial share from structural
funds. The other 50% have to be provided by themselves.
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

o Public institutions as research centres and universities get 75% of co-


financial share from structural funds. The remaining 25% have to be
supplied through own financial resources and here, it is necessary that
the 25% are co-financed only by companies, preferably by the
companies that are partners in the consortium.
- Infrastructure projects
o The infrastructure projects are covered to 100% by structural funds.
Note that these projects fund only public institutes, companies are not
eligible for being funded. Companies involved in the Centre participate
to these projects only indirectly by making use of the techniques and
further infrastructural related equipments acquired within the projects.
The funding is provided by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and
Technology in cooperation with the Ministry for Economy. The financial sources are
coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Nevertheless, the
Centre of Excellence has to cover all the arising costs to 100% and the costs are
reimbursed once a year by the MVZT. The maximum duration of a Centre of
Excellence is three years.
Finally, the work programme includes information on the evaluation criteria
according to which the submitted projects are evaluated. Issues, such as the
consortium constellation (public/private and research/industry) are considered as
well as the innovative approach of the project idea, the research that is to be carried
out and the benefits resulting for the region as a whole.
The application form is divided into different parts and asks for the provision of the
following information:
▪ Presentation of the Coordinator and the Consortium;
▪ Presentation of the investment project including activities to be carried
out;
▪ Financial resources available for the aspired investment;
▪ Organisational structure for implementing the project;
▪ Contributions of the project to the objectives of the National
Development Plan as well as further important contributions;
▪ Expected results;
▪ Financial estimation (budget breakdown);
▪ Implementation and evaluation of desired results.
Once the work programme and the application form have been elaborated, they are
approved by the MVZT. Subsequently, a Contact Point, in the function as expert of
the programme, is established at the MVZT and the announcement of the Call for
Proposals is made online on the Ministry’s homepage. The work programme as well
as the application form with main instructions is published; furthermore a contract
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

template is made available, providing information on legal issues that have to be


regarded once a project has been retained for funding. This first preparatory phase
ends with the full availability of the complete information set on the Call for
Proposal online.
Phase 2. Proposal evaluation
The proposal evaluation phase begins with the submission of the project idea to the
Contact Point at the Ministry (MVZT). Afterwards, the evaluation process starts in
which the proposal is assessed according to the criteria set up in the work
programme. The project has to involve industrial and scientific actors with a
research institution as coordinator, so as to demonstrate that the aspired research
activities will be effectively put into practice. Furthermore, the involvement of at
least one company confirms the interest on industrial side to exploit the research
results on the market, thus contributing successfully to technology transfer activities
in the region. Innovative aspects of the proposal concerning leading edge
technologies as well as the specific area are evaluated, taking into consideration
regional needs and objectives to be achieved in the future.
In case the presented project proposal results after its detailed analysis to be in line
with the requirements for setting up a valuable and operative Centre of Excellence,
the decision on the funding is taken by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science
and Technology. If the proposal gets retained for funding, a contract is signed
between the coordinator and the Ministry, in the form as it is presented as template
on the website of the Ministry. Once the funding agreement has been made, the
Centre of Excellence can start its work. Besides the financial contribution of at least
50% from the companies’ side and 25% from the public institutes’ side (provided in
turn by companies), the Centre of Excellence is funded through the ERDF, and the
reimbursement to the consortium is provided once a year when the project
coordinator applies for compensation of the arisen costs.
Phase 3. Centre of Excellence implementation
After the Ministry’s decision to finance the project proposal, the work among the
consortium members starts. The main actors cover industrial and scientific players
with the public research institution as coordinating body. The coordinator is
responsible for the overall project management during the entire duration of the
project which is usually up to three years. Furthermore, at the coordinator’s premises
a Secretariat is set up which is the main contact point for all the parties involved in
the Centre of Excellence as well as further parties interested in the Centre’s
activities. A website of the Centre, providing information on its main activities and
members, is created in order to exchange easily information among the Centre’s
members, and to raise awareness and disseminate information to external
communities.
Once a year, the consortium has to report to the MVZT on the development of the
centre’s activities and the achievements made. In this regard, a content report and a
financial report are prepared, giving an overview on the Centre’s performance and
the costs arisen from the conducted activities.
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.5.1.2 Success Factors


On the basis of the Centre of Excellence programme, the government expects an
increase in the international competitiveness of the Slovenian economy and the
growth of the Slovenian’s GDP. In fact, the established Centres of Excellence
provide an important contribution to a superior innovation performance in the
region. Reason for that are the specific requirements underlying for establishing a
Centre of Excellence and which support networking activities among the main
regional innovation actors. The compulsory involvement of both public and private
actors enhances the interaction among the main regional stakeholders which is
essential for carrying out technology transfer activities and hence contributing to the
regional development.
Furthermore, the coordinating body within the research institution improves once
more the commitment of performing research, and the straight relation with the
company/ies within the Centre supports research activities that are directly linked to
the industry needs.
Another important feature of the programme is that the companies involved have to
demonstrate 50% of co-funding in relation to the entire funding request.
Furthermore, 25% of the funding provided for the public institutions has to come
from the private sector, not necessarily but preferably from the companies involved
in the Centre of Excellence. This procedure guarantees that the involved companies
are really committed to participate in the centre’s activities and to adopt the research
results on the market since they get not 100% funded through the structural funds
but have to activate other resources.

3.5.1.3 Performance Indicators


Until today, 10 Centres of Excellence have been established through which have
been achieved the following results:
▪ Intensively knowledge transfer into products and technologies with high-
added value;
▪ Increase in applied research investment concerning the priority areas of
technological development and research;
▪ Strengthening of research and industry co-operation and the realisation of
a higher education level of employees in companies.

81
82

Figure 3.6 – Centre of Excellence process flow

RTD and innovation Benchmarks


Programme
implementation!
Improvement
Regional
of the innovation Input/Output Activity Process Decision point
analysis
system

Programme preparation
Work programme set up

Programme Technical Financial


description criteria criteria
Work
Programme
Contact
Evaluation
Funding Duration Point at
criteria
MVZT
Approval by Call for proposals
MVZT available
Application form set up
Publication
Consortium Financial Implementation online on MVZT
presentation resources plan homepage
Application
Form Announcement
Expected Benefits for Evaluation Application form +
results the region of results instructions
Contract template

Centre of Excellence implementation Proposal evaluation

Coordinator Proposal
Academic Signing
Company/ies (public research Funding submission to
institution/s funding
institution) agreement Contact Point
contract

ERDF

Secretariat Project Yes


Website
set-up management Qualified Evaluation
for funding? No process
Eligible for
Project/s execution & reporting to the MVZT
Funding funding?
decision
3 years Yes
by MVZT No
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.6 Crete

The region of Crete, the largest island in Greece, has a population representing the
5.5% of Greece (Census 2001). The island is considered as one of the most
advanced regions in the country, although it lacks significantly in terms of its
infrastructure. Nowadays, Crete is one of the few Greek regions that exceeds the
80% level of the EU25 average GDP per capital, bypassed only by the regions
related to the metropolitan area of Athens (Attiki and Sterea Ellada) and the highly
touristy developed region of Notio Aigaio.
The main activities of the island are undertaken in the Service Sector, which
employs more than 62% of the total workforce and produces the 78% of the regional
GDP (GRP). On the other hand, as regards the Agriculture Sector there has been
noted a decline in terms of employment and the proportion of the GRP, although the
sector tends to turn its activities to higher margins and quality products (e.g. organic
products). The Industrial Sector has been constantly developing during the last few
years and is mainly concentrated in low-to-medium technology activities.
RTD and innovation
RTD and innovation policies are centrally designed by the Government and thus the
Regional Authorities have limited power and abilities to design and implement
policies according to the regional needs and capabilities. The total expenditure of
RTD in Greece is approximately 0.6% of the total GDP. Although there is no
official data for the region of Crete for the last few years, the 1998 record gives a
proportion of 0.9% of the GRP. In 2001, the combination of the Government sector
and the Higher Education Sector gave a 0.88% of GRP expenditure for Crete, as
compared with the 0.64% of all sectors in Greece. This higher performance is due to
the large concentration of academic and research institutions on the island
established during the last 25 years. Crete concentrates the 18% of the expenditure
allocated to public research centres and the 8% of the expenditures to the higher
education institutes in Greece. However, even the higher degree of RTD effort in
Crete in comparison with the rest of the Greek regions is significant lower than the
average European level and much lower than the Barcelona Strategy of 3% of GDP
spending in RTD, of which 2/3rds will be from the private sector.
The main reason for the under-investment in RTD in Crete and in Greece in general
is that the private sector’s investment is negligible. RTD private investment is less
than 0.2% of the GDP in Greece (of which only 0.66% is invested in the region of
Crete), a factor that does not allow much optimism for reaching the Barcelona
targets in 2010. The low performance of the private sector results in a low
production of innovation output (e.g. very few patent applications are originated
from Crete).
Additionally, the private sector is not active to promote life-long learning activities
in order to renew skills of the employees. The connection between business and
research world is weak and as a result technology transfer activities appear to be
problematic. The main technology transfer effort is generated through technology
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

dealers who promote their products to the various enterprises that are active in Crete.
This, however, does not promote innovation and the firms are not able to reach
world-class level since they continuously lack behind the state of the art of the
technological and organisational developments.
Economy
Crete’s economy, although if based on traditional sectors such as tourism,
construction, food and beverages, transportation and agriculture, is active and is
growing fast. The rates of employment are high while the unemployment rate is
lower than the national average. The region attracts an increasing number of
immigrants and there has been noticed a higher proportion of working women
during the last decade.
The population and the economic activities are more intense in the Northern cities of
the island and especially in Heraklion. The universities, research centres and
scientific institutes are based mainly at Heraklion and less at Chania and
Rethymnon. These institutes, among which the University of Crete (established in
1977), the Technical University of Crete (established in 1984) and the Foundation
for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH, established in 1983), have
integrated infrastructures and carry out high quality research, thus creating a very
high concentration of RTD and innovation activities compared to the objective 1
regions of the EU.
However, this advantage of a high accumulation of research institutions in the
region, is not translated into business activities in the areas where research is taking
place, due to several factors, amongst those the following:
▪ the lack of central strategic planning on innovation policy;
▪ the practical non-existence of private funding for R&D and innovation;
▪ the lack of entrepreneurial culture in the scientific community; the lack of
venture capitals and risk funds;
▪ the very low foreign investment; and
▪ the limited connection between public research and private sectors.

The climate, life style and the geographical position of Crete attracts highly educated
people from all over Europe to live at the island, but these people usually are not
economically active (e.g. retired). If an increased proportion of young highly skilled
persons from Europe decided to place their activities and their investment in Crete,
then the entrepreneurial culture may change and push the local activities to new
directions. Additionally, the increase of environmental concern has created a new
area of economic activity, around sustainable development and renewable energy
sources. Hence, together with the traditional economic activities this sector could be
considered as the next potential source of economic growth for the region.

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3.6.1 University Students Entrepreneurship Programme – UNISTEP


The UNISTEP initiative is a pilot action with a 2-years duration and implemented
within the period January 2004 until December 2005. The programme was financed
with 400.000 Euros by the European Commission and the Greek Government
through the Regional Innovation Programme “Crete Innovative Region (CRINNO)
2000-2006. The programme is a joint effort of the Technical University of Crete
(TUC), the University of Crete (UoC), the Foundation of Research and Technology
Hellas (FORTH) and its associated Science and Technology Park of Crete (STEP-
C).
UNISTEP aims at counteracting the brain drain existing in the region. Currently,
only 35% of the region’s graduates stay in Crete and with the help of the programme
the region intends to create a positive environment for cultivating entrepreneurship
among university students. In specific, the action focuses at promoting the creativity
and entrepreneurship of TUC and UoC students while exploiting the knowledge of
academic personnel and the research infrastructures. The programme includes the
creation of an appropriate lab type environment where groups of students or post–
graduate students can work for creating, developing and testing a prototype based on
their idea, and which could be the basis for the development of a new product or
service leading to a new technology based enterprise.

3.6.1.1 Methodology
The implementation process of UNISTEP is illustrated graphically in figure 3.7. The
motivation to set up this programme was based on the Regional Innovation
Programme CRINNO which tends to support through its sub-programmes the
development of the regional economy based on knowledge and technology
innovation and aims furthermore to create a regional identity and an environment of
continuous improvement. UNISTEP represents one of its 13 sub-programmes.
The functioning of UNISTEP can be structured in three main phases plus a
horizontal activity:
▪ Framework set-up;
▪ Proposal submission & evaluation;
▪ Programme implementation;
▪ Promotional activities & awareness raising.
“Promotional activities & awareness raising” is a horizontal activity that goes
through the entire programme duration. However, in order to simplify matters, this
activity is described in the end.
The CRINNO programme, implemented throughout the period 2000 to 2006,
recognised as one main regional need the improvement of entrepreneurial activities
in the scientific community, leading finally to a superior innovation performance in
the region. That is why it was decided to use a bottom-up approach and to tackle the
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

problem at the base when potential future entrepreneurs are still in their learning
phase.
Phase 1. Framework set-up
The UNISTEP programme initiated with establishing the institutional and thematic
framework, set up by the main programme promoters, the University of Crete
(UoC), the Technical University of Crete (TUC) and FORTH in conjunction with
the Science and Technology Park STEP-C.
As first step a Steering Committee was nominated whose members were selected
among key persons of the two Universities, FORTH and STEP-C. The Steering
Committee has to be understood as the central part of the programme, maintained
throughout the entire programme duration and designer of the main programme
activities and principles.
Key activities and criteria of the UNISTEP programme are:
▪ The two Universities and FORTH provide access to the use of large and
expensive laboratory equipment (under the supervision and direction of
academic personnel), necessary for the successful development and
testing of prototypes, while STEP-C offers space for the placement of
created enterprises.
▪ Training of the University students taking part in the programme. Four
training modules are offered: Introduction to Entrepreneurship,
Entrepreneur and the Legal Environment, Developing a Business Plan,
and Financing of a New Venture.
▪ Creation of a Network of Mentors, built up of successful entrepreneurs as
well as professors from the universities;
▪ Budget:
o 45.000 Euros spent for the training of students,
o 335.000 Euros for the ‘Incubator of Ideas’ where students are
collaborating with the laboratories of the universities,
o 20.000 Euros for the Network of Mentors involved in the
programme;
o Maximum amount provided for funding for each student is 6.000
Euros.
Along with the creation of the Steering Committee, three Contact Points were
established at the two universities (UC, TUC) and at STEP-C, available for student
requests and responsible for disseminating information on the initiative among the
students. Each Contact Point disposes of a database of students interested in
participating to the programme as well as of a pool of contacts of mentors and
professors available for participating to the initiative by carrying out activities, such

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

as the collaboration with students on their ideas, offering them assistance in turning
their ideas into valuable products and the accomplishment of training modules.
Phase 2. Proposal submission & evaluation
Point of departure of the second phase is that the student or the group of students
contact one of the three Contact Points, presenting an idea regarding the
development of an innovative product or a novel service offer. The idea in its basic
essentials is discussed with the Contact Point. If after the first discussion and
information exchange the idea seems to be realisable and promising and thus its
content should be deepened and elaborated further on, the student/group of students
deliver a full project proposal to the Contact Point. The proposal includes more
comprehensive information on the idea, such as technical issues and its
innovativeness, main objectives to be achieved and benefits to be reached as well as
the potential time frame needed for the idea’s realisation.
The Contact Point conducts a thorough evaluation process of the presented idea,
discussing the proposal also with the mentors and professors as experts of the
specific thematic. If the idea after the detailed analysis is still considered to be
interesting and innovative, the student/group of students are selected to be included
into the programme.
Phase 3. Programme implementation
The first activity, once the students are involved in the UNISTEP programme, is the
attendance of an extensive training programme that prepares the students for their
future potential entrepreneurial activity. The training as said before deals with
administrative and entrepreneurial issues. In total, four courses of approximately 100
hours are held and the training is compulsory for the students involved in the
programme.
Once the training has been finalised, the actual idea implementation takes place.
UNISTEP provides implementation support to the students over a period of eight
months. In these months, administrative and technological assistance is given as
regards for example the handling of contractual issues also with regard to
intellectual property rights as well as the managing of technical aspects. In this
context, mentors involved as experts in the programme are available for continuous
mentoring, supporting the students in developing their prototypes and helping them
develop their business plans, to seek additional funding and establish start-up
companies. Moreover, facilities at the two universities are provided, such as
laboratories and equipment to be used in order to process the ideas and transform
them into promising products.
During the implementation phase, students have to hand in mid-term reports as well
as a final report demonstrating the course of evolution, including information on
targets achieved and problems met.
Once the project idea has been fully implemented, a prototype has been generated
which will be used as example, basis or standard for being elaborated further on and
exploited on the market. Each of the three involved institutions (UC, TUC,
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

FORTH/STEP-C) dispose of an exhibition area where the developed prototypes are


presented.
Horizontal activity: Promotional activities & awareness raising
UNISTEP carried out extensive promotional activities throughout the entire
programme duration, aimed at raising awareness on the programme and its benefits
for students. Besides information on the programme available on the websites of the
University of Crete and the Technical University of Crete, UNISTEP has also its
own programme brochure. A first promotional brochure has been created and
afterwards a final brochure presenting the results of UNISTEP, including
information on the developed prototypes. Furthermore, local newspapers and the
radio were used as main information channels through which the programme
launched invitations for submitting proposals and attending trainings.
In addition, once a year two conferences were presenting the programme results
through product exhibitions. One conference was held in Heraklion, the capital of
Crete, the other one in Chania. The conferences were particularly addressed to
organisations, entrepreneurs and business angels as well as local and national
authorities in order to spread information on the results, to demonstrate that the
programme yields fruit and thus to receive funding support. Furthermore, incubators
interested in the developed prototypes were invited.
A further main activity specifically addressed to the awareness raising is the
accomplishment of trainings already explained in the previous phase. Besides the
mandatory training for students directly involved in the programme, UNISTEP
invited also further students to participate to the training modules. The training
sessions for all students are free of charge.

3.6.1.2 Success Factors


The UNISTEP programme gives evidence to a set of activities that demonstrate why
this initiative has been so successful in the region of Crete.
First of all, the joint effort of four of the most important research and technology
actors in the region (the University of Crete, the Technical University of Crete and
STEP-C associated with FORTH, the largest research organisation in Greece)
provides a workable approach for the effective exploitation of research results on the
market. The establishment of a Contact Point at each of the involved institutions
offers a direct contact to students in order to get information on the programme, to
discuss their ideas and to receive direct help as concerns the development of their
ideas into proposals worth for being supported by the programme. Furthermore, the
Contact Points circulate the ideas among each other in order to be always updated on
the initiatives currently in process, thus supporting the technology diffusion. This
practice also allows to bring together students with similar ideas and facilitates the
setting up of working groups who are dealing with the same product idea and
together may reach their goals more easily.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Another important feature of the programme is the extensive training as compulsory


activity for the students involved in the programme. The formal teaching of
entrepreneurship is necessary before going further into detail with the idea
elaboration and the prototype development. Students get a feeling for the
entrepreneurial activity and are even more motivated to start up a business and
exploit their idea on the market.
Furthermore, the mentoring of the students during the development of their ideas as
well as after the programme’s end is very supportive in terms of realising the
envisaged endeavour and turning finally the ideas into prototypes. The involvement
of business mentors as industrial partners and potential investors constitutes an
important aspect for the realisation of the idea and for setting up first contacts with
the industrial world and facilitates the exploitation of the results on the market.
Last but not least, the extensive promotional activities conducted within the
programme are a further feature that demonstrates the success of the programme.
Besides the programme brochure, main regional media channels as newspapers and
the radio are used for continuously disseminating information on the initiative and
motivating students to participate. The conferences held each year illustrate the
effectiveness of UNISTEP by presenting the results to a wide community. The
trainings which are compulsory to UNISTEP students are also open to students not
involved in the programme. This approach supports the reaching of a wide number
of students who get the chance to learn about entrepreneurial issues, a fact that
supports the diffusion of the entrepreneurial spirit among students in the region.

3.6.1.3 Performance Indicators


The implementation of the pilot action UNISTEP was the first attempt to cultivate
an entrepreneurial culture in the region of Crete and to support university students to
test their business ideas in a Greek peripheral region.
UNISTEP proved that the “Incubator of Ideas” helps transform new ideas into
products. In the following some indicators are presented that prove this statement:
▪ Training of 80 students as regards the starting-up of new enterprises;
▪ Creation of 10 workplaces at partner premises for students to develop
their ideas;
▪ Creation of 20 prototype products.
Furthermore, the programme has been submitted again as “UNISTEP Plus” and is
currently running under the “Regional Innovation Pole” project of Crete, in
cooperation with the technological Education Institute of Crete (TEI of Crete). The
programme now provides 9.000 Euros for the development of each prototype. The
Technical University of Crete and FORTH have already selected 3 and 2 student
proposals respectively that have started to be developed. The University of Crete and
TEI of Crete will make the selection of proposals to be funded until the end of
September 2007.

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90

Figure 3.7 – University Students Entrepreneurship Programme – UNISTEP process flow

RTD and innovation Benchmarks


Knowledge enrichment of
students in the Region?
Lack of new
CRINNO Input/Output
enterprises and Activity Database Process Decision point
Strategy
product
(2000-2006)
development Yes

Framework set-up Contact Point Pool of


Pool of
at UoC mentors/
students
professors
Steering Committee (SC) set-up
Agreement on Selection & Announce- Contact Point
sub-programme Key criteria Pool of
Pool of
Voting of ment at TUC mentors/
UNISTEP of UNISTEP students
Members SC Members professors

University of Crete (UoC)


Technical University of Crete (TUC) Contact Point
at STEP-C Pool of Pool of
FORTH students
mentors/
Step-C prof. (FORTH) (FORTH)

Promotional activities & Proposal submission & evaluation


awareness raising
Valuable idea? Idea IDEA
discussion (Student/
with Group of
No students)
Website Contact Point
Brochure UNISTEP
(UC, TUC) Yes

Proposal Idea worth to be


SC submission elaborated further on?
Newspapers Radio to Evaluation/
Contact Point Selection No
Yes
Conference
Training (open Programme implementation
to all students;
(once a year;
4 courses; Implementation Support Training
product exhibition)
ca. 100 hours) (compulsory;
Prototype Reports Network Assistance
Facilities 4 courses;
(mid-term/ of (adm. & ca. 100 hours)
provision
final) Mentors techn.)
8 months
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.6.2 Pancreta Development Fund


The Pancreta Development Fund is the first Regional Venture Capital Fund in
Greece. The fund creates a funding source for high-risk entrepreneurial endeavours,
completing the financial instruments on the island.
The fund is a joint initiative set up by the Pancreta Cooperative Bank, the New
Economy Development Fund SA (NEDF), the 4 Chambers of Commerce and
Industry and the University of Crete. NEDF is a “Fund of Funds”, created to co-
finance the formation of venture capital funds. NEDF acts as a minority investor and
the venture capital funds it invests in are managed by the private sector. The overall
management of the Pancreta Development Fund is mandated to Pancreta Ventures.
The main goal of the Pancreta Development Fund is to provide venture capital
financing to SMEs as well as to new initiatives set up by entrepreneurs located in the
region, in order to increase the funding in the start-up or expansion phase of small to
medium technologically oriented ventures and to enhance their competitiveness in
fields such as new technologies, innovative products, alternative tourism and further
activities regarding the innovative and efficient exploitation of the main local
resources. By offering venture capital to the regional industrial players, investment
proposals shall be attracted to the region that otherwise would be proposed to other
areas.

3.6.2.1 Methodology
The decision to create the Pancreta Development Fund in the region of Crete was
based on the perception that, although the region disposes of a high innovation
potential due to its large concentration of academic and research institutions, there
does still exist a considerable lack of entrepreneurial culture in the scientific
community. Moreover, it was observed that there does almost not exist private
funding for RTD and innovation, especially because of the shortfall of venture
capitals and risk funds. Consequently, financial support had to be provided for
boosting innovation in the region.
The set up of the fund and its mode of operation are illustrated in figure 3.8,
consisting in the following three phases:
▪ Set-up Pancreta Development Fund;
▪ Idea presentation & Investment screening;
▪ Business idea implementation.
In the following, these three phases are described in detail.
Phase 1. Set-up Pancreta Development Fund
The first measure that has been undertaken to launch the fund was the creation of
Pancreta Ventures, founded by the Pancreta Cooperative Bank, the 4 Chambers of
Commerce and Industry, and the University of Crete. Pancreta Ventures, located
within the premises of the Pancreta Cooperative Bank, is the managing company of
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

the Pancreta Development Fund and responsible for the implementation of the
financing programme. An Investment Committee has been set up, consisting of five
representatives of the founding institutions of Pancreta Ventures and acting as the
responsible body for making decisions on investment proposals and their funding.
Once the institutional framework has been created, the financing programme is set
up, defining the main beneficiaries of the programme, its funding and further
essential key criteria.
The target group benefiting from the funding and which the programme is addressed
to are mainly small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) as defined by the EU, but
also start-up businesses. Furthermore, the applicant should be from Greece and
should invest in the region of Crete.
The funding is provided to 50% by NEDF and to 50% by the Pancreta Cooperative
Bank. The total budget amounts to 6.000.000 Euros. The loans that are given to the
beneficiaries have a duration of up to five years, the interest to be paid depends on
the business and on the collaterals. The maximum amount of granted funding is 1.2
million Euros per request; the lower limit is open. As regards investments, open and
silent investments can be made with a capital of up to 1.2 million Euros; also in this
case the lower limit is open.
As key criteria the programme includes the following considerations:
▪ Priority investments comprise: new technologies, high innovative ideas,
alternative service regarding tourism (as the region’s main income
source); the fund does not invest in sectors such as shipbuilding, coal or
steel industry, automobile manufacturers or parts, real estate, gambling,
or firms that have suspended their operations;
▪ The applicant has to show a strong and committed leadership as regards
its managerial capabilities as well as a promising market potential
concerning the product or service it should be invested in;
▪ The beneficiary must take at least half of the risk involved. Additionally,
if requested, the applicant must offer a security and is personally
responsible (negotiable from case to case);
▪ Personal presentation and commitment are mandatory in order for the
investment to take place.
Once the programme has been defined in all its particulars, Pancreta Ventures can
start its operation. In order to raise awareness on the programme and spread
information, Contact Points are established at the bank branches of the Pancreta
Cooperative Bank throughout Crete, acting as first contact for funding and
investment requests.
Phase 1 completes with the successful foundation of the fund. Throughout the entire
programme duration, promotional activities, such as the organisation of open
meetings and the publication of articles and press releases, are undertaken in order to

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

encourage the exploitation of the fund’s possibilities by the regional industrial


players.
Phase 2. Idea presentation & Investment screening
An SME or start-up company that wants to make use of venture capital financing
gets in touch with Pancreta Ventures, either directly or through one of the bank
branches of the Pancreta Cooperative Bank. A meeting takes place in which the
funding requester presents a detailed business plan, illustrating the business idea
including information on the legal and financial status of the company. In the
majority of cases, a meeting between the Contact Point and the funding requester
takes place; in some cases the first business presentation can also occur via e-mail.
After the business plan has been presented, the Contact Point of Pancreta Venture
accomplishes a thoroughly investment screening of the proposed idea. The decision
on the funding is made by examining first of all the market situation, thus analysing
if the idea to be invested in is feasible and in how far it seems to be a profitable
business opportunity. Furthermore, it is investigated on the capabilities of the
requesting company, analysing its legal situation and the financial returns in order to
find out if the company disposes of securities and if it will be able to take over a part
of the risk.
In the case of a positive screening, resulting in the assumption that the presented
business plan promises an attractive investment opportunity, an investment
memorandum between the funding requester, thus the SME or start-up company,
and Pancreta Ventures is signed. In a further step, the Contact Point presents an
investment proposal, outlining the main results of the investment screening, to the
Investment Committee who subsequently accomplishes a detailed funding
evaluation based on the information provided. The evaluation process takes
normally from three to six months.
The second phase ends with the final decision of the Committee on the funding
eligibility of the presented business idea through the Pancreta Development Fund.
Phase 3. Business idea implementation
As already mentioned previously, the funding is provided to 50% by the New
Economy Development Fund (NEDF) and to 50% by the Pancreta Cooperative
Bank.
During the implementation of the business idea NEDF participates to the company’s
board in order to be involved in decision making processes and to assure that the
money is spent efficiently. Furthermore, the company’s financial figures are
monitored on a monthly bases, and a report illustrating the evolution of the business
implementation and its progression has to be presented to Pancreta Ventures every
three months. By the end of the implementation phase a final report has to be
delivered to Pancreta Ventures, giving an overview on the single steps conducted
throughout the implementation phase and the results achieved as well as the costs
arisen and a record on how the granted money has been spent.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Outcome of the last phase is the successful implementation of the business idea.

3.6.2.2 Success Factors


The Pancreta Development Fund supports the financial reforming of the local
businesses, in particular SMEs and start-up companies, offering them through the
equity provision a further financing opportunity that supports especially high
technology investments. What is more, one of the main advantages of equity is that
the investment is long term and does not require capital repayments in the short or
medium term. Consequently, it can provide a capital base for the future growth and
development of the company, including an increasing debt capacity. Through the
operation of the venture capital fund the local economic growth should be stimulated
by contributing to the creation of new jobs and surplus values for the investors.
One main success factor lies in the combination of the founding institutions.
Especially the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Pancreta Cooperative
Bank have direct relations with the local enterprises and dispose of a good
knowledge of the local market which makes not only the fund raising easier but also
the discovery of appreciable investment opportunities. The participation of NEDF to
the programme contributes to the concentration of the required capital.
Furthermore, the establishment of Contact Points at the branches of the Pancreta
Bank creates a network of programme representatives who supports the spreading of
information throughout the region and facilitates furthermore the first approach for
funding requesters. Nevertheless, it has to be stated that the promotional activities
still have to be intensified as Pancreta Venture is the first in the region to provide
such as service.
The investment screening and the subsequent funding evaluation process represent a
further key feature of the programme. This two-step evaluation ensures the
comprehensive and accurate examination of the presented business plan, and thus
minimises the risk of an unprofitable investment where the financier could loose the
invested money.
Last but not least, the participation of NEDF to the company’s board represents a
further security for the correct handling of the provided money. The participation to
the board allows NEDF to have a say in the management of the company, and
therefore to influence its future strategic direction.

3.6.2.3 Performance Indicators


The Pancreta Development Fund operates less than two years, thus qualitative
performance indicators demonstrating scientifically the success of the programme
throughout the years are not available yet. However, the response of the industrial
community to apply for venture capital funding is reasonably high.
▪ The selection rate is about 2 to 3 funded proposals per 100 cases
examined.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

▪ During the period of twelve months, 5 open meetings were organised for
promoting the programme (at an average one meeting each two to three
months). Furthermore, the programme was promoted through the
participation to 7 further meetings and through the publication of articles
and press releases.

95
96

Figure 3.8 – Pancreta Development Fund process flow

RTD and innovation Benchmarks


Financial support for
High innovation potential boosting innovation
Regional in the Region
analysis BUT Input/Output Activity Process Decision point
Lack of high risk investment

Contact Point
Pancreta
Set-up Pancreta Development Fund Ventures

Programme definition
Establishment
Establishment Bank Venture Capital
Investment
Pancreta Target Key branch Fund set up
Committee Funding
Ventures group criteria completed
(5 people) Bank Bank
branch branch
Contact Points
Pancreta
Pancreta Cooperative Bank
Bank
4 Chambers of Commerce & Industry Bank Bank Promotion
branch branch
University of Crete
Bank
branch

Idea presentation & Investment screening


Investment screening
Legal & Investment Eligible for
Market funding?
Presentation financial attractive? Presentation
potential Signing
SME/Start-up control investment
business plan investment Funding evaluation
contacts proposal to
(meeting, Yes memorandum by Committee No
Contact Point Capa Committee
via mail) Feasibility
bilities No
3-6 months

Yes

Business idea implementation


Business idea implementation & Monitoring
Business idea
Final report Participation Monitoring Report Funding
successfully
presentation financier to financial figures presentation provision
implemented
company board (monthly) (every 3 months)
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.7 Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are an archipelago of the Kingdom of Spain consisting of seven
major islands (El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria,
Fuerteventura and Lanzarote), all of which are of volcanic origin. The Canary
Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean, off the north-western coast of Africa
(Morocco and the Western Sahara) at a distance of some 1.100 km from the Spanish
Mainland. They form an Autonomous Community of Spain consisting of two
provinces, Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife whose capitals (Las Palmas de
Gran Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife) are co-capitals of the Autonomous
Community.
The mixture of geographical elements which come together in the Canary Islands
enables residents to enjoy an enviable quality of life, in an exceptional climate (the
average temperature varies between a maximum of 24°C and a minimum of 15°C)
and a unique natural environment. The profuse and varied plant life of the islands
and the beauty of the landscapes are two of the most attractive features, making the
Canary Islands not only one of the favourite holiday destinations for the citizens of
the European Union but also a superb place of residence.
The strategic location of the Canary Islands in the middle of the Atlantic, between
three continents, transformed them long ago into a place of transit of people and
goods, and consequently, into a privileged location as a welcoming platform for
companies involved in intercontinental business.
Population and Economy
In 1982, the islands had 1.431.045 citizens and the division of the Gross Domestic
Product (GDP) per person was 3.273 Euros. At the end of 2005, the population
exceeded to 1.970.000 inhabitants (18.879 Euros GDP per person). This population,
in a total area of 7.447 km², makes the region one of the most densely populated
regions in Spain. In 1982, there were three million tourists per year and now there
are ten million who provide the largest amount of the GDP.
The Canary Islands have traditionally looked out at the African and Latin American
markets and are, therefore, an excellent trading platform for north-south exchanges
as they sit astride one of the major international trading routes. This special geo-
strategic position favours the establishment of centres of business and financial
operations, capital transfers, technology transfer and the exchange of services.
From 1996 to 2005, the regional GDP in the Canary Islands has shown a positive
growth rate. This growth is mainly based on the performance of the service sector
and private consumption, an aspect which facilitated the increase in employment.
Mainly because of the tourism as the engine of the Canary Islands’ economy, the
Service Sector is the leading sector for the Islands’ economy, accounting for 78% of
regional GDP, followed by the Construction Sector (around 10% of GDP) and the
Industry Sector (around 8-9% of GDP). The Agricultural Sector represents the
smaller share of regional GDP, accounting for about 3%. The contribution of the
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

primary sector to the regional GDP has decreased over the last few years. Over the
same period, its contribution to regional employment has also been reduced and in
relative terms it is below the contribution of the sector at national level.
The local firms make up 4.2% of Spanish companies. The majority of them are
micro-firms (94%), followed by a small percentage of SMEs (6%). Big enterprises
exist only to a small number: 139 up to a total of 117.863. 53,28% of the Canarian
companies work in the service sector, 30.15% in trade, 11.21% in building and the
remaining 5.37% in the industry sector.
Education and Technology
In the Canary Islands there are two higher education institutions. The prevailing
academic specialisations are on social/legal sciences, engineering and technology,
humanities, health sciences and experimental sciences. The number of graduates in
areas directly related with Science and Technology is similar to the Spanish average
but less compared to European average.
The lack of water, the special conditions of the climate (with many hours of sun and
wind), the insular conditions and the big amount of graduates has converted the
Canary Islands into a world reference centre as regards the production of drinking
water, the desalination and the purifying of water from the sea and other natural
sources and the use of renewal energies for producing water and electricity.
Furthermore, the special geographical situation and the height of the islands together
with the transparency and the astronomical quality of their sky have contributed to
consider the Canary Islands a worldwide reference in astrophysics.
In the area of Research and Development, the Canary Islands have, together with
other Technology Centres, the Canary Islands Institute of Technology (ITC), a
company belonging to the regional government, attached to the Ministry of Industry,
Commerce and New Technologies and with its headquarters in Tenerife. ITC is the
representative in the Canary Islands of the Network of Innovation Relay Centres
(SEIRC), the Network of European Business and Innovation Centres (EBN) and the
Regional Economy Agencies (EURADA) and has as its main purpose to encourage
the interaction between those bodies which are involved in the technological,
industrial and business process: the Canary Islands Government, the Universities
and other Centres of Research and Development, publicly and privately-owned
companies and the Agencies of the Spanish State and the European Union. Their
purpose is to serve as an example in the process of transfer of research and
development to demonstration and production, mainly based on applied research
groups in the Canarian universities.

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3.7.1 BIC Canarias


BIC Canarias is working as a Business Innovation Centre since 2002. The Centre
has its origin in the activities and experiences being made by the Canary Islands
Institute of Technology (ITC) since the year 1996. Within the framework of the
initiative, activities for developing regional collaborations have been set up, aimed at
integrating organisations and resources in order to provide services to entrepreneurs
in four islands of the Archipelago: Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma and El Hierro.
In particular, the initiative aims at promoting the generation of wealth and
employment in the Canary Islands by offering support to entrepreneurs with
innovative business initiatives through professional and competitive consultancy and
infrastructure. The main objectives are:
1. the creation of innovative businesses, including the dissemination of
entrepreneurial culture in the civil society,
2. consultancy to existing technology-based SMEs for the development of
new innovative activities and for giving an impulse to their possibilities
of business cooperation at international level.
The collaboration with the public administration in the generation of policies and
regulations aimed at favouring the creation and consolidation of these innovative
technology-based companies.

3.7.1.1 Methodology
The Canary Government and the Canary Islands Institute of Technology (ITC) have
been developing several kinds of studies during the last years, among them the
Regional Innovation Strategy (RIS), the RTD Integrated Plan and the IN.TRACK
project, financed by the European Commission and aimed at promoting the
formulation of knowledge-based regional policies, ensuring the support of local
actors and stakeholders. The conducted studies revealed the necessity of creating a
knowledge economy which could generate business sectors in the Canary Islands
that are able to be competitive in the global market and that consequently can
overcome the existing barriers due to the insular and peripheral conditions.
Furthermore, the evidence of a big amount of university students in the region and
the difficulties of starting a new base of technology companies made the creation of
tools essential that support the early years of the starting-up of new companies.
Based on the above said, the Canary Islands Government together with ITC decided
to set up BIC Canarias in order to boost the knowledge based economy in the region.
The methodology applied for implementing the initiative is illustrated in figure 3.9
and structured in the following three main phases:
▪ Framework set-up;
▪ Pre-incubation;
▪ Incubation & Service offer.
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Phase 1. Framework set-up


The initiative started off with setting up the overall structure and defining the main
key players involved, objectives aspired and activities to be conducted within BIC
Canarias. The first step was that ITC contacted the Insular Authorities of the seven
Canarian islands and presented the project idea, its objectives and benefits resulting
for the islands and the regional development as a whole. In case of interest on the
Insular Authorities’ side in participating to the initiative, a collaboration agreement
was signed and a so-called Business Promotion Unit (BPU) was set up in a selected
and appropriate institution of each island. It has to be mentioned that the decision of
the Insular Authorities to participate to the initiative or not depended mainly on the
specific conditions of the single islands and their real possibilities to offer the
required services through existing infrastructures.
The initial financing for launching the initiative was provided by the Insular
Authority of Tenerife. Additional partners as banks, chambers of commerce, the
association of young regional industrialists and further organisations like
foundations and associations were identified in order to spread information on the
initiative and to receive follow-up financing. The establishment of the Business
Promotion Units (BPUs) was a longer process that took from six to 12 months,
depending on the state of the facilities and the interest and commitment of the key
actors of the islands. The BPUs are functioning as business incubators and are
placed in various institutions of the different islands, such as technology institutes or
universities. Each BPU is financed by different entities depending on the island,
however, all funds are regional origin. Furthermore, also the companies that are
located within the BPUs as well as additional companies benefiting from the
services contribute to the financing of the incubators’ facilities.
Besides the financial component, the core activities of each BPU, as will be
described in the following two phases, were decided. The main principle of the
initiative is that new enterprises settle down in the incubators, have discounts in
facilities and equipments as well as enjoy free advise and monitoring during their
stay in the BPUs.
In total, four Business Promotion Units have been set up on the islands Tenerife,
Gran Canaria, La Palma and El Hierro. These four units together build up BIC
Canarias which is coordinated by ITC with its headquarters in Tenerife.
BIC Canarias offers services to entrepreneurs in the region in order to support
innovative business ideas and to contribute to the regional and local economic
development. Each BPU has its own Selection Committee involving one or more
representatives of the institutions that finance the unit and who together with
technical experts from the BPU decide on whether to accept a business project or
not.
The activities conducted by BIC Canarias can be divided into two main steps, the
pre-incubation phase and the incubation & service offer phase which are described
in the following.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Phase 2. Pre-incubation
During the pre-incubation phase, each BPU carries out an extensive project search
activity in order to generate a pool of innovative project ideas ready for being further
developed and exploited within the facilities of the incubator. The project search is
performed through the accomplishment of different activities. First of all, by
collaborating with local universities, ideas of students can be easily detected.
Furthermore, the monitoring of RTD results generated in research institutions in the
region as well as the launching of so-called ‘competitions of ideas’ among students
and further would-be entrepreneurs helps identifying and gathering information on
potential business proposals. In addition, BIC Canarias accomplishes broad
promotional activities to possible entrepreneurs by means of mass media, such as
newspapers and the radio, and the organisation of awareness events. Based on these
activities, each BPU evaluates the collected project ideas. Those proposals that are
evaluated as interesting and innovative, are included into a database which contains
the most promising project ideas.
The contact with the BPU starts when the interested entrepreneur presents a
Business Plan to the BUP with the most important information regarding the
innovation profile of the idea. In some cases, also video presentations are used for
illustrating more clearly the endeavour to the BPU. Project ideas can come from
individuals who for the first time want to start up a business, from new companies
who are already in their start-up phase and last but not least from already established
SMEs who have a new idea regarding an innovative business activity. In this
context, there are some general criteria for accepting the idea and validating the
business plan:
▪ the business plan of the company has to be innovative and should concern
the technological area;
▪ as regards Start-up companies:
o if the company has been already created, it should have less than
one year of activity;
o if the company has not been yet created, they have three months
for the registration;
o independent companies, not belonging to an existing company.
▪ the product has to be ready for the market (not only research activities);
▪ industrial activities are not allowed (there are no facilities available for
this purpose).
After having received the business plan, the BPU staff, in its function as expert,
analyses the report based on the information provided by the entrepreneur. If the
expert staff considers the business idea as promising and important for the regional
development and thus worth for being developed further on, the idea is presented to
the Selection Committee of the BPU who evaluates the idea by conducting a risk
analysis in terms of the business planning, following in specific the technical report
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

of the BPU expert staff. In case of positive results an innovative business proposal
has been discovered which is taken into the pool of innovative ideas, qualified for
moving into the business incubator or for using the services externally, thus making
the most of the incubator’s facilities.
Phase 3. Incubation & Service offer
The duration in which start-up companies and SMEs stay in the BPU and use the
facilities and services, depends on the single BPU and on the agreements made
between ITC and the key actors of each island, thus the insular authorities or the
universities. The duration a company can stay varies from 18 up to 30 months; for
example in Gran Canaria the maximum incubation time are 18 months, in Tenerife a
company can stay up to three years.
During their stay, start-ups and SMEs enjoy a thorough mentoring in terms of their
entrepreneurial performances and take advantage of the facilities provided by the
BPU which include in particular the offices, meeting rooms, the assembly hall,
printing services as well as videoconferences and WI-FI (wireless fidelity).
Especially to start-ups, thus companies that are in the process of creating their
business, are offered the following specific services:
▪ Feasibility analysis in the phase prior to creation;
▪ Strategic guide for business planning;
▪ Financial methodological guide;
▪ Rapid guide available on the creation of companies: business plan
preparation, directory, forms of societies, procedure to start up the
company, tax and accounting principles, etc.
Further services that are addressed to start-ups as well as to SMEs inside the
incubators include:
▪ Evaluation of the business plan;
▪ Access to technology and promotion of technology transfer, through the
IRC Network and other services of ITC;
▪ Legal assistance (accounting, tax and labour issues);
▪ Intellectual and industrial property rights assessment;
▪ Access to financing (agreement with banks);
▪ Project collaboration: access to European projects and advise for
accomplishing RTD projects.
Additionally, training courses in entrepreneurship are offered twice a year (May-
October), dealing with start-up companies, business plan and management issues.
What’s more, there are several seminars offered on topics such as IPR, negotiation,
marketing and internationalisation, financing technological start-up companies and
technological projects.
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Further services that are offered within the BPU and which are addressed to all the
companies located in the incubator include the derivation of services to other
organisations in order to put the companies into contact with main regional key
actors that can support the further consolidation of the business ideas, especially
once the companies are moving out of the incubator. These actors are amongst
others the chambers of commerce, business one-stop shops, employment agencies
and island and municipal local development agencies, associations connected with
rural development (AIDER, ADER, etc.) and the association of young
businesspeople of the Canary Islands.
Last but not least, business development and marketing activities are carried out.
These activities include the direct external promotion of the companies at fairs and
other events in cooperation with public companies from the Canary Islands
Government, such as PROEXCA-SOFESA and the chambers of commerce amongst
others.

3.7.1.2 Success Factors


Since 2003, BIC Canarias has increased its budget annually due to the raise of new
services and activities. The budget over the years has been the following:
▪ 2003: 784.649 Euros;
▪ 2004: 936.545 Euros;
▪ 2005: 1.534.310 Euros;
▪ 2006: 3.543.860 Euros.
The budget increase of around 4.5 times in a three-years period gives evidence to the
successful proceeding of the initiative in the region. BIC Canarias, as all the other
European Business and Innovation Centres, are integrated in the EBN Network
(European Business and Innovation Centres Network), a scientific and technical
association based in Brussels and grouping more than 160 partners. In 2002, ITC
received the first audit of the EBN Network and the results showed that with its
conducted activities BIC Canarias continues to fulfil its initially set objectives.
These objectives are furthermore in line with the objectives set by the whole
network and which are amongst others to "support the creation of small and medium
innovating companies and impel the new activities in the existing companies."
The integration in the EBN Network offers to the associates (the BICs) a series of
advantages that are translated basically in the involution and external projection of
the companies located in the BICs, and contributes therefore to a superior
effectiveness of each BIC, also achieved through the collaboration among the
associates of the network.

When it comes to the structure of BIC Canarias in specific, the particular condition
of having different islands grouped together to one region functioning as
autonomous community has to be taken into account, specifically when considering

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

the great coordination effort that has to be performed in order to reach the common
set goals.
In this regard, one important feature of BIC Canarias is that each BPU has its own
selection committee for deciding on which innovative business ideas will move into
the incubator. The selection committees include next to the technical experts also
representatives of the institutions that finance the incubators and so also public
administrations. The involvement of these policy makers into the decision process
supports the development of policies and regulations in the region that favour the
creation of innovative technology-based companies and at the same time sustains
those business ideas that can contribute effectively to the regional development.
Furthermore, a significant success factor of BIC Canarias is that the services of the
BPUs are addressed not only to companies that are in the creation process but also
to SMEs, thus already established companies that would like to develop and test a
new business idea. This extended service offer gives a larger community in the
region the opportunity to take advantage of the BPUs’ services and thus facilitates
also the innovation development of the regionally located companies.
Finally, the wide range of dissemination and promotion activities conducted by each
BPU is a further feature that contributes to the great success of BIC Canarias.
Companies located in the incubators are supported in getting into contact with
important regional institutions, such as chambers of commerce or employment
agencies that can help developing and consolidating the company in the business
environment also after its incubation time and turn the endeavour in a fruitful
activity. The conducted marketing activities, such as the presentation of the
companies at fairs, are a further important factor contributing to the success of the
hosted companies also after their incubation period.

3.7.1.3 Performance Indicators


In the following, some quantitative performance indicators related to the year 2005
are listed, demonstrating the success of BIC Canarias:
▪ Start-ups (Incubation)
o Number of entrepreneurs that have been selected according to the
innovation profile and pre-feasibility of their projects: 172
o Number of projects that passed risk analysis and that are selected
for incubation (i.e. business planning and strategic guidance): 103
o Number of new enterprises created: 157
o Number of jobs created by these enterprises : 217
o Number of enterprises in the incubators: 25
o Number of jobs in the incubator(s): 54
▪ Innovation development of existing SMEs
o Number of SMEs brought forward in the framework of a specific
innovative project (new product, service, process or
internationalisation, reorganisation, etc.): 34

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

o Number of innovation diagnostics: 27


o Number of SMEs included in specific innovative programmes:
130
▪ Innovation Supply Chain
o Number of with would-be entrepreneurs generated through own
promotional methods: 120
o Number of awareness events contributing to the detection of
would-be entrepreneurs: 41
o Number of attendees (would be entrepreneurs) at these events:
25.000
Number of ongoing innovative projects implemented (either financed by EU, State,
region) including projects that do not concern SMEs (example: benchmarking study,
etc.): 27

105
106

Figure 3.9 – BIC Canarias process flow

RTD and innovation Benchmarks


Regional Studies Need of creating a
(RIS, RTD Integrated knowledge based
Plan, IN.TRACK Input/Output Activity Database Process Decision point
economy
project, etc.)

BIC Canarias
Framework set-up Business Promotion Units BPU Committee
Interested in (BPU) set-up Tenerife (Tenerife)
participation? Selection Partners
Need of ITC Presentation
Meeting ITC of (Universities,
establishing contacts of idea to BPU Committee
with Regional institution Banks, etc.)
Business Insular Insular Yes Gran Canaria (Gran C.)
Government
Incubators Authorities Authorities
No Funding
Key
(regional
activities BPU Committee
funds)
La Palma (La Palma)

BPU Committee
El Hierro (El Hierro)

Incubation & Service offer Pre-incubation


Training on Facilities provision Project search
entrepreneurship (offices, WI-FI, videoconferences, etc.) Valuable idea?
Collaboration Monitoring
Innovative with of RTD
Seminars on
Services to Start- Services to Start- business Yes No universities results
IPR, Negotiation,
ups and SMEs ups ideas
Internationalisation,
Marketing, etc.) BIC Promotion
Business Feasibility Start-ups / Competition (mass media,
plan analysis SMEs Project selection of ideas awareness

18-30 months
Derivation of through Selection events)
services to other Technology Strategic Committee
organisations transfer guide
Business One Stop Valuable idea?
Shops, Chambers
Legal Financial
of Commerce, Diagnosis
assistance guide No
RDAs, etc.) (technical
Yes
report)
IPR “Rapid”
Business assessment guide
development Project
Business Plan
and marketing ideas
Access to presentation
Fairs, Mentoring to BUP
Financing Database
other events
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.8 Småland med öarna/West Sweden

The NOVAREGIO project activities involve representatives from the regions


Småland med öarna (literally Smaland and Islands) and West Sweden and in specific
the counties Halland as part of West Sweden and Jönköping as part of Småland med
öarna.
The whole district has a size of 16.185 km2, of which Halland covers 5.710 km2 and
Jönköping 10.475 km2, with 618.643 inhabitants (Halland: 287.669, Jönköping:
330.974) and 19 municipalities (Halland: 6, Jönköping: 13). Furthermore, there are
two universities located in the region, the Halmstad University and the Jönköping
University.
With its long and attractive beaches and beautiful rivers, lakes and forests Halland is
a province that attracts many tourists both from Scandinavia and the continent. In
July and August, the population doubles in Halland because of the tourists.
Jönköping County, the region south of Lake Vättern, has been shaped by centuries
of human inventiveness and hard work. Ingenious and single-minded entrepreneurs
have always found something to occupy themselves and other people, as best
exemplified by the huge amount of small businesses in the region. Today, Jönköping
County is enjoying stronger economic growth than ever before and new unexpected
opportunities are constantly arising; the 19th-century coachbuilders of Vaggeryd
might seem a far cry from the companies of tomorrow at Jönköping Science Park, a
meeting point for knowledge-intensive companies and dynamic business innovators
seeking to explore new business opportunities in the Jönköping area. However, the
entrepreneurial spirit has remained the same.
Industries
Industries and other enterprises in Halland are small or of middle size, but they are
numerous and present in many branches. As a result, the labour market is more
stable in this area than in the provinces which are dominated by few big industries in
few branches. An exception from the rule of small and middle-sized industries is the
nuclear power plan Ringhals in Varberg. It is the biggest in Sweden and one of the
biggest in Europe. In Hylte, situated 35 kilometres northeast of Halmstad, there is a
paper mill, which produces newsprint for many newspapers in Sweden and abroad.
It is one of the biggest paper mills in the world. In Halmstad, the English firm
Pilkington has a plant which produces window glass to such an extent that it covers
with its production the need of the whole of northern Europe.
Jönköping County with its long entrepreneurial tradition has become Scandinavia’s
most industrious region, its sights set on future manufacturing opportunities and new
technology. A third of the workforce is employed in manufacturing industry, usually
in small businesses, which presents the highest proportion in Sweden. The county is
home to tens of thousands of businesses of all sizes and types which has resulted in a
good supply of specialist labour. The Electrolux and Saab groups have extensive
operations in Jönköping, while other major companies include FläktWoods in
Aneby, Isaberg Rapid in Hestra, VSM Group in Huskvarna, Thule in Hillerstorp and
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Sapa Profiler in Vetlanda. Furthermore, strong business networks are an integral part
of the community in Jönköping County. In particular, cooperation between business
and the public sector has produced successful initiatives in a number of fields.
Education and Research
Halmstad University is a university that crosses boundaries - for innovation and
creativity. The university offers a wide choice of study programmes to
approximately 7.000 students. Most of the study programmes lead to either a
Bachelor's or Master's degree. The university has well-developed research
environments, most with a unique national or international profile.
To meet growing international competition in goods and services, knowledge and
research is needed. Jönköping University offers a wide range of study programmes
and courses in Swedish and English through four schools of which each has a clear
identity: Jönköping International Business School, the School of Education and
Communication, the School of Engineering and the School of Health Sciences. They
are located in the city centre, forming a modern campus with an inspiring
atmosphere for 9.000 students.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.8.1 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Development – SMED


The programme SMED, small and medium-sized enterprises development, was
launched in 1993 and is still running. The concept which aims at developing big
ideas in small companies, was created through the collaboration of regional key
players of Jönköping, in particular the Chamber of Commerce, Jönköping County
Administrative Board, ALMI Företagspartner (ALMI) and LänsTeknikCentrum AB
(LTC). ALMI functions as a regional development and innovation agency with the
objective to stimulate growth and development for SMEs and innovators, and offers
financing and business development consultation. LTC coordinates and encourages
cooperation between industry, trade, the universities and society as a whole for a
well working regional innovation system. A special focus is put on supporting SMEs
and sustaining companies in their development through the transfer of technology
and business intelligence. Since the start-up in 1987, LTC has facilitated a network
of qualified resources from a wide range of organisations and institutes.
The administration costs of the SMED programme arisen since its launch are
1.500.000 Euros, partly financed by regional funds, structural and other funds and
Vinnova (Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems). The service
offered to companies especially in the beginning of their idea development, is not
charged, thus SMED offers also a lot of “free of charge consulting”.
SMED overall goal is that more innovators reach the market in order to stimulate
businesses and promote the development of competitive companies in the region,
finalised at creating growth and renewal in the Swedish industry and commerce. The
specific objectives of the initiative are:
▪ to support companies in developing their ideas,
▪ to let ideas leading towards profitable products and affairs and to develop
so the SMEs.
In this context, the programme informs companies about the opportunities to apply
for funds supporting innovation development. Furthermore, SMED handles the
applications and makes decisions on which projects to finance. The funding is given
to the companies as funding cheques. The money can be used for product
development, product innovation and product design.

3.8.1.1 Methodology
The decision to implement the SMED programme was taken after ALMI
Företagspartner made an investigation among the companies in the region to find out
their needs and to understand how the companies wanted to be supported in
developing their ideas into real products. The need analysis resulted in a lack of
innovation activities in the business processes of the regional companies, in specific
SMEs.
The implementation and working process of SMED, illustrated graphically in figure
3.10, is structured in three phases:
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

▪ Programme set-up and Marketing


▪ Idea evaluation and processing
▪ Identification funding partner and project start support
Phase 1. Programme set-up and Marketing
The regional key players (Chambers of Commerce, Jönköping County
Administrative Board, ALMI and LTC) set up the programme structure of SMED by
defining the main conditions and principles, such as the programme beneficiaries,
the kind of support each beneficiary should receive and the criteria for selecting the
recipients.
SMED, as the name says, is addressed to SMEs, in particular to small companies
which need external resources to complete their improvement and develop new and
better products, and which therefore need to be provided with market oriented
complementary advise and financing. The programme helps developing innovative
project ideas and turning them into real business opportunities, and provides
furthermore the financial assistance in order to start off the endeavour. Main criteria
for selecting the companies which are to be supported are the following:
- small company or at maximum a medium-sized company;
- innovativeness of the idea;
- idea deals with product development, product innovation or product
design;
- feasibility in terms of marketability, including available personnel and
financial resources.
The overall programme is built up around a Contact Point established at ALMI.
When starting off the initiative, the Contact Point carried out a broad marketing
campaign in order to disseminate information on the programme to all target
companies in the region. This marketing process, which was very exhaustive, took
four years. During these initial programme years, the Contact Point visited regional
companies and presented to them the programme, its benefits and opportunities that
may result through an involvement in the programme. Furthermore, the participation
to events, such as business and innovation fairs, served as a further marketing tool.
The marketing activity was a full-time endeavour during the first four years. The
result was that information on SMED was disseminated to all the target companies
in the region, covering the whole geographical area and the most important regional
industry sectors. Today, the dissemination activity is still an important element of
SMED, although if accomplished to a much lesser degree since awareness on the
programme has been raised exhaustively before; nevertheless the programme today
is still presented at regional events and seminars through the Contact Point.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Phase 2. Idea evaluation and processing


Result of the broad marketing campaign is that the companies which have an idea
for a new product, get into contact with the SMED Contact Point by phone or via e-
mail in order to present their idea. The Contact Point afterwards visits the company
for getting a better picture of the company and its facilities on the one hand and for
giving the company the opportunity to present in detail the innovative project idea
on the other hand. As mentioned previously, the project proposal has to deal either
with the development of a new product, the renewal or with the innovative design of
a product. Once the Contact Point has been informed on the most important details
of the project idea, a first evaluation process takes place in which the Contact Point
verifies if there exist a market for the proposed undertaking. This first evaluation
includes activities such as market investigations and patent research in order to
understand if there exist already patents on the idea or networks dealing with the
same issue, and so as to figure out in how far the idea is innovative and realisable to
be introduced successfully in the market. This first assessment leads into a first
evaluation report prepared by the Contact Point and presented to the company,
either through a meeting or occasionally also by phone. In case the evaluation report
is promising and the company demonstrates interest in processing with the
innovative idea, a second evaluation process starts which is more comprehensive
and includes additional information, such as the financial and human resources
required for developing the idea as well as the timeframe necessary for
accomplishing all the needed activities. After this second evaluation procedure, a
detailed picture on the project idea, including the technical, scientific and economic
perspective, has been generated.
Phase 3. Identification funding partner and project start support
Once a comprehensive picture of the idea has been generated and it is clear what
kind of activities have to be carried out, how much the development of the idea will
approximately cost and how much time it will take, a possible funding partner is
selected by the Contact Point. In this context, different kind of funding sources are
approached, depending on the size of the project idea. In case of small projects,
regional funds are exploited; if the idea’s development comprises bigger efforts
(middle-size project), funds available through the national organisations NUTEK
(Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth) and VINNOVA are taken
into consideration. Is the project proposal dealing with rather big numbers, both in
terms of financial and human resources, private investors such as banks and venture
capital funds are approached.
The project idea is presented by the Contact Point to the identified potential funding
partners. In case of a positive answer from the funding organisation’s side, a match
between project idea and funding partner has been achieved and in case of the
company’s interest the project implementation can start. In some cases, the funding
is provided through so-called funding cheques given to the granted companies. This
money, in total 960.000 Euros, is provided by the Administrative Board of
Jönköping (790.000 Euros) and the European Funding Programme, Objective 2 and

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

Objective 5b13 (170.000 Euros). The funding through the funding cheques covers
maximum 50% of the external costs connected to the project idea implementation.
During the implementation phase, SMED is giving great support to the project’s
development so as to guarantee that the funds provided to the idea’s development
are exploited accordingly and efficiently. In this regard, the SMED Contact Point
gets in contact with consultants who are technical experts in the specific field of
interest and who can support the successful development of the innovative product
idea. Furthermore, additional partners such as other companies and networks dealing
with similar issues are detected who can support the implementation phase
considerably.
The third phase ends with a successfully into the market implemented project idea
and the continuous monitoring of the project in order to see if everything runs the
way it should be, and to counteract in case of problems that may arise and that may
affect a successful performance in the market.

3.8.1.2 Success Factors


SMED has three basic features demonstrating why the programme was so
successfully adopted in the region.
The first success factor is that the programme is supported by the main regional
players coming from governmental, industrial and scientific side. The involvement
of these key stakeholders supports the backup of the initiative in the region and so
also the motivation to truly support the development of innovative products through
the provision of sufficient funding sources.
A further important issue in the implementation of the programme is the broad and
exhaustive marketing activity of four years that has been conducted by the Contact
Point in the beginning. Having been so determined in raising awareness on SMED
resulted in the programme perception by all target companies in the region so that
today, there does hardly exist a company that is not informed about SMED and its
benefits. Although the marketing activity has been so comprehensive in the
beginning, still today dissemination and awareness raising activities are
accomplished so as to spread information also to new established companies in the
region.
Finally, the stepwise working method has to be pointed out. Before the first
evaluation process takes place, the Contact Point visits the company in order to
gather detailed information on the project idea and to set up immediately a personal
relationship. Afterwards, once the first evaluation has taken place, a second more
detailed investigation on the project idea is accomplished, always in straight contact
with the client. This gradual processing is rather time consuming but on the other

13
Measures for Objectives 2 and 5b regions consist of regional measures aimed chiefly at funding non-
material investments for SMEs and business services targeting quality and innovation.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

hand it guarantees that the selected ideas are promising projects which can
effectively support the regional economic development.

3.8.1.3 Performance Indicators


Some quantitative performance indicators that can be named here, are the following:
▪ 1.898 companies have presented a new idea;
▪ 1.352 ideas have been analysed in detail and accepted for funding;
▪ 1.002 new products have been developed.

113
114

Figure 3.10 – Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Development – SMED process flow

RTD and innovation Benchmarks


Programme
Need analysis implementation?
of companies Lack of Input/Output Activity Process Decision point
in the Region innovation
Jönköping
Yes

Programme set-up and Marketing


Programme definition Marketing process
Establishment Dissemination
Meeting among Info on of SMED among
Kind of Selection Contact Point Company Events
regional players Beneficiaries programme & regional
support criteria at ALMI visits participation
possibilities companies

4 years
Chamber of Commerce
Jönköping County Administrative Board Continuous dissemination activity
ALMI Företagspartner (programme
LänsTeknikCentrum AB presentation at
regional events, seminars, etc.)

Idea evaluation and processing


Second evaluation process
First evaluation process
Company interested First
Budget Manpower in proceeding? Evaluation Report Patents/ Market Company
presentation Project idea First visit
IPR situation presentation to
contacts
to Company Contact Point
Yes Contact Point Contact Point
(meeting, at Company
Finance Timetable No Existing (phone, e-mail)
phone, etc.)
networks
Product development
Product renewal
Detailed picture Product design
on project idea
(technical, scientific,
economic perspective)
Identification funding partner and project start support
Company interested in
Match
Project implementation support
starting the project? Project put into
Selection of possible
project idea/ operation
funding partner
funding partner Yes Consultants Partners Networks successfully
Small project ⇒ Regional funds No
Continuous monitoring &
Middle-size project ⇒ Nutek, Vinnova corrective measures
Big project ⇒ Banks, Private investors if needed
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

3.8.2 Healthcare Technology Alliance – HCTA


The Healthcare Technology Alliance (HCTA) was established in 2002 as a result of
a collaboration between the Municipality of Halmstad and Halmstad University.
HCTA is a leading forum for the development of new products and services in
healthcare technology. The term “healthcare technology” refers to tools and
equipment relating to medical care, preventive healthcare, care and rehabilitation.
The common driving force for HCTA members is to develop successful products
and services in order to generate growth in the member companies and in the region,
achieved through the innovative investment in new healthcare technology products
and services. In specific, through the network, the healthcare technology companies
aim to achieve a better rate of development than trade and industry on the whole,
with a target of 25% higher growth.
The Alliance comprises a large number of companies, organisations and research
and development institutions located in the region. HCTA conducts jointly directed
research, development and training activities. Members are invited to attend lectures,
seminars and contact-making events. HCTA members can also participate in
collaborative development projects at regional, national and international level.
Furthermore, all members of the Alliance have access to a valuable network.
The Healthcare Technology Alliance vision is to develop and strengthen the
innovation system for healthcare technology, so that the region becomes a leading
region in the development of healthcare technology products and services within ten
years. With the Alliance as a platform, a good opportunity to set up development
projects within this field has been established. The needs within the nursing and
health care sector are secured by a standing dialogue by producing companies, the
County Council and the Administration of Home Care.

3.8.2.1 Methodology
Throughout a large-scaled investigation at the University of Halmstad, the region
could ascertain that there are a lot of companies working within the area of
healthcare technology. The authority of home nursing had also seen a lot of
development potential in this area, necessary in order to guarantee the quality in the
medical attendance even in the future. This was the outset of the Healthcare
Technology Alliance.
The process of implementing and making the network initiative operative is
composed of two main phases (see figure 3.11):
▪ Alliance set-up
▪ Service offer
Phase 1. Alliance set-up
HCTA involves governmental, scientific and sector related regional players. The
Alliance was started off by the Municipality of Halmstad and Halmstad University
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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

and was partly financed by the County Council’s fund for technical purchase and
product development (LFTP) and local businesses in order to guarantee a financial
backing. In 2005, the initiative was taken over by the Halland Regional
Development Council and became one of the region’s prioritised areas of growth.
The Coordination Unit of the Alliance was set up at the County Council of Halland
in Halmstad which is taking care of the overall surveillance of the network’s
activities. In addition, a more operative division has been established as Contact
Point at the University of Halmstad where five persons are engaged with the daily
work of the Alliance, as will be described in the following phase (Service offer), and
at the Municipality of Halmstad where one person is coordinating projects in
cooperation with the member companies and the University.
In order to put the Alliance into practice, the key players of the sector had to be
involved, thus the healthcare technology companies, organisations and institutions.
Their involvement was achieved through the work accomplished by the Contact
Point at the University of Halmstad, hence the five HCTA employees, who
contacted all the companies, organisations and RTD institutions dealing with
healthcare technology in the region, and presented to them the initiative, its
principles, objectives and the benefits resulting for the members. In case of interest
on the company’s or RTD institution’s side, an agreement on the HCTA
membership was made and the members delivered information on the
company/organisation/RTD institution as regards the
company/organisation/institution profile and the work carried out in the health care
technology sector, specifying products developed or dealt with, research activities
accomplished and giving an assessment on the overall performance in the sector.
This procedure finally resulted in the generation of a pool of healthcare technology
companies and organisations and a pool of research institutions, consequently
covering a great part of the entire healthcare technology sector of the region, both
the industrial and scientific part.
At the same time, a Steering Committee (SC) as the central part of the Alliance was
set up. The Steering Committee joining governmental, scientific and industrial
health care technology actors of the region, is a permanent institution that guides the
initiative and facilitates the interaction and information exchange among the
members. Today the Committee includes the Halland Regional Development
Council, the County Council of Halland, the six Counties of Halland, the University
of Halmstad, the Health Care Administration as well as selected healthcare
technology companies acting as supervisors of the development projects that are
conducted within the network. Key criteria such as the Alliance’s main objectives
and working principles were established through the Committee.
The specific objectives the HCTA aims to achieve are the following:
▪ Development and strengthening of the innovation system for healthcare
technology, so that the region becomes a leading one in the development
of healthcare technology products and services within ten years;

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

▪ Business Development and entrepreneurship based on regional


knowledge in health and medical attendance through collaboration
projects;
▪ Support the regional development and economical growth with the
provided funds (global objective);
▪ Set up public-private partnerships through the close cooperation among
SMEs, the university and public and private healthcare organisations.
Furthermore, projects that are eligible for financing should deal with the thematic
areas Medical Aid, Assistive Technology and goods and services for Future Home
Nursing. As regards the total budget, today approximately 960.000 Euros is financed
by LFTP, of which:
▪ 215.000 Euros for running the process;
▪ 215.000 Euros for feasibility studies and projects;
▪ 535.000 Euros for complementing regional funds.
The Steering Committee together with the pool of healthcare technology companies,
organisations and research institutions represents the Healthcare Technology
Alliance. The alliance has its own website, providing information on the conducted
activities and good examples of developed products and services as well as includes
a link to the websites of the network members. Today, approximately 50 healthcare
technology companies are involved in the Network, thus covering to a great extent
the entire industry sector existing in the region.
Phase 2. Service offer
The Healthcare Technology Alliance offers different services to its members. These
services are either project oriented or they are broader services which are not
specifically addressed to one project idea of a single company or institution.
As regards development projects proposed by companies or research institutions of
the Alliance, the service offer starts with a first approach to the University of
Halmstad. In a personnel meeting the company or research institution presents the
project idea to the Contact Point. Afterwards, the Contact Point at the University of
Halmstad carries out a detailed examination process in which it is analysed in how
fare the project proposal on developing a new product meets the requirements set by
the HCTA. In this regard, the innovativeness of the idea is assessed by examining
the healthcare technology market and the products that are already available in the
specific field. Furthermore, the growth potential of the idea is considered, that is the
evaluation of the actual possibility to a break through of the product. In this regard, a
cost-benefit analysis is conducted in order to verify if the product can compete on
the market concerning the costs for its development and the final benefits resulting
out of it. Furthermore, it is regarded if the idea includes the different regional actors,
thus SMEs, the university and public or private healthcare organisations.

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RTD and innovation Benchmarks

If the results of the first examination process, conducted by the Contact Point, reveal
a promising project proposal which is worth to be elaborated further on, the proposal
is presented to the Steering Committee. Subsequently, the SC carries out a second
proposal evaluation, based on the details provided by the Contact Point and
considering the scientific and technical opinion of the SC members as well as
analysing the financial support needed for implementing the project idea. If this
second more detailed analysis turns out to be positive as well, the idea on developing
a specific product has been qualified for funding and the financial support is
provided through LFTP. The Steering Committee is the body that makes the final
decision about the funding of projects.
Next to this project-specific service, the HCTA offers further services which are
addressed to all the members of the network. Seminars are conducted twice a year
that deal with different themes in the area healthcare, depending on the members’
necessities, and that are aimed at promoting the knowledge transfer among the
members. Furthermore, training sessions for end users of the developed products are
carried out. These trainings are accomplished on demand and not on a regular basis.
In order to support the straight contact among the members’, network meetings are
performed 5 times a year in which the companies, RTD institutions and further
organisations get in contact, exchange information and knowledge on sector specific
topics, ongoing initiatives as well as get the possibility to set up partnerships for
carrying out projects.

3.8.2.2 Success Factors


The Healthcare Technology Alliance has contributed to the development of the
innovation system in the region, in specific as regards the healthcare technology
area. The set-up of the Alliance shows important features that support the success of
the initiative in the region.
A first important aspect is that regional players from different backgrounds take part
in the network (governmental institutions, industry, RTD institutions and
universities). Their involvement supports the standing dialogue between the most
important regional actors of the sector and thus constitutes a common driving force
for developing successful healthcare technology products and services. The research
sector is involved and thus research activities are encouraged within the initiative.
Furthermore, the involvement of the industry facilitates the take up and exploitation
of the developed products in the market, thus guaranteeing marketability. Last but
not least, the participation of governmental institutions through the Steering
Committee, such as the County Council of Halland and the six Counties, supports
the implementation of policies in the region that promote and facilitate the
development of new products for boosting the sector and therewith also the regional
development as a whole.
The HCTA gives furthermore the opportunity to start up new companies by
exploiting research results. Innovation support through financial means is given
especially at the very early stage of an idea, thus the whole process for starting a
business activity is supported. Furthermore, the aggregation of the companies under
118
RTD and innovation Benchmarks

one umbrella contributes to an increased level of competitiveness amongst the


members and enhances therewith entrepreneurial activities.
A further important feature is that public/private partnerships are supported through
the Alliance. One of the requirements for getting funding support is the cooperation
among SMEs, universities/RTD institutions and public and private healthcare
organisations. This combination once more stimulates technology transfer activities
and so development projects and collaboration between companies and public
services.
At last, the seminars, trainings and network meetings offered to the members of the
HCTA are further activities that contribute to dialogue fostering, collaboration set
ups and combined research efforts which all together favour a higher development
rate than the one of the companies outside the network which cannot benefit from
these business supportive services.

3.8.2.3 Performance Indicators


Performance indicators that demonstrate supportively the success of the HCTA, are
the following:
▪ During the programme period (until August 2006), 13 projects have been
granted funds for feasibility studies;
▪ Of these have 13 projects, 3 projects developed into a deepened
development phase and 2 of the projects have now reached the market.

119
120

Figure 3.11 – Healthcare Technology Alliance – HCTA process flow

RTD and innovation Benchmarks


High development
potential?
Large scale
investigation at Health Care Input/Output Activity Database Process Decision point
University of Technology (HCT)
Halmstad companies
Yes

Alliance set-up Interested in


participation?
Contact Point Contacting HCT Data gathering
Agreement at University Presentation Yes Agreement on company
on initiative & companies on HCTA
of Halmstad of the initiative and
& Membership
financial backing (5 persons) HCTA RTD profiles
RTD institutions No

Municipality of Halmstad Coordinator at


Halmstad University the Municipality
of Halmstad
Healthcare Administration
Steering Committee (SC) set-up
Creation website
Selection & Announce- Agreement incl. link to
Network Key criteria
Voting of ment on HCTA members’ websites
Meeting of HCTA
Members SC Members

Halland Reg. Dev. Council, County Council, 6 Counties, University


Halmstad, Healthcare Administration, HCT companies

Health Care Pool of HCT


Service offer Seminars Technology Alliance companies &
(twice per year) organisations

Training Steering
on demand Committee
Pool of research
Network meetings institutions
(5 times per year) Coordination Unit: County Council of
Halland in Halmstad

Qualified for Valuable Examination process


funding? proposal?
Project Proposal Proposal Project proposal
Yes Yes
funding Evaluation presentation Cost/benefit Growth Innovative to Contact
approved by SC to SC analysis potential ness Point
No No
LFTP
Chapter 4. Lessons learnt
and outlook for the future
Lessons learnt and outlook for the future

4.1 Conclusions

The benchmarking exercise conducted in the NOVAREGIO project has been


conceived on the assumption that the involved regions need to adopt increased and
better regional investments in research in order to exploit structural funds for RTD
and innovation more efficiently, and to contribute finally to the goal set by the
European Union of becoming a competitive and dynamic knowledge-based
economy by the year 2010. This paradigm calls for the regional policy makers’
willingness to continuously learning and their availability in remaining flexible and
adapting the knowledge generated through the benchmarking exercise in the future
policy design.
The benchmarks identified and selected within NOVAREGIO represent a good
starting point for implementing improved RTD and innovation policies, tailored to
the regional specific contexts and the particular needs of the regional key players.
The take up of benchmarks favours a learning atmosphere among the regions and
leads to knowledge sharing at trans-regional level, thus fostering networking and
setting the basis for future collaboration activities across borders.
The regions involved in NOVAREGIO show heterogeneous characteristics in terms
of their geographical size, natural resources and economic wealth. Related to their
RTD and innovation performance, they all have implemented effective programmes,
projects and initiatives supporting innovation development and which have been
selected as benchmarks in the course of the exercise. Nevertheless, it has to be stated
that some regions are more advanced than others, such as Friuli Venezia Giulia,
Småland med öarna/West Sweden and Styria, demonstrating a greater innovative
ability due to their specific regional conditions, like the availability of skilled human
resources and adequate infrastructures.
More precisely, the selected benchmarks are dealing with the following topics, all
aimed at turning the regions into knowledge-based societies:
▪ Supporting innovative entrepreneurship, in particular SMEs and micro
companies, and the starting-up of new companies;
▪ Enhancing technology transfer activities by improving the links between
the world of research and the world of industry;
▪ Facilitating the take up of innovative products, processes and
management techniques within companies;
▪ Developing human resources for reaching high qualification levels and
skilled human capital on the whole;
▪ Adopting funding systems supporting high-risk investments as regards
the development of leading-edge technologies and the commencement of
entrepreneurial undertakings.
These topics resulted to be all crucial for moving the regions forward and supporting
their innovation development, and thus need to be strongly considered and pursued
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Lessons learnt and outlook for the future

also in the future when setting up new development programmes. The policy
benchmarks according to their outcomes have been all successful in their respective
regions and most of them are still ongoing. Problems are met though when the
financing period for these programmes and projects ends. There is no point in
terminating the programmes when they resulted to be so crucial for the regional
development and therefore, follow-up financing has to be generated for their
continuation. Funds from regional development and innovation programmes can be
considered as well as resources from national or European programmes.
A significant alternative to public financing is the raising of financial resources from
the private sector. Generally speaking, private investments lead to the strengthening
of the market discipline and the avoiding of moral hazard (i.e. the encouraging of
imprudent or unsustainable behaviour by creditors or debtors), since private
investors carry partly the burden of possible financial crises. Some of the involved
regions, as Styria and Småland med öarna/West Sweden, have created the conditions
for benefiting from private financing through the establishment of clusters, uniting
companies from the same sector, and which are taking care of the follow-up
financing of initiated activities in the specific sectors. Furthermore, the region Crete
has set up a venture capital fund in order to create a funding source generated partly
through the private sector and aimed at supporting innovative projects that cover the
local market needs. Nevertheless, today Crete and in particular also the regions
South Transdanubia, Slovenia and the Canary Islands are characterised by an
underdeveloped investment in RTD, especially from the private sector’s side, and
which therefore does not allow optimistic predictions for reaching the goals set in
the Lisbon Strategy.
A further approach for assuring the continuity of implemented programmes and
projects which is rather long-term oriented is the translation of these initiatives into
laws. This was already done in particular by the region Friuli Venezia Giulia where
the two benchmarks presented in this handbook, due to their demonstrated great
economic impact, were encompassed into regional laws addressed to support the
development of regional SMEs and to enhance research activities in the region14.

14
The Friuli Venezia Giulia Region has already spent several years facing the challenge of building and
developing a strong and coherent Regional Innovation System. In a systemic perspective, innovation is
not generated in an “isolated point” but derives from a dynamic and virtuous interaction of five sub-
systems: 1) enterprise; 2) research and technological transfer; 3) training; 4) finance and 5) public
administration. The Regional Authority effort for actively supporting activities of research, development
and enterprise innovation is a fact. Since the end of the 1970s (with the Regional Law 47/1978), it has
allowed reaching and consolidating positions of excellence in this sector. Particularly, much has been
enacted since then in favour of industrial enterprises, with incisive and growing incentives for pre-
competitive research and development activities carried out by industrial enterprises, autonomously or in
cooperation with public bodies or research laboratories. Starting from this experience and from requests
by category associations, in the latest years the range of actions of the Regional Authority has broadened,
encompassing interventions in favour of research and development activities carried out by handicrafts
enterprises, actions in favour of technological transfer and innovation diffusion, a specific support to
competitive development of SMEs and initiatives of diffusion aimed at improving enterprises awareness
that innovation is necessary to compete. Innovations, introduced by the regional laws below reported,
belong to this trend. They are aimed at improving and broadening the action of existing tools, as well as at
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Lessons learnt and outlook for the future

One more important characteristic that has been observed during the exercise and
which ties up to the above stated is that all of the detected RTD and innovation
policy benchmarks support public-private partnerships. What is more, when
analysing the benchmarks in detail and identifying the single processes that have
been adopted for implementing them in the regions, the strong involvement of three
main regional actors in nearly all of the policies’ development processes can be
pointed out: local and regional governments, businesses and business associations,
universities and research institutions.
This approach, based on the so-called triple-helix model, brings together
governmental, industrial and academic institutions, all of them players dealing with
innovation policies, even though from different perspectives: the government as
policy maker, academia as innovation creator and industry as innovation end-user.
Pursuing this approach produced noteworthy effects in the regions and thus, resulted
to be appropriate for accelerating the regional innovation development. The
interaction of these actors supports the generation of successful policies since
innovation tracks can be anticipated and trends can be followed that enhance the
development of new technologies in different phases.

introducing new financing lines (above all in favour of enterprises working in the sectors of trade, tourism
and services). Particularly, they are targeted at organising the actions undertaken by the Regional
Authority for innovation and research development in an ambitious and consistent plan, in order to
orientate them towards the overall innovation of the Regional System, also with the contribution of
productive sectors. For the purposes of this paper on the main RTD policies in the Friuli Venezia Giulia
Region, the following laws and provisions are worth to be highlighted:
Regional Law 26/2005 - General discipline for innovation, scientific research and technological
development
With the adoption of Regional Law no. 26 of 10 November 2005, “General discipline regarding
innovation, scientific research and technological development”, the Regional Authority intended to
further reinforce and qualify its action, with the objective of turning Friuli Venezia Giulia into an area
strongly oriented towards innovation. Presently, this action has entailed a contribution of €57.75 million,
plus additional €90 million, for supporting enterprise innovation, regional research centres activities and
training of human resources to be dedicated to aid enterprises and the system of services in the process of
acquisition of new technologies and innovation in general.
Regional Law 4/2005 - Participations for the support and competitive development of regional
SMEs
The logic inspiring this Law is that of increasing SMEs managerial culture and competitive development
skills, by acquiring strategic intelligence that prevails on traditional incentives on structures and
infrastructures. This Law originates from a preliminary investigation aimed at outlining the regional
economic situation, the weak points of SMEs in the region and the crisis of the traditional competitive
model. Particularly, the size of SMEs is an issue that must be tackled, as it affects their capacity to face
the ever-growing complexity of the markets they work in. To overcome this weakness, the Law supplies
incentives based on competitive development plans tabled by SMEs, to increase enterprise
competitiveness and strengthen enterprise structures. This is beneficial for the economy as a whole, as
this is boosted. This instrument awards regional SMEs the role of driving force for the economy. This role
must be taken care of and maintained through measures of industrial policy that must be specific and
preparatory for supporting competitive development projects.

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Lessons learnt and outlook for the future

The benchmarking exercise in this context supported the regions in understanding


better what are exactly the key factors that turned the policies into successful
benchmarks. This perception should lead to well thought out and better-targeted
policies and knowledge based strategies, involving relevant stakeholders and
ensuring their commitment to really adapt the gained knowledge into the future
policy design. Furthermore, the involved project regions worked together on the
common approach of adopting a benchmarking methodology that supports the
partners in getting to know each other better and building up mutual trust. This fact
sets the basis for enhancing further trans-regional cooperations and establishing
partnerships across borders.

Based on the knowledge gained through the benchmarking exercise and further
discussions arisen in the conducted seminars and workshops, in the following some
implications are given with reference to important aspects that should be considered
when setting up future innovation policies that can effectively contribute to the
economic development and the creation of the knowledge society in general.

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Lessons learnt and outlook for the future

4.2 Outlook

The detected RTD and innovation benchmarks are in line with the objectives set in
the programming period 2007 – 2013 of the structural funds, which are in specific:
▪ Promoting innovation in SMEs;
▪ Cooperation between public research and business (in the form of
regional knowledge clusters);
▪ Local innovation centres or start-up schemes;
▪ Promote human capital and building of knowledge society;
▪ Access to venture capital and micro-credits.
As demonstrated in the present handbook, the spotted benchmarks respond to these
objectives set for the new programming period. Therefore, the regions need to tie up
to the already successfully implemented policies and establish new strategies for the
future that support continuously the reaching of the above mentioned goals.
Since the overall aim of successful structural fund programmes is to encourage
project generation, for creating new jobs and bringing growth and investment in the
regions, and finally for stimulating innovation and change, the following key aspects
have to be carefully considered:

Public-private partnerships for project generation


Project generation is achieved best through the adoption of adequate development
policies. In this regard, key issues have to be identified first and possible solutions to
be thought of in the beginning. On this basis the underlying process starts by
defining the time framework of the development period, continues by searching for
the most adequate solutions, preparing programming documents and defining the
financial framework, and concludes finally with the political approval. The key
element for a high quality development policy is the regular inclusion of the public
and private partnership approach in managing the complete development planning
process. Without the cooperation of the main regional actors who will actually
implement and adopt the development programmes, the prior accomplished
development planning would be not worth the effort made, since the policies would
not reflect the needs and necessities of the regional players. In fact, the different
points of view of regional stakeholders, i.e. government, academia and industry,
“recombine” the policies’ content from their respective perspectives and thus
reshape the innovation system in the course of time.
As regards the project generation in particular, there are two different approaches
regions can adopt for stimulating the creation of innovative project ideas: the
development- and the competitive approach.15 Either projects need advise and

15
New Horizons in Graz, 2006.

126
Lessons learnt and outlook for the future

support early in their development until they are ready for implementation (and
funding), or project proposals are submitted in the framework of calls for proposals
and compete for funding with other similar developed projects.
Related to the first alternative (development approach), business incubators or
technology parks are very useful for early stage business development. Preferably,
an incubator or technology park should provide the framework for creating synergies
between different regional actors, such as start-ups, SMEs, research institutions,
universities, private investors as banks, and public authorities. As concerns the
competitive approach on the other side, preparatory actions are important before
launching a call for proposals, so as to create the right environment for the
establishment of potential project leaders and local networks (clusters) for
generating good projects. Furthermore, support in the actual development of the
project proposals is advisable.
In both cases, and specifically with regard to RTD and innovation projects, it is
important to promote project ideas that include all relevant regional key actors. This
practice, as already explained in section 4.1, follows the principle of the triple-helix
model, and supports best the economic development through the generation of
strong public-private partnerships. The projects need to adopt a demand-pull
approach, generated within a network of different regional actors who are operating
as knowledge intensive tank of intentions, strategies and projects that add surplus
value by reorganising and harmonising the political and economic structures.

Clustering
Moreover, as regards the development of policies enhancing innovation activities in
the regions, the building of clusters is a main issue that needs to be supported.
According to Porter16, clusters are a “geographically or virtually proximate group of
interconnected companies and associated institutions in a particular field linked by
commonalities and complementarities. Clusters encompass an array of linked
industries and other entities important to competition including governmental and
other institutions such as universities, standard setting agencies, think tanks,
vocational training providers and trade associations.”
Clusters provide a favourable environment for sharing knowledge and networking,
thus generating new ideas and synergies for the development of innovative products
and processes which can lead to a further regional growth diversity. In fact, building
on existing clusters or creating new ones based on the regions’ strengths, can be a
fruitful alternative to move forward. Cooperation between research institutions and
enterprises in particular can provide a mutually rewarding opportunity for sharing
knowledge (ideas are based on experiences) and putting new research findings into
practice. In specific, innovative clusters can stimulate innovation and productivity
growth, foster long-term business dynamics and generate new jobs and economic
growth. Through the knowledge spill-over and information flow which takes place

16
Porter, 1998.

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Lessons learnt and outlook for the future

in the framework of cluster activities, a climate of innovation is generated.


Accordingly, it can be stated that clusters are important for the generation of high-
quality and innovative projects.

Human resources development


Another important aspect that has to be regarded in future innovation policy
development is the permanent improvement of the stock of productive skills and
technical knowledge within the regions. Innovation means adequate investment in
RTD for creating a favourable environment for generating new ideas and products,
and therefore it means also the investment in the education and training of human
resources. Since technological innovation cycles become increasingly shorter due to
quickly changing environmental conditions and accelerated progress, permanent
education and training is crucial for sustaining a high qualification level of
researchers coming from academia and industry as well as of further actors from the
industrial side.
In this context it is important to point out that next to the skills development the
right conditions need to be provided for applying and exploiting the developed
skills, that is in particular the existence of approved academic and research
institutions in order to promote the execution of innovation activities.
As a consequence, the overall aim of each region should be to strengthen its local
research capability. Efforts should be made by policy makers to attract the best
researchers to the region and to create research excellence hubs which are open to
researchers from foreign regions in order to set up international networking and be
connected to the international research capacity.

Innovative Financing
The access to financing sources is a further important issue to be paid particularly
attention to when setting up innovation policy measures. Especially companies
located in less developed regions have difficulties in attracting capital investment.
This is above all the case for micro companies and SMEs, and particularly when
implementing innovative projects and ventures. One of the main reasons for this
situation is the increased risk adverse behaviour of the banking sector and the
conditions laid down by banks and lenders which are not feasible to be sustained by
small companies. Therefore, new financial instruments combined with grant
programmes have to be offered, in particular for SMEs and for innovative, future-
oriented projects. Usually, grants cover only a percentage of the project costs and
that is why they need to be matched by private funding sources. In this regard, the
term “venture or risk capital” comes into play, that is generally a large amount of
money invested in exchange for a stake in the business in the hope of future returns.
Due to the higher degree of risk on the investors’ side, a higher potential return than
for safer loan investments is expected. One of the main advantages of venture capital
investments is that the investment is long-term and does not require capital
repayments in the short- or medium-run. Consequently, it can provide a capital base

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Lessons learnt and outlook for the future

for the future growth and development of the company including an increased debt
capacity.
Moreover, it has to be noted that in general, private financing can be best generated
when offering a favourable environment for private-sector decision-making. This
can be best achieved through an improvement in the transparency of policy design
and by promoting the adoption and adherence of standards in the regions that should
facilitate the risk management on the investors’ side. In this regard it is also
important for regional authorities to maintain regular contacts with private market
participants and to ensure the regular provision of information on economic
developments and policies as well as to keep up the communication, both in good
times and also when possible difficulties in the region’s economic situation begin to
emerge.

Regional innovation challenge


The reaching of the Lisbon objectives and their challenge to turn Europe in a
knowledge society should be understood as a “race to the top”.17 Still today a top
down approach is applied, i.e. European targets are translated in national targets.
Furthermore, while at national level growth convergence within the European Union
can be noted frequently, at regional level huge divergences are met which results in
a national failure in reaching the objectives set by the EU in the first place. For this
reason it makes more sense to formulate a bottom up approach by exploiting the
regional diversity as factors for implementing knowledge and innovation policies. In
fact, it can be stated that the regional level is appropriate for creating the knowledge
society due to the proximity of contacts between key players involved in the
knowledge creation, an advantage that has to be widely exploited.
Furthermore, the concrete type of support needed in the generation of successful
projects, and consequently also the actual content of regional development policies,
depends very much on the regional context and the existence of structures which
foster innovation. Hence, policies that support best regional innovation development
need to be designed suitably to the environmental and economic conditions of the
regions and have to derive from the necessities of the main regional actors
(research/industry).
Therefore, RTD and innovation policies should not be centrally designed by national
governments but should be set up, following the principle of subsidiarity, at regional
level, by transferring the decision-making to regional authorities who have a key
role as catalysts for the development of regional innovation strategies.

17
Soete, 2006.

129
Annex

Annex

NAME OF THE Art. 8 and Art. 9 of Regional Law 26/2005 (former Art. 21 and Art. 22
PROJECT of Regional Law 47/1978)
REGION Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy)
TIME SCALE 2000 - 2005
The Regional Law 26/2005 - General discipline for innovation, scientific
research and technological development supports research development and
RATIONALE promotion, innovation diffusion and the transfer of knowledge and know-how
(also technological) in favour of enterprises, research and innovation centres and
the Welfare and Public Administration system.
AREA OF
 Raising public and private funds
INTEREST
 Promoting innovation of the industrial structures of the region;
OBJECTIVES  Favouring knowledge and innovation transfer to the regional production system,
particularly to industrial small and medium-sized enterprises.
 Projects of industrial research and/or carrying out of pre-competitive
development activities to introduce technological improvements in production
products and processes needing or not the establishment or enlargement of
KEY
laboratories aimed at the development of the above-mentioned projects;
ACTIVITIES
 Placement of research orders by SMEs to RTD performer;
 Purchase of patents and exploitation rights;
 Placement of orders for the creation of projects to be tabled at EU level.
 Industrial companies of any size and their consortia;
 industrial research centres and companies with autonomous legal status;
KEY ACTORS
 consortia involving industrial companies and public institutions;
 SMEs performing the task of creating projects to be tabled at EU level.
 Capital grants up to 50% of eligible expenses for industrial research (25% for
pre-competitive development activities). Eligible expenses can or cannot include
the setting up of a laboratory;
 10% increase for projects carried out in cooperation with universities or for
FUNDING laboratories located in development areas targeted at scientific and technological
INFORMATION research;
 10% increase for SMEs proposals;
 5% increase in the 87, 3 and c) areas;
 Capital grants up to 50% for placing orders concerning feasibility studies and
creation of projects to be tabled at EU level.
Year Applications Eligible investment Investment granted
approved
2000 109 49.756.486,97 16.366.998,54
2001 92 37.669.040,09 10.583.854,22
OUTCOMES 2002 86 34.952.206,99 8.927.116,46
2003 160 82.624.310,69 18.477.953,32
2004 195 107.801.427,78 34.357.353,49

131
Annex

Year Enquires applied Approved enquires


2000 129 112
2001 113 92
2002 106 87
2003 179 153
2004 233 195

Average percentage of acceptance = 84 %

Head Office for Production Activities


Department for the Support and Promotion of the Industrial Production Sector
CONTACT
Via Trento 2, Trieste
AND
Annalisa Perusin
REFERENCE
Ph: +390403772421
DATA
annalisa.perusin@regione.fvg.it

132
Annex

NAME OF
THE SISTER
PROJECT
REGION Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy)
TIME SCALE 2001 - 2005
SISTER is a project that favours the introduction on the market and the enhancement
of research in universities. The system has been developed by AREA Science Park
and offers a wide selection of services for the transfer of technologies, as for
RATIONALE
example the assessment of the technological potential of the idea, applicability of the
innovation, market analysis, protection of the intellectual properties and the support
for the creation of new enterprises.
AREA OF
 Technology Transfer
INTEREST
 SISTER-Liaison Office is dedicated to enhance research in the Friuli Venezia
Giulia Region and to increase the economic value of research results.
OBJECTIVE
 Construction of a technology and know-how transfer system, aiming at
S
coordinating and integrating the Technology Transfer Offices (TTO) of the Friuli
Venezia Giulia’s Public Research Organisations (PRO).
SISTER activates projects which aim at developing the research results in order to
turn them into marketable IPRs and/or products. SISTER’s activities include:
 IPR Consulting and Management;
 Patents filing and maintenance;
 Technology assessment;
 Prototyping;
 Market Analysis;
 Strategic Advice on Technology Transfer Agreements;
 Supporting Technology Transfer Agreements negotiation.
The project is divided in two main phases:
KEY
2001-2004:
ACTIVITIES
 Design, test and improvement of the technology and know-how transfer system
in order to enhance the Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) to interact with the
market;
 Design and test of a process supporting the activities needed to transfer research
results to the market.
2004-2006:
 Optimisation of the technology and know-how transfer system in order to
enhance the TTOs to interact with the market;
 Improvement of the process supporting the activities needed to transfer research
results to the market;
 Mapping the regional Public Research Organisations’ knowledge in order to
make them available to organisations involved in technology transfer.
 Area Science Park
KEY  Regional Research Institutions
ACTORS  All the 40 Research Organisations located in Friuli Venezia Giulia are involved
in the project
FUNDING All the Personnel and Consulting Activities are completely funded by the Project
INFORMATI (100% from FVG Region).
ON Technology assessment and prototyping activities are co-funded between SISTER,

133
Annex

covering the marginal costs, and the PROs.


The total budget of SISTER was € 2.825.000.
Co-funded-by SISTER means by AREA and the PROs.
Results achieved so far by SISTER-Liaison Office:
 156 Researchers contacted;
 1.039 Patentability analysis and business intelligence interventions
 337 Research findings passed the second phase “Scouting and first
documentation analysis”
OUTCOMES  184 Research findings proposed for valorisation;
 340 Valorisation activities supporting research findings;
 32 Italian patent applications;
 18 International patent applications;
 34 New established cooperations;
 6 research spin-offs.
AREA Science Park
Marketing and International Relations
Padriciano, 99
CONTACT 34012 Trieste
AND Italy
REFERENC
E DATA Gabriele Gatti
Marcello Guaiana
Ph: +39 040.375 5267
info@novaregio.net

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Annex

NAME OF THE
PROJECT
INNOVATION NETWORKTM

REGION Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy)


TIME SCALE The programme started in 2003 and is still running.
Innovation NetworkTM is an AREA Science Park initiative supported by the Friuli
Venezia Giulia Region. It gave life to a stable structure of services to businesses,
dedicated to transferring to them the expertise and technology found in the world of
RATIONALE
research and to stimulating the setting up of innovation projects.
The initiative resulted from an opportunity analysis regarding the socio-economic
development of the Region.
AREA OF
 Technology Transfer
INTEREST
 Establishment of a network of specialised Competence Centres for the different
production sectors of the Region.
 Innovation NetworkTM aims at promoting and disseminating opportunities in the
entire Region in order to transfer new technologies to enterprises.
OBJECTIVES
 In specific, projects of technological transfer to the SMEs are conducted through
the Competence Centres who aim at boosting the spreading of new technologies
at regional level and at offering to the enterprises innovation services of added
value.
The network structure is built around many Competence Centres where experts give
advice on productive areas of regional interest, such as the wood & furniture, agro-
food, plastics, shipbuilding, business management, environment, energy and
productivity efficiency..
The established Competence Centres are specialised in offering services,
competences and innovative solutions for the innovation of products, processes and
management to the different production sectors of the Region. As a consequence,
several production sectors of the Region are provided with a range of services, skills
and solutions to support product, process and management innovation.
The services that are offered are mainly the following:
1) Technology Auditing
 Short term actions to assess areas of expertise, technology and equipment
by means of questionnaires or direct interviews with staff members.
KEY
 Potential solutions are identified and tried to be maximised by building
ACTIVITIES
on areas of strengths previously detected within the company.
2) Information innovation
 Provision of ample knowledge to the industry sector regarding issues
linked to innovation processes, such as quality certifications, patent
issues, the state-of-the-art of considered technologies and the handling of
security and environmental matters regarding these technologies.
 Elaboration of personalised reports on technological scenarios, thus
providing businesses with a broad picture of new possibilities and helping
them direct their RTD activities into promising fields.
 Monitoring service regarding competitors and their technological
innovations.
3) Assistance in implementing innovation projects
 Assistance during the various phases when realising an innovation
project.
 Together with the enterprises, innovative solutions are planned and

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further developed.
 Elaboration of technical and economic feasibility studies in order to
assess the impact of innovation on the company structure.
 Launching of contacts with the research sector in order to set up
collaborations and to support enterprises in developing and refining
projects together with research institutes so to achieve original and
innovative solutions and encourage local technology transfer.
4) Validation of business ideas
 Addressed to researchers and potential entrepreneurs who want to
evaluate their innovation ideas and business suggestions in terms of their
operability and practicability.
 Identification of technical, normative, organisational and marketplace
parameters and evaluation in how far they will influence the success of
new business initiatives both in a positive and negative way.
5) Sector and multi-sector studies
 Sector specific analyses by examining a specific area and its progress
towards new technologies, thus supporting a broader view of the state-
of-the-art of technologies belonging to different sectors.
 Multi-sector studies (public, private, non-profit) that investigate the
technological trends of widespread industrial relevance, thus identifying
complex issues.
6) Benchmarking
 Analysis of company efficiency using Bench-ProfileTM, the
benchmarking tool developed by AREA Science Park to identify
opportunities for the improvement in the use of production resources.
 AREA Science Park
 Industrialist associations
KEY ACTORS
 Chamber of Commerce
 Territory and Innovation Development Agencies
Innovation NetworkTM started up with AREA funds, but recently it has been
FUNDING
financed by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Authority with € 750.000,00 per
INFORMATION
year, according to art. 13 of Regional Law no. 11/2003.
 Creation of a interconnected Network of Competence Centres located in strategic
positions;
 Availability of technical professional figures, able to link supply (research) and
demand (companies) of innovation;
 Activation of partnerships with reference entrepreneurial structures (associations
of entrepreneurs, industrial areas, productive districts);
 Direct contact with enterprises to effectively promote demand for innovation and
guide them along paths of competitive growth.
So far, the following numerical outcomes can be presented:
 8 Innovation Centres (Agro-food, Environment, Molecular Biomedicine, Ship
OUTCOMES Building, Energy, Business Management, Wood and Furniture, Plastics and New
Materials);
 12 Partnerships activated with local industry and innovation stakeholders
(Industrialist Associations, Industry clusters, Consortiums for industrial
development, Science and Technology Parks);
 Establishment of contacts with 434 enterprises;
 304 visits to enterprises (70% of the contacts);
 150 Innovation Initiative implemented.

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Nr. of RTD projects within the region


1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
FVG 109 92 86 160 195

% increase of RTD project within the region


1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
+
FVG - 15,60 - 6,52 21,88
86,05

AREA Science Park


Marketing and International Relations
Padriciano, 99
CONTACT 34012 Trieste
AND Italy
REFERENCE
DATA Gabriele Gatti
Marcello Guaiana
Ph: +39 040.375 5267
info@novaregio.net

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NAME OF THE
PROJECT
D4

REGION Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy)


TIME SCALE 2002 - 2004 and 2005 - 2007 (provisional)
The D4 Project is part of the activities implemented by the Region Friuli Venezia
Giulia in the framework of the Regional Operational Programme (POR), Objective
3, 2000-2006, in specific Priority D, Measure D4 dedicated to the qualification of
R&D personnel.
RATIONALE The POR programme is designed to respond to different needs of the regional
territory, taking into account strategic programmatic documents, social and
economic data as well as other socio-political indicators.
To this extent, the D4 Project is supported by analysis- and background work (on a
broad basis), but not by specific analysis on the human resources employed in R&D.
AREA OF
 Development of Human Resources in Science and Technology
INTEREST
 Improving human resources in the sectors of research and technological
development;
 Consolidation at regional level of the partnership between businesses,
universities and research centres;
 Promoting the continuous exchange of skills and competences, the mobility of
ideas and researchers, the joint, synergetic devising and implementation of
OBJECTIVES
innovative research projects, technology development and transfer.
 Accomplishment of a performance analysis of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region in
terms of innovation and research, using a quantitative tool (the European
Innovation Scoreboard, adapted to provide an overview of the innovation
situation in Friuli Venezia Giulia). A study on “HR in the R&D sector” was
completed in 2004.
The D4 project has two different periods of activity.
2002-2004 ACTIVITIES
INDIVIDUAL GRANTS
 Allowances to PhD and Post-doctoral students to carry on R&D projects;
 Work experiences in regional companies (BA students, mainly);
 Mobility outbound/inbound Friuli Venezia Giulia towards companies, research
centres, universities for BA, PhD and Post-doctoral students resident in Friuli
(outbound) or in South Italy and abroad (inbound);
 Financial support to final-year students to write an innovative Bachelor thesis
KEY (students enrolled at the University of Trieste or Udine).
ACTIVITIES
OTHER ALLOWANCES/ACTIVITIES
 Vouchers to employees of regional companies to attend training courses, to visit
commercial and technical exhibitions, industrial and R&D centres (all over the
world);
 Financing of long-term training courses on innovative subjects (500 hours each,
theory and practice; 15 BA students for each course as maximum number. 40
supplementary work experiences linked to the courses);
 A “Study and analysis” activity carried on by IRES FVG and Agemont SpA (2
reports: “Research and human resources in Friuli Venezia Giulia” and “Best
practises in R&D”).

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2005-2007 ACTIVITIES
In the second phase, the D4 Project is even more focused on fostering collaboration
and integration among companies (mainly SMEs), universities, research centres and
scientific institutions throughout the reproposition of individual grants as:
 Allowances to PhD and Post-doctoral students;
 Financial support to the mobility outbound/inbound Friuli Venezia Giulia;
 Financial support to innovative BA thesis.
Relying upon the experience gained in 2002-2004, great importance is given to the
mobility of researchers (about half of the available grants, up from 25 in 2002-2004).
It is important to remark that in 2005-2007 the inbound grants are extended to the
regional researchers working abroad willing to come back to Friuli Venezia Giulia.
The analysis about R&D and innovation in Friuli Venezia Giulia continues.
D4 is managed by an “Associazione Temporanea di Imprese” (A.T.I.) that connects
organisms working at high level in fields as research, training, socio-economic
analyses and services addressed especially to enterprises.
Partner A.T.I.:
 AREA Science Park (Project leader)
KEY ACTORS  AGEMONT SpA
 CRES SpA
 DGR Consulting Srl
 IRES FVG
 UNIVERSITY OF TRIESTE
 UNIVERSITY OF UDINE
The D4 Project is a long-term scheme promoted and funded by the Central Office for
Work, Training, University and Research in the FVG Region, within the Regional
Operational Programme, Objective 3, 2000-2006, Priority D, Measure D4, dedicated
to “improving human resources in the sectors of research and technological
development”.
Total funds: more than € 5.600.000, of which:
 European Social Fund Contribution: 45%
FUNDING
 Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia contribution: 44%
INFORMATION
 Ministry of Welfare contribution: 11%
D4 grants to BA, PhD, post-doctoral students and researchers to carry on research
projects in partnership with companies (mainly SMEs), universities, scientific
centres, aimed to the innovation of the regional territory through technological
transfer and development. In addition, the project finances also a study to assess the
level of innovation in the Region FVG by using the indicators of the European
Innovation Scoreboard.
2002-2004 RESULTS
 356 graduated, researchers, workers involved, of whom 286 have received
individual grants and 70 have attended 6 long-term training courses (500 hours
each, 3.000 altogether, plus extended periods of work experiences), with
significant cases of full-time employment after the expiring of the grant and a
substantial female participation to the activities of the Project;
OUTCOMES  230 companies involved in R&D projects;
 2 research reports.
The results obtained show that a flexible system of grants paid directly to young
researchers to carry out innovative projects in partnership with companies,
universities and centres of research can foster regional innovation and growth.

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2005-2007 PRELIMINARY RESULTS


 150 research projects under way;
 A study report due to be completed in the next months.
The 2005-2007 D4 Project is even more flexible and less bureaucratic than the
2002-2004 one, with the aim to create and develop a virtuous self-enforcing circle:
universities-centres of research/scientific parks-companies.
FINAL COMMENT
The D4 Project grant system has 2 important characteristics: direct swift payments
to researcher and a great degree of freedom to them to develop their projects.
It means that, with the supervision of a tutor, a young researcher can carry on his
activity working in a company and/or in a research centre or university.
Moreover, the grants to support the mobility of researchers inbound and outboud
Friuli Venezia Giulia, allow them to choose different solutions (companies,
universities, public or private research centres) located all over the world (outbound
mobility).

HR in ST – percentage of total population


1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
FVG 16,97 18,59 20,35 21,23 21,88 23,31 23,59

HR in ST – percentage of active population


1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
FVG 25,61 28,34 30,59 31,47 32,34 33,72 33,93

Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Administration


Head Office for Employment, High Education and Research
Strategic Planning Department
CONTACT
Via San Francesco 37
AND
34133 Trieste - Italy
REFERENCE
DATA
Felice Carta
Ph: +39 040 3775296
felice.carta@regione.fvg.it

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NAME OF THE
PROJECT
Regional Innovation Strategy Project

REGION South Transdanubia (Hungary)


TIME SCALE 2002 - 2004
The Regional Innovation Strategy (RIS) Project is a new programming method in the
Region South Transdanubian, co-ordinated by the South Transdanubian Regional
Development Agency (STRDA). The goal of the RIS project was the elaboration of
RATIONALE
a flexible framework programme that allows the increase of the competitiveness of
South Transdanubian enterprises through the optimisation of infrastructures and
regional innovation policies.
AREA OF
 Technology Transfer
INTEREST
The structure of the RIS aimed to create a coherent, mid-term (for the period until
2010) innovation-oriented strategy for the enterprise promotion, which includes
operative, concrete and detailed measures as well. These measures may serve as the
basis of future proposals of the enterprise development.
Overall Objectives
 Efficient co-operation between the economic and institutional actors interested in
innovation;
 Adaptive and flexible services in support of the innovation process;
 Economic sector groups capable of generating high profits and improving the
population’s quality of life;
 Competitive, market-oriented operation of the key industries in the Region.
Horizontal Objectives
 Concentrated knowledge bases and research potential, efficient and interactive
flow of information between the actors of the various sectors and the knowledge
bases;
 Development of network-type co-operations among the enterprises in the fields
of manufacturing, procurement and sales, based primarily on the use of
OBJECTIVES information technology;
 Development and operation of the vocational training, retraining and flexible
training systems that meet the needs of the industrial sectors;
 Development of an advisory system to foster the successful application of
innovations;
 Customised system to finance the innovation-related activities.
Sectoral Objectives
 A model region of high environmental quality with a competitive environmental
industry providing innovative services and products;
 Cultural industry with high profit generating capability;
 Health industry capable of the multilateral economic utilisation of the findings of
research in life sciences;
 Food industry producing high value added and manufacturing healthy foodstuffs;
 Oenology capable of preserving the traditional values of wine culture, making
high quality products and having a stable market share;
 Textile, clothing and leatherwear industry capable of developing own products;
 Machine, metal working and electronic industries with competitive products,
stable international business relations and market opportunities.
The analysis phase of the project was based around the setting-up of sectoral
KEY working groups (WGs) to review the current state of particular industries, and define
ACTIVITIES their development needs. The Steering Committee has selected six sectors: on the
one hand the traditional textile, food and mechanical engineering industries, which

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play a key role in the regional economy, and on the other hand the health, cultural
and environmental industries, which show considerable growth potential.
Based on the results of the sectoral working groups and on the outcomes of the
surveys on the innovation potential and innovation support services, the RIS
Managment Group developed the System of objectives and priorities of the Regional
Innovation Strategy in South Transdanubia (RIS-ST), following the programming
methodology of the European Union. The sectoral and horizontal priorities aim to
attain the defined objectives.
The Programme was co-ordinated by the South Transdanubian Regional
Development Agency (STRDA)
The members of the consortium were:
 Transdanubian Research Institute (of the Centre for Regional Studies, Hungarian
Academy of Sciences)
KEY ACTORS
 Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Technology Network Ltd. and
 Shannon Development.
The creation of the regional innovation policy took place with the participation of
the stakeholders of innovation development and of the business sector, the prominent
persons of the existing regional institutional system.
The project was supported within the 5th Framework Programme of the European
FUNDING
Union.
INFORMATION
Project size: 460.000 EUR, Total contribution: 345.000 EUR
 Sector based strategy according to the programming methodology of the
Structural Funds – most important financial resource for the Region;
 Increased co-operation of the regional innovation institutions and service
suppliers (approx. 20 institutions) – basis for the Regional Innovation Agency
(RIA) network;
OUTCOMES
 Accepted by the Regional Development Council as programming document of
the Region – increasing account of innovation policy within the regional
development policy;
 Basis for regional grant programmes and the South Transdanubian Regional
Operational Programme 2007-2013.
STRDA – South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency
CONTACT
Address: H-7621 Pécs, Mária u. 3. Hungary
AND
Anita Derjanecz
REFERENCE
Ph: +36 -72-513-766
DATA
derjane@ddrft.hu

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NAME OF THE
PROJECT
Development of the regional system of innovation support 2004-2005

REGION South Transdanubia (Hungary)


TIME SCALE 2005 - 2008
In accordance to the Regional Innovation Strategy of South Transdanubia the
regional innovation system should be developed. Out of this need, the Regional
RATIONALE
Innovation Agency (RIA), RIA Network and the Regional Innovation and Economy
Development Commitee(RIEDC) have been established.
AREA OF
 Technology Transfer
INTEREST
Both the political and the professional institutions in the region aim at supporting the
OBJECTIVES implementation of RIS and at the further development and co-ordination of the
regional innovation policy.
After having finished the Regional Innovation Strategy of South Transdanubia, a
Regional Innovation Agency (RIA) was set up as a division of the South
Transdanubian Regional Development Agency Public Utility Co. (STRDA), the
operative body of the Regional Development Council. After that in subsequence the
RIA Network and the Regional Innovation and Economy Development Commitee
KEY
(RIEDC) of the Regional Development Council were set up. A strategic point of the
ACTIVITIES
project was to involve already existing organisations, boosting the co-operation
between them and ensuring both the geographical and the professional representation
of them so that the SMEs in the region have a quick and easy access to the
innovation services. The consortium of the RIA-Network project was chosen in
accordance with the concept of the institutional framework of the RIS.
Already existing organisations acting in the field of innovation took part in the
KEY ACTORS
process.
The Regional Innovation Agency Network project was supported by the National
FUNDING
Research and Technology Innovation Fund.
INFORMATION
Project size: approx. 1.047.272 EUR, total contribution: 806.636 EUR
The impact of the RIS programme on the political and professional institutions in
the Region was the establishment of the Regional Innovation Agency (RIA) as a
division of the South Transdanubian Regional Development Agency Public Utility
Co. (STRDA), the RIA Network and the Regional Innovation and Economy
Development Commitee (RIEDC) of the Regional Development.
 RIA (Regional Innovation Agency) is a division of STRDA. The tasks of RIA
are the implementation of the RIS programming, the management of grant
programmes, project development, the initiation of international and
interregional projects, the operating of the Regional Innovation Database and the
co-ordination of the regional innovation network.
OUTCOMES  RIA Network is a network of universities and transfer organisations, which
provides innovation services, supports the innovative development of the SME-s
and the technology transfer.
 Regional Innovation and Economy Development Commitee (RIEDC) is a
decision preparatory organisation of the Regional Development Council. It’s a
unique body within the 5 committees of the Council in terms of the membership:
it consists not only of members of the council (regional politicians), but
representatives of the business sphere according to the RIS sectors. The members
have an in-depth knowledge of the innovation strategy of the region, several of
them were actively participating in the elaboration of the innovation strategy
itself. Tasks of RIEDC are the co-ordination of the regional innovation policy,

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the exploration of the innovation possibilities of the Region and the


establishment of co-operation with national organisations and similar
organisations in other regions.
STRDA – South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency
CONTACT
Address: H-7621 Pécs, Mária u. 3. - Hungary
AND
Anita Derjanecz
REFERENCE
Ph: +36 -72-513-766
DATA
derjane@ddrft.hu

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NAME OF THE Baross Programme - Support of the innovation developments of small


PROGRAMME and medium-sized enterprises in South Transdanubia (2005–)
REGION South Transdanubia (Hungary)
TIME SCALE 2005 - 2006 (- 2007)
The South Transdanubian Regional Development Council announced a tender, in
RATIONALE accordance with the content of the regional innovation strategy, for the support of
innovation developments of SMEs in the South Transdanubian region.
AREA OF
 Entrepreneurship – Start-ups
INTEREST
The programme aimed at the increase of the competitiveness of the businesses
through the support of the innovation development of small and medium-sized
enterprises, and the subsequent implementation of their developments in the South
Transdanubian Region, in accordance with the regional innovation strategy in the
following sectors:
OBJECTIVES
 Food industry and agricultural innovation
 Environment industry
 Health services
 Textile and leatherwear industry
 Mechanical -, metal -, electronics industry and computer science
The grant programme was developed and managed by RIA which tasks were the
following:
 development of the application forms;
 project development workshops, dissemination of information, consultation
KEY
services;
ACTIVITIES
 formal professional evaluation;
 co-ordination of the decision making;
 management of the project implementation, interim and ex-post project
monitoring.
The programme was managed by RIA and targeted to the businesses located in the
KEY ACTORS
Region.
The programme was supported by the National Research and Technology Innovation
Fund. The allocable resources of the tender program in 2005 reached 535 million
FUNDING
HUF (approximately 2 million EUR), which was the decentralised part of the
INFORMATION
innovation fund. In 2006, the programme has a budget of approximately 414 million
HUF (approx. 1,53 million EUR).
A total of 56 applications were submitted, with a total support demand of 984.874
thousand HUF (approximately 3 million EUR). According to the regional innovation
tender strategy of 2005, approved by the South Transdanubian Regional
Development Agency, the budget of the SME programme for 2005 was 535 million
HUF (approximately 2 million EUR), which was used to support 32 applications, by
16.7 million HUF (approximately 60.000 EUR) per application on the average.
Projects that were mostly supported dealt with mechanical-, metal-, electronics
OUTCOMES
industry and computer science (35%), food industry and agricultural innovation
(31%) and health services (28%).
STRDA won a price for managing this programme in the category “supporting
enterprises “in the competition “European Entrepreneur Award”.

The programme was further developed and re-launched in September 2006.


Total budget approx. 1,48 million EUR

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Number of submitted applications: 40


Total support demand: approx. 2,22 million EUR
Decision about the supported projects: December 2006.
STRDA – South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency
CONTACT
Address: H-7621 Pécs, Mária u. 3. - Hungary
AND
Anita Derjanecz
REFERENCE
Ph: +36 -72-513-766
DATA
derjane@ddrft.hu

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NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
EU Phare 96 and 97 Regional Pilot Programme Fund

REGION South Transdanubia (Hungary)


TIME SCALE 1996 - 2001
This was the first regional programme fund supported from the EU pre-accession
fund that the Union designed for economic development purposes. It was organically
followed by the 97 Phare programme that already featured the establishment of
RATIONALE
innovation institutions among its selected priorities. These programmes served as a
kind of preparation process for the use of the resources available after the EU
accession.
AREA OF
 Technology Transfer
INTEREST
Among the basic principles of the tender system, innovation is a selected priority:
”As a result of the co-operation of the organisations involved in the development of
OBJECTIVES
the region, new projects should be implemented that offer new, innovative solutions
for the most important problems of the region.”
The activities eligible for support in the component called ‘Technology and
innovation centres’ within the ‘Industrial restructuring’ part in the call for tenders
were:
KEY
 Establishment of new technology and innovation centres;
ACTIVITIES
 Implementation of developments promoting the adaptation of R&D results in
practice at new or existing research centres, or technology and innovation
centres.
 Chamber of Commerce of Pécs-Baranya
 Innovation and Technology Development Centre (Pécs Industrial Park)
 Kapos Innovation Centre (Dombóvár Industrial Park)
KEY ACTORS
 University of Kaposvár (former Pannon Agricultural University)
 Onkoradiological Centre - University of Kaposvár
The beneficiaries are now members of the RIA network.
The resources of the programme were the EU Phare pre-accession fund before the
accession of Hungary to the EU.
FUNDING
5 supported projects concerning the development of innovation infrastructure and
INFORMATION
technology transfer services have been implemented.
Total project size of the 5 projects: approx. 1.658 Mio. EUR
Within the framework of this programme 5 projects were supported, all of them
aimed at developing R&D infrastructure and innovation services. All of the
supported organisations are presently operating as members of the Regional
Innovation Agency:
Creation of a Regional Innovation Centre in Pécs
The primary objective of the establishment of the Innovation Centre is the
OUTCOMES strengthening of innovation transfer processes, the co-operation between economy
and the university and academic sector, and the innovation and technology transfer
mechanisms. The project had a budget of € 215.788, from which the office
equipment procurement of the Innovation Centre, trainings on property rights and
copyright for businesses, and the innovation manager training programme were
financed. The Innovation Centre is a member of the Regional Innovation Agency
now.

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Foundation of Kapos Innovation and Transfer Centre in the Industrial Park of


Dombóvár-Kaposszekcsı
The unutilised former Soviet barracks possessed by the Local Government of
Kaposszekcsı was suitable for the foundation of an Innovation. The Centre can
promote the exploitation of possibilities lying in technology transfer, the
strengthening of enterprises suitable for catching-up, and thus it can have an effect
on the economic development of the region. The goals of the project are the
establishment of an innovation transfer centre in Kaposszekcsı, the formation of the
centre’s operating conditions, and the connection of the centre’s activity to the
economic development activity of the Industrial Park of Dombóvár-Kaposszekcsı.
Total budget amounts to 684,880 EUR. Phare support contracted reached 256,800
EUR. At the moment this Innovation Transfer Centre belongs to the Regional
Innovation Agency Network.
Establishment of a Technology Development Centre in the Pécs Industrial Park
The project was supported within the framework of the EU PHARE HU9705
Regional Pilot Programme Fund, the support was used for the financing of the
realisation of certain parts of the Innovation Centre. The centre was opened in 2002.
The total project budget amounted to € 694.000. The Centre is a member of the
Regional Innovation Agency now.
Oncoradiological decentre investment
The objective of the project was the implementation of the oncoradiological centre
operating in the premises of the University of Kaposvár, which improves health care
provision and radiobiological research in South Transdanubia. The total project
budget was 397,580 Euro.
Establishment of an Innovation Consulting Centre with the coordination of the
Agricultural University of Kaposvár
The activity of the Innovation Centre aims at the improvement of the conditions of
technology transfer for the production of high quality animal products.
Further objectives are the spread of environment friendly animal husbandry
technologies and the improvement of the information background of the small and
medium-sized enterprises. The project size was € 93.823, from which the
informatics system and the laboratory background of the quality assurance were
financed.
STRDA – South Transdanubian Regional Innovation Agency
CONTACT
Address: H-7621 Pécs, Mária u. 3. - Hungary
AND
Anita Derjanecz
REFERENCE
Ph: +36 -72-513-766
DATA
derjane@ddrft.hu

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NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
Consulting Services

REGION Styria (Austria)


TIME SCALE 2000 - 2006
The programme “Consulting Services” offers consulting to enterprises in different
fields of activity. Enterprises, especially SMEs, face a lack in the issues that are
RATIONALE
targeted by this programme; in general, SMEs do not offer solutions in-house, that is
why external support is needed.
AREA OF
 New Product Development - Innovation
INTEREST
 Provide consulting in the field of business management, environment and
innovation;
OBJECTIVES  Support enterprises in exploiting their innovation potential;
 Increase the dynamic economic development in the Region Styria by supporting
competitiveness of enterprises and boosting their innovation activities.
The programme offers consulting services to industrial/commercial manufacturing
businesses, innovative business-to-business enterprises or inter-regionally operating
service enterprises, businesses in the fields of new media or information and
communication technologies (ICT).
In specific, financial aid for consulting services may be granted for the following
projects that go beyond usual day-to-day business operations:
 Business management
- development of new markets, market research, market strategies;
- integrated marketing concepts
- integrated situation analyses of operational performance, concept for
KEY
improvements
ACTIVITIES
- selected quality management tools
 Technology
- employment of new products and innovative technologies in the
enterprise
- industrial design
- patents (e.g. research)
 Environment
- resource optimisation and emission reduction
- optimisation of internal supply chain
- environmental management systems
The programme is managed by Steirische Wirtschaftsförderung (SFG) and is
KEY ACTORS
addressed to the enterprises with their headquarter or main location based in Styria.
FUNDING The programme funds 50% of costs arose from external consultant costs. The total
INFORMATION amount of funding is between 10.000 Euro and 100.000 Euro.
OUTCOMES Approximately 1.300 projects have been initiated.
Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft mbH – SFG
CONTACT
Nikolaiplatz 2 - 8020 Graz (Austria)
AND
Sabine Prossneg
REFERENCE
Ph: +43 316/7093-0
DATA
www.sfg.at

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NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
Impetus Centres

REGION Styria (Austria)


TIME SCALE 2000 - 2006
The programme funds the establishment of Impetus Centres which can be described
also as technology parks. These centres offer facilities to enterprises and provide
also financial support in order to ease the entrepreneurship in the Region.
RATIONALE
Impetus Centres represent a location where synergy effects between companies are
enormous. They can be interpreted as small clusters or networks and act sometimes
together on the market.
AREA OF
 Entrepreneurship – Start-ups
INTEREST
 Providing an ideal infrastructure and financial relief to enterprises;
 Establishing new contacts and co-operations for enterprises located in the region;
OBJECTIVES
 Supporting the marketing activities of the enterprises through image creation;
 Motivating entrepreneurs and employers in terms of innovation and qualification.
The programme of the Impetus Centres established a network of technology parks,
foundation- and innovation centres which assist innovative enterprises throughout
their whole working process, from the period of foundation until the period of
growth. Each Impetus Centre works technology oriented and is focused on a specific
industry branch, aiming at providing ideal general conditions for a stimulating
business environment. Consequently, the Impetus Centres give strong impulses to
enterprises and thus the whole Region in terms of a successful future.

Projects that are eligible within the programme are:


 Consulting services and feasibility studies;
 Establishment and expansion of Impetus Centres, i.e. Technology and Start-Up
Centres etc.;
 Measures to link and emphasise regionally important initiatives.
KEY Eligible costs are those directly associated with the project:
ACTIVITIES  planning costs;
 construction investments incl. necessary site preparations;
 communication facilities, i.e. telecommunication, seminar rooms etc.;
 shared R&D facilities, i.e. laboratory and test facilities, measuring instruments
etc.;
 costs of measures to link and emphasise Impetus Centres or regionally important
initiatives;
 land acquisition costs are only eligible in special cases.
Applicants must demonstrate through supporting documents the technical and
economic feasibility of the project as well as its economic efficiency and its
additional and sustainable effects to the region’s economic development. Moreover,
they must show accordance with the principles of sound financial management,
compliance with the relevant regulations and evidence of the professional
competencies and qualifications required to complete the proposed project.
The programme is managed by Steirische Wirtschaftsförderung (SFG).
The clients may be public or public-private businesses as well as holding bodies of
KEY ACTORS
Impetus Centres whose projects aim at establishing or enlarging Impetus Centres, i.e.
Technology and Start-up Centres etc., focussing on technology and services.
FUNDING The programme funds rental costs. Seminars and conferences are free for companies
INFORMATION that are located in the Impetus Centre.

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OUTCOMES 74 projects have been funded by the Impetus programme.


Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft mbH – SFG
CONTACT
Nikolaiplatz 2 - 8020 Graz (Austria)
AND
Sabine Prossneg
REFERENCE
Ph: +43 316/7093-0
DATA
www.sfg.at

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NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
Skills Development of Qualified Employees

REGION Styria (Austria)


TIME SCALE 2000 - 2006
Permanent training and a high level of qualification are very important ingredients to
realise ambitious corporate visions and business objectives. The dynamic economic
development of the 90ies brought new challenges for small and medium enterprises
with regard to the training of their staff. Know-how and qualification had to be
RATIONALE
adapted to the quickly changing economic conditions to meet the rising expectations
of their clients.
The programme supports an efficient and goal-oriented training which will help to
strengthen competitiveness of the company and the competences of the staff.
AREA OF
 Development of Human Resources in Science and Technology
INTEREST
The aim of this programme is to further raise and broaden the skills level of the
qualified employees, key employees and executives existing in an enterprise by
OBJECTIVES
providing financial assistance for high-quality continuing training schemes that are
adapted to the needs of the individual enterprise.
The following projects and costs are eligible for funding:
Qualified employees, key employees and executives who have been nominated by
their company as well as entrepreneurs may take advantage of training measures. All
external costs linked to the skills development of qualified employees, key
employees and executives are considered eligible. Qualification measures must
include at least 30 units of 45 minutes each and project costs of at least EUR 800
respectively. After project completion all training participants will be required to
KEY
submit their participation certificates/certificates or other corresponding documents.
ACTIVITIES
Institutions and centres providing training courses must demonstrate that they are
qualified to offer such courses. They must show evidence of their teaching staff’s
professional skills by enclosing appropriate documents, i.e. CVs, institution profiles
etc., to the application form. Within the framework of this programme, the following
costs are not considered eligible: internal personnel costs, travel costs as well as
skills development costs which incurred before submitting the grant application
form.
The programme is managed by Steirische Wirtschaftsförderung (SFG). Beneficiaries
KEY ACTORS may be natural persons or legal entities as well as partnerships according to private
and commercial law.
Beneficiaries may be natural persons or legal entities as well as partnerships
according to private and commercial law, which possess the required trading licence
or any other relevant permission.
These may be:
 manufacturing enterprises in the field of industry and commerce
 innovation-oriented business-to-business or inter-regionally operating enterprises
FUNDING of the service industry as well as
INFORMATION  information and communication technology companies
provided that
 their headquarters or establishment for which financial assistance is applied for is
situated in Styria and that the training participants are permanently employed at
the company’s location in Styria and that
 they are categorised as micro, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
according to the recommendation of the European Commission of May 6, 2003

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which regards the definition of micro- small and medium-sized businesses


(Official Journal L 124 of May 20, 2003).
Not eligible for financial assistance within the framework of this Action Programme
are companies operating in the fields of tourism and leisure, temporary staff agencies
and enterprises in which the public sector participates directly or indirectly with 25
% or more. Further, SFG reserves the right to exclude also other sectors from the
programme.
Companies are not eligible for support if they fulfil the prerequisites for a business
reorganisation process according to the Unternehmensreorganisationsgesetz
(Business Reorganisation Law), i.e. significant and progressive deterioration of the
equity quota, insolvency, prerequisites for an opening of insolvency proceedings, or
if an insolvency proceeding is pending.
What kind of financial assistance is available and up to what intensity?
The eligible project costs per training participant amount to a maximum of EUR
30,000 for the whole duration of the programme.
 The aid intensity for enterprises located in the New Objective 2 and Phasing Out
area amounts to:
 70 % for general training
 40 % for special training
For enterprises situated in the New Objective 2 area half of the grant is co-financed
by the ESF.
 For enterprises located in Greater Graz:
 35 % for general training
 20 % for special training
OUTCOMES 1.254 projects have been funded by the programme.
Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft mbH – SFG
CONTACT
Nikolaiplatz 2 - 8020 Graz (Austria)
AND
Sabine Prossneg
REFERENCE
Ph: +43 316/7093-0
DATA
www.sfg.at

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NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
Start up entrepreneurs

REGION Styria (Austria)


TIME SCALE 2000 - 2006
The Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft mbH – SFG (Styrian Business
Promotion Agency) aims at providing substantial support for start-up and early-stage
RATIONALE businesses that, through their economic and performance potential, contribute to
boost the Styrian economy and to create new employment opportunities. Therefore,
increasing the number of start-ups in Styria is at the centre of SFG’s activities.
AREA OF
 Entrepreneurship – Start-ups
INTEREST
The aim of the programme is to provide support to a new establishment or the
OBJECTIVES starting-up of an activity contributing to a fundamental change in product
management or production.
There are three different types of start-up entrepreneurs within the target group of
the programme:
 the business start-up entrepreneur:
sets up a business for the first time in the field of trade and industry such as
commercial manufacturing enterprises, craft enterprises, trading companies or
other service enterprises etc.;
 the innovative start-up entrepreneur:
sets up a business for the first time in innovative, technology-oriented and other
promising fields and/or introduces products and services that feature substantial
improvements or innovations compared to his/her competitors in the respective
region.
• the innovative start-up entrepreneur of large-scale enterprises:
is an innovative start-up entrepreneur who makes major investments (from EUR
77.777) in fixed assets.
Persons taking over a business are given the same status as business start-up
KEY entrepreneurs and are granted access to funding. Into this category fall also persons
ACTIVITIES who possessed a trading licence prior to the application – and therefore had already
been self-employed – provided that these persons accept the entire risk when taking
over a business and pursue no other occupation.
Projects and costs that are eligible
Eligible costs are identifiable as specific costs directly linked to and necessary for
carrying out the project.
These may be:
 Consulting services;
 Plant and machinery;
 Office equipment and furniture;
 Construction (up to 25 % of the total of the above-mentioned eligible costs).
The economic efficiency of the project must be demonstrated through supporting
documents. Moreover, applicants must show accordance with the principles of sound
financial management, compliance with the relevant regulations and evidence of the
professional competencies and qualifications required to complete the proposed
project.
The programme is managed by Steirische Wirtschaftsförderung (SFG).
The clients are persons who intend to set up their own business or who have started a
KEY ACTORS new business for the first time in the last three years. With public limited companies
this criterion must apply to the majority of equity-holders, with partnerships to the
majority of partners.

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What kind of financial assistance is available and up to what intensity?


Grant for consulting services up to EUR 6.666
 Grant for Consulting Services for integrated business-take over plans:
- 50 % of the external costs for a qualified consultant, up to a maximum of
EUR 5,555 for preparing and supporting the take-over process of an
innovative enterprise.
 Grant for consulting services for integrated business plans:
- 50 % of the external costs for a qualified consultant, up to a maximum of
EUR 3,333 for drawing up an integrated business plan as well as for
coaching services in the course of the start-up phase based on the
business plan.
 Grant for consulting services for integrated marketing plans:
- 50 % of the external costs for a qualified consultant, up to a maximum of
EUR 4,444 for drawing up an integrated marketing plan as well as for
coaching services in the course of the implementation of the marketing
plan.
 Grant for consulting services for technology and innovation plans:
- 50 % of the external costs for a qualified consultant, up to a maximum of
EUR 6,666 for drawing up a technology and innovation plan, e.g. costs
for consulting services linked to the development of new products and/or
services, feasibility studies.
Start-Up Bonus
The start-up bonus is a grant designed to cover a part of the costs directly incurred in
FUNDING the course of setting up a business. Applications for this bonus must be submitted
INFORMATION within six months after the start-up of an enterprise.
 start-up bonus for business start-up entrepreneurs
- In addition to the 7% bonus made available by Austria Wirtschaftsservice
GmbH, a special Styria bonus of 5% is granted to business start-up
entrepreneurs on the basis of the guidelines of the Austria
Wirtschaftsservice GmbH. In order to apply for this 5% bonus, business
start-up entrepreneurs must submit a copy of their application form for
the 7% bonus to the Styrian Business Promotion Agency
 start-up bonus for innovative start-up entrepreneurs
- up to a maximum of 50 % of the eligible project costs; maximum ceiling:
EUR 22,222.
 start-up bonus for innovative start-up entrepreneurs of large-scale enterprises
- up to a maximum of 37,4 % of the eligible project costs; maximum
ceiling EUR 33,333.
If in conjunction with the project disabled persons are employed, as laid down in the
Disabled Employment Act (Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz – BEinstG), a bonus
ranging from 1 to 3 percentage points may be granted. The percentage granted
depends on whether the enterprise fulfils or exceeds its quota of disabled persons
that must be employed, i.e. 1 % bonus if quota is not fulfilled, 2 % bonus if quota is
fulfilled , 3 % bonus if quota is exceeded.
If a disabled person, as laid down in the Disabled Employment Act
(Behinderteneinstellungsgesetz – BEinstG), starts up a business, a bonus of 4 % may
be granted.
OUTCOMES Per year approximately 500 projects are supported.
Steirische Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft mbH – SFG
CONTACT
Nikolaiplatz 2 - 8020 Graz (Austria)
AND
Sabine Prossneg
REFERENCE
Ph: +43 316/7093-0
DATA
www.sfg.at

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NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
EUREKA

REGION Slovenia
The programme started in 1994 and is still running. It will run at least until 2010
TIME SCALE (this is one of the aims within the Slovenian National Research and Development
Programme).
The main problem of the Slovenian economy in the past was the very weak
knowledge transfer environment. Therefore, companies did not have a strong support
to be innovative. It was a too high risk for companies to collaborate in European
RATIONALE
industrial /applicable - research projects without scientific institutes’ background.
EUREKA project and its application conditions provide an opportunity to solve this
kind of problems.
AREA OF
 New Product Development - Innovation
INTEREST
 Increasing the collaboration of Slovenian enterprises in the European EUREKA
program by the co - funding of innovative/applicable projects;
OBJECTIVES  Enhancing the European competitiveness through the support to businesses,
research centres and universities who carry out pan-European projects to develop
innovative products, processes and services.
Through its flexible and decentralised Network, EUREKA offers project partners
rapid access to a wealth of knowledge, skills and expertise across Europe and
facilitates access to national public and private funding schemes.
The internationally recognised EUREKA label adds value to a project and gives
participants a competitive edge in their dealings with financial, technical and
KEY
commercial partners.
ACTIVITIES
Through an EUREKA project, partners (companies and institutes of knowledge )
develop new technologies and products with higher added value for which they
agree the Intellectual Property Rights and build partnerships to penetrate new
markets. Project can be run as an individual one or a project in the frame of clusters
or umbrellas. Each project can last max. 3 years with the possibility to extend it.
Slovenian Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology
KEY ACTORS
Target groups are companies and institutes of knowledge.
The project is run by the Slovenian Ministry of Higher Education, Science and
Technology that covers
FUNDING
25 % of all justified costs for Slovenian research and development activities in the
INFORMATION
frame of an Eureka project. For each project - including all Slovenian partners – the
funding is limited and it amounts to ca. 50.000 EUR.
Slovenia has been taking part in EUREKA since 1994. There are approximately 50
projects running at the moment, which places Slovenia on the second position
regarding a successful participation in the programme EUREKA.
The project gives applicable results for companies, because it has to be innovative
and market oriented. Therefore it forces companies into research and economy
development.
OUTCOMES The EUREKA programme leads to the following outcomes:
 transfer of knowledge from institutes/universities to companies;
 development of new products or technologies in the Slovenian companies, with
emphasis on the innovative products/technology progress;
 increase of the cooperation between the scientific-research environment and
economy;
 increase of the cooperation between Slovenian and EU partners (at least two

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Annex

partners are needed from abroad);


 Integration of companies as well as institutes (universities) into the European
area;
 Presenting Slovenian companies to the European region.
On the base of this kind of programme the companies are supported and encouraged
into economy growth.
CONTACT Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology
AND Trg OF 13 - 1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
REFERENCE Erik Potocar
DATA erik.potocar@gov.si

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NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
YOUNG RESEARCHER FOR INDUSTRY

REGION Slovenia
The programme started in 2002 and is still running. It will be run at least until 2010
TIME SCALE (this is one of the aims within Slovenian National Research and Development
Programme).
Most of the companies in Slovenia that collaborated with the institutes of knowledge
have developed or created highly technological products. Therefore, the priority has
to be to keep a good and continuously bond between these two partners, which will
then lead to a better and easier fluctuation of cadre from industry to knowledge
institution and vice versa. The programme of “young researcher for industry” was
created to provide a good platform where young candidates can receive great
experiences in the industry during their PhD educations. That will make it easier for
RATIONALE them to cope with the challenges of innovative products or technologies.
One of the things that a candidate does is to make a good foundation for
development of specific products and technologies in the company and then to link
up the same company with appropriate research institutions. The proven fact is that
the young and highly educated people are necessarily needed in order to establish a
research division in companies, which is the first step to produce products of added
value. Conducted analyses showed that Slovenian companies are still weak on their
own research division set up.
AREA OF
 Development of Human Resources in Science and Technology
INTEREST
 To build conditions for an effective transfer knowledge environment;
 To obtain a higher education level of people employed in the industry;
OBJECTIVES
 To enrich the companies with young educated people;
 To increase the research division set up in companies.
Financing postgraduate study and research training for young researchers from
industry is an important policy instrument in Slovenia. Young researcher candidates
can be applied by a legal or natural person (exactly by its research group) who is
involved into economic activity according to the valid law. The research group has
to be registered in evidence of its research performance and development activity at
the Slovenian Research Agency.
The Emphasis (or stress) of the programme is focused on the research work and
KEY
problems which are of interest and importance for the companies, the aim is however
ACTIVITIES
that young researchers become accustomed to the new conditions in the economic
society.
Features of the industry young researcher programme are:
 Young researchers participate in research work in the companies during their
postgraduate studies;
 They are involved into applied research projects;
 They have regular, fixed-term employment contracts.
The project has been running by the Slovenian Research Agency. The Agency
KEY ACTORS finances the pay, social contributions as well as material and non-material costs for
research and postdoctoral study.
Funds for the training of “young researchers for industry” are allocated for a fixed-
term, up to a maximum of four years and six months for a science PhD programme
FUNDING
(doctorate). The average annual cost of financing one young researcher is SIT 6.6
INFORMATION
million (ca. EUR 27.500). It is financed by the Slovenian Research Agency.

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The ”Economy Competitive” position is dependent on business activity and


innovation capacity. The deciding factor for both is knowledge transfer, which
results in the introduction of advanced and/or new technologies. This programme
sets up conditions for an effective transfer knowledge environment, which is at the
moment weak in Slovenia.
The program results into:
OUTCOMES  Intensively knowledge transfer from the scientific-research environment into
economy environment;
 Higher education level at companies;
 Strengthening of companies’ research group with young and high educated
people;
 The establishment of permanently links between companies and research
institutes.
CONTACT Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS)
AND Tivolska cesta 30 - 1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
REFERENCE Marjana Bertoncelj
DATA Marjanca.Bertoncelj@arrs.si

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NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
Centre of Excellence

REGION Slovenia
TIME SCALE 2004-2006 ( - 2008)
A Centre of Excellence brings together people from the scientific-research
environment and the economy environment in order to improve the Slovenian
innovation system and therewith the activities in the frame of different research-
RATIONALE
technological projects. With its activities the programme aims at reaching the Lisbon
Strategy and Barcelona objectives through innovative projects based on the transfer
of knowledge.
AREA OF
 Technology Transfer
INTEREST
The programme supports the development of new technologies at priority areas of
research and technological progress which are in particular:
 Telecommunication technology;
 New and advanced materials;
OBJECTIVES
 Biotechnology;
 Pharmacy;
 Technology for the stableness of the economy (environmental technologies);
 Leading technologies in process control and measurement,…
At least three partners have to apply for a Centre of Excellence – project. The group
of at least three partners has to comprise obligatory a company/companies. The
supporting investor of a Centre of Excellence (partner/coordinator of the project
responsible for research activities) – project is a public institute which fulfils the
conditions to perform research activities. The partners are obliged to realise the
following operative aims in the field of knowledge and technology transfer:
 New products;
KEY
 New technologies;
ACTIVITIES
 New patent;
 New jobs;
 etc.
A Centre of Excellence is much more than a programme office because it remit is to
provide a continuous overview across the department’s portfolio of programmes,
therefore its activity is not just the co-ordination and reporting on the programmes
but also the challenge of what must be delivered and how it has to be delivered.
The project is run by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology and
KEY ACTORS
the Ministry for Economy.
The Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology in cooperation with the
FUNDING
Ministry of Economy are exhausting financial sources from the European Regional
INFORMATION
Development Fund. In total, 15.367.388 EUR is available for this programme.
On the basis of this programme, international competitiveness of the Slovenian
economy and the Slovenian’s GDP will grow. Until today the following results can
be highlighted:
10 Centres of Excellence have been established, through which has been achieved:
 Intensively knowledge transfer into products and technologies with high added
OUTCOMES
value;
 Increase in applicable research investment at the priority areas of technological
development and research;
 Strengthening of R&T co-operation and its mobility as well as higher education
level at companies.

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Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology


CONTACT
Trg OF 13 - 1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)
AND
REFERENCE
Ministry of Economy
DATA
Kotnikova 5 - 1000 Ljubljana (Slovenia)

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Annex

NAME OF THE
PROJECT
Insular Regions Knowledge TRACKer – IN.TRACK

REGION Crete (Greece)


TIME SCALE April 2004 – November 2005
Knowledge is becoming the defining characteristic of economic activities and
society is increasingly structured on the basis of knowledge being specialised and of
knowledge people being specialists. Moreover, there is a growing belief that
knowledge can do more than increase economic growth; it can also lead to structural
RATIONALE
change in an economy and therefore society. Knowledge today is still uneven in its
geographical incidence; the project IN.TRACK facilitated the adjustment of such
shortcoming by promoting the formulation of knowledge-based regional policies,
ensuring the support of local actors and stakeholders.
AREA OF
 Networking – Clustering
INTEREST
IN.TRACK pursued four main objectives:
 Evaluation/assessment of the central role of knowledge in 4 peripheral less
favoured European regions characterised by insularity – the Canary Islands,
Madeira, Crete and Sicily;
 Diagnosis of 4 insular regions’ state-of the art in innovation and technology
policies and launch of a professional awareness process enhancing the build-up
OBJECTIVES
of “regions of knowledge” concept;
 Ensuring the active participation of key cross-regional socio-economic
stakeholders in order to generate a shared vision amongst the 4 targeted Regions
in terms of peripheral/insular knowledge-based development and policy options;
 Development of an inter-Regional Network, sharing a cooperative model and
enhancing the exchange of learning and experiences.
IN.TRACK promoted the implementation of the knowledge-based economy and
society in 4 European regions characterised by insularity.
In this context, each involved Region realised:
 A Technology Audit for the Region (Regional Evaluation Report), in order to
evaluate the role knowledge plays within the Region;
 A Regional European Awareness Scenario Workshop (EASW), a participatory
consensus-based methodology and a systematic approach that can be shared and
KEY
eventually transferred to other regions (insular and non) in Europe;
ACTIVITIES
 A Regional Knowledge Building Strategic Action Plan, leading to self-sustaining
blueprints, specifically addressing insular Regions’ challenges in building
knowledge-based development and innovative policy approaches.
Based on the above a ‘Comparative Analysis Report’ contrasted the similarities and
unique elements of each Region.
Finally, a ‘Collective Vision for Insular Regions Knowledge-Based Development’
was developed and presented at an event at Brussels.
The project partners represented their Regional Authorities. IN.TRACK project
partners were:
 Instituto Tecnologico de Canarias (ITC), Spain - project coordinator:
The Canary Islands Technological Institute (ITC) is a public enterprise, created
by the Government of the Canaries whose main objective is promoting and
KEY ACTORS
supporting the technological and innovation development within the
arcipelago;
 Consorzio Catania Ricerche (CCR), Italy:
Consorzio Catania Ricerche is a non-profit Institute created to be an effective
link among academic research and local industries; its main aims are know-

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how transfer, technological innovation spreading, applied research, advanced


training, services for companies and territorial development in Sicily.
 Science and Technology Park of Crete (STEP-C), Greece:
The Science and Technology Park of Crete (STEP-C) was founded by the
Foundation of Research & Technology – Hellas (FORTH) one of the largest
research centres in Greece in 1993. Its main goals are: exploitation of academic
research; incubation of high-tech start-ups; training and enhancement of
entrepreneurship and regional development.
 Centro de Empresas e Inovacao da Madeira (CEIM), Portugal:
The Madeira Business and Innovation Centre (CEIM /BIC Madeira ) is an
enterprise with public and private shareholders, mostly owned by the Regional
Government of Madeira through its Vice Presidency, whose main objective is
promoting and supporting innovation in regional SMEs and in Madeira Region.
The project was co-funded (50%) by the European Commission under the Pilot
FUNDING
Programme “Regions of Knowledge”. The total budget is € 430.000. For the Region
INFORMATION
of Crete (FORTH STEP-C) the budget is € 84.157.
IN.TRACK awarded as one of the best projects under the Pilot Action “Regions of
Knowledge”.
One of the project’s main outcomes has been the preparation of Regional
Knowledge Building Action Plans, one for each region, which provide in the first
place, a detailed snapshot of the region’s potential, its unique opportunities and
challenges and, in a second step, a series of approaches and solutions – shared by the
local stakeholders – that are expected to help regional policymakers to take strategic
decisions with regards to the challenges to be faced in the development of
institutions, information and innovation systems, education and human resources
and other areas crucial for the development of a knowledge-based economy.
OUTCOMES
These Action Plans are the result of the EASW events held in each region during the
period December 2004-March 2005, which counted with the participation of over
100 stakeholders (policy-makers, businessmen, university professors, researchers,
environmental associations, citizen associations, SMEs representatives). The efforts
of the key stakeholders in the four regions produced a total of 19 proposals of
innovative actions to be implemented in order to accelerate the development of the
knowledge-based economy in these territories.
A Collective Vision for Insular Regions Knowledge-Based Development has been
produced and presented at the Regions of Knowledge premises of the European
Commission at Brussels.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY PARK OF CRETE
CONTACT
P.O. BOX 1447 - 71110, Heraklion - CRETE, GREECE
AND
Kostas Galanakis,
REFERENCE
Ph: +30 2810 391907
DATA
kgal@stepc.gr

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NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
University Students Entrepreneurship (UNISTEP)

REGION Crete (Greece)


TIME SCALE January 2004 – December 2005
UNISTEP is one of the 13 sub-programmes of the programme “Crete Innovation
Region (CRINNO) 2000-2006”. CRINNO tends to support with its sub-programmes
RATIONALE the development of the regional economy based on knowledge and technology
innovation and to create a regional identity and an environment of continuous
development.
AREA OF
 Entrepreneurship – Start-ups
INTEREST
UNISTEP, the “Incubator of Ideas of University Students” objective is the creation
of a favourable environment for the growth of entrepreneurial culture to students of
OBJECTIVES the Higher Education Institutes in order to:
 enhance entrepreneurship between the University students in Crete;
 support selected student ideas in order to be transformed to prototype products.
 Training of the University students in areas such as entrepreneurship, business
finance, business plan development, business legal issues;
KEY  Support selected student ideas providing seed capital, labs, workspace, materials,
ACTIVITIES and specialised technical support to transform these ideas to a prototype product;
 Create a ‘Business Angels’ Network to support students to promote their ideas to
the market.
 Technical University of Crete
 University of Crete
KEY ACTORS
 Foundation of Research & Technology – Hellas / Science & Technology Park of
Crete
UNISTEP is funded by the Regional Innovation Programme “Crete Innovative
FUNDING Region (CRINNO) 2000-2006”
INFORMATION The total budget of the fund is € 400.000. The maximum amount for funding for
each student idea is € 6.000. The student ideas were in total 20.
 Training of 80 students;
 Creation of 10 work-places at partner premises for students to develop their
OUTCOMES ideas;
 Creation of 20 prototype products;
 Network of Business Angels.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY PARK OF CRETE
CONTACT P.O. BOX 1447 - 71110, Heraklion - CRETE, GREECE
AND Artemis Saitakis
REFERENCE Ph: +30 2810 391908
DATA saitakis@stepc.gr

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NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
Pancreta Development Fund

REGION Crete (Greece)


TIME SCALE Started in 2005 and is still ongoing.
Pancreta Development Fund is the first regional venture capital fund in Greece. The
fund creates a funding source for high-risk entrepreneurial incentives, completing
RATIONALE
the financial instruments on the island. The fund represents an instrument to attract
investment proposals to the Region that otherwise would be proposed to other areas.
AREA OF
 Raising public and private funds
INTEREST
The fund aims at providing a venture capital fund to SMEs and new initiatives by
OBJECTIVES entrepreneurs in Crete, mainly in high-tech activities, innovative ideas, alternative
tourism development and exploitation of local resources.
The venture capital fund supports the entrepreneurship through the subsidisation of
the creation of new firms at the industrial or service sector. Focus is been given at
the regional development and the coverage of local market needs. Furthermore,
specific attention is given to proposals that use new technologies targeting at the
creation of SMEs with high growth potential.
KEY
In specific, the applicant should invest in the Region of Crete and be a SME. The
ACTIVITIES
priority of investment is to new technologies, high innovative ideas, alternative
tourism services and regional competencies.
The fund does not invest in sectors such as: Ship building, Coal or Steel industry,
Automobile manufacturers or parts, Real Estate, Gambling, or firms that have
suspended their operations.
The creation of new technology firms is supported by:
 The Pancreta Cooperative Bank
KEY ACTORS  NEDF (New Economy Development Fund SA)
 The 4 Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Crete
 The University of Crete
Co-Funded by the New Economy Development Fund (50%) and the Pancreta
FUNDING
Cooperative Bank (50%).
INFORMATION
The total budget of the fund is € 6.000.000.
OUTCOMES There is no fund yet to any proposal, but several ones are investigated.
Pancreta Ventures
CONTACT
Yannis Sifakis
AND
Managing Director
REFERENCE
Ph: +30 2810 338808
DATA
sifakis@pancretabank.gr

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NAME OF THE
INITIATIVE
BIC Canarias

REGION Canary Islands (Spain)


TIME SCALE BIC Canarias is working as a Business Innovation Centre since 2002.
One of the main results of the studies developed by The Canary Government and the
Canary Islands Institute of Technology during the last years (RIIS, RTD Integrated
Plan, IN.TRACK Project, etc.) is the necessity of creating a Knowledge Economy
which could generate business sectors in Canary Islands able to be competitive in the
RATIONALE global market, and therefore overcoming the barriers of the insular and peripheral
conditions. Furthermore, the evidence of a big amount of university students and the
difficulties of starting a new base of technology companies makes the creation of
tools essential in order to support the early years of the starting-up of new
companies.
AREA OF
 Entrepreneurship – Start-ups
INTEREST
BIC Canarias was set up with the aim of promoting the generation of wealth and
employment in the Canary Islands by means of support for entrepreneurs with
innovative business initiatives through professional and competitive consultancy and
infrastructure for:
1. The creation of innovative businesses, including the dissemination of
entrepreneurial culture in the civil society.
OBJECTIVES
2. Consultancy to existing technology-based SMEs for the development of new
innovative activities and to give an impulse to their possibilities of business
cooperation at international level. The collaboration with the public
administration in the generation of policies and regulations aimed at favouring
the creation and consolidation of these Innovative Technology-Based
Companies.
The activities of BIC Canarias can be divided in two main phases:
Pre- incubation
 BIC’s promotion (mass media and specific promotions to potential
entrepreneurs)
 Search of projects: collaboration with universities, monitoring of RTD results of
the Region, competitions of ideas, etc.
 Business Plan and diagnosis
 Selection by a committee made up by representatives of the institutions that
finance the Units and following technical reports of experts
Incubation: 18-30 months Incubation with services (depending on the Business
Promotion Unit)
KEY  Facilities: Offices, structured wiring, air conditioned, WI-FI, meeting rooms,
ACTIVITIES videoconference, etc.
1. In the process of creating companies
 Feasibility analysis in the phase prior to creation
 Strategic guide for business planning
 Financial methodological guide
 Rapid Guide available on the creation of companies: (business plan preparation,
directory, forms of societies, procedure to start up the company, tax and
accounting methodologies…)
 Mentoring for three years (stay at the BIC centres)
 Physical accommodation of installations
2. Services to SMEs
 Evaluation of the business plan. Model of Integral Service contract: start up,

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accounting, tax and labour legal assistance.


 Access to technology and promotion of technology transfer: Through IRC
networks and other services of ITC
 Access to European Projects
 RTD projects advising
 Access to finance (agreements with banks)
3. Derivation of services to other organisations
 Other collaborating organisations are: Business One Stop Shops, Chambers of
Commerce. Employment Agencies and Island and Municipal Local Development
Agencies, Associations connected with Rural Development: AIDER, ADER,
etc… Association of Young Businesspeople of the Canary Islands.
Euroventanilla (EIC).
4. Business development and marketing
 Activities of direct external promotion at fairs and other events, in cooperation
with other public companies from the Canary Islands Government, such as
PROEXCA-SOFESA, the Chambers of Commerce among others.
 Canary Islands Institute of Technology (ITC):
BIC Canarias is integrated in ITC, S.A, a company belonging to the Regional
Government attached to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and New
Technologies.
 Business Promotion Units (BPU):
Business Incubators placed in four Islands, all together are BIC Canarias.
 University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and University of La Laguna:
KEY ACTORS The former participate in the BPU of Gran Canaria and the latter collaborate with
the BIC Canarias.
 Cabildo of Gran Canaria, La Palma and El Hierro (Insular Authorities):
Each Cabildo participate in the BPU of its island.
 Association of Young Businesspeople of the Canary Islands
 Banks:
La Caja Insular de Ahorro de Canarias, La Caixa, Banco Santander Central
Hispano (BSCH) and Banco del Mediterraneo
 Each BPU is financed by different entities depending on the island, but all the
funds are regional.
 The new enterprises have discount in facilities and equipments, and they have
free advice and monitoring during its stay in the BIC.
FUNDING
 The total budget is provided by Public Administrations and companies placed in
INFORMATION
the BIC and companies beneficiaries of services.
 Since 2003, the BIC has increased its budget annually due to the raise of new
services and activities. The budget over the years has been the following:
2003: € 784.649; 2004: € 936.545; 2005: € 1.534.310; 2006: € 3.543.860
Outcomes of 2005:
SME Creation (Incubation)
 Number of entrepreneurs that have been selected according to the innovation
profile and pre-feasibility of their projects: 172
 Number of projects that passed risk analysis and that are selected for incubation
(i.e. business planning and strategic guidance): 103
OUTCOMES  Number of business plans (first drafts) achieved with the contribution of the BIC
(either training, software, consultancy…): 30
 Number of new enterprises created: 157
 Number of jobs created by these enterprises : 217
 Number of tenants (Enterprises) in the incubators: 25
 Number of jobs in the incubator(s): 54

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Development of Existing SMEs


 Number of SMEs brought forward in the framework of a specific innovative
project (new product, service, process or internationalisation, reorganisation,
etc.): 34
 Number of innovation diagnostics (SWOT analysis: deliverables should be
accessible): 27
 Number of SMEs included in training programs: 21
 Number of SMEs included in specific innovative programs: 130
Innovation Supply Chain
 Number of contacts (=would-be entrepreneurs) generated through own
promotional methods: 120
 Number of awareness events that contribute to the detection of would-be
entrepreneurs: 41
 Number of attendees (=would be entrepreneurs) at these events: 25000
 Number of entrepreneurs that have been directed to the BIC from local partners
(BS0’s, BIC stakeholders, clients): 68
 Number of ongoing innovative projects implemented (either financed by EU,
State, region) including projects that do not concern SMEs (example:
benchmarking study, etc.): 27
 Contracts should be available (objectives, timeframe, budget, outputs, results):
31
Canary Island Institute of Technology
CONTACT Division of Technological Innovation
AND Plaza Sixto Machado, nº 3 - 38009 Santa Cruz de Tenerife
REFERENCE Ph:.922 56 89 00
DATA emprendedores@itccanarias.org
www.biccanarias.org

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NAME OF THE
PROJECT
TALLER DE DINAMIZADORES®

REGION Canary Islands (Spain)


2003, 2004,2005 (next at the end of 2006)
TIME SCALE
Five months each year: 1 moth training, 4 month working in companies
This project was born in order to cover some needs detected in the Region.
The Canary Government and the Canary Islands Institute of Technology have
developed several studies since the end of the nineties that have proved the
following evidences:
RATIONALE
 Big disconnection between the two Universities and the companies;
 Lack of innovation activities in Canaries companies;
 Big amounts of youth with a university degree who are not able find jobs
according to their degree.
AREA OF
 Development of Human Resources in Science and Technology
INTEREST
General objectives:
 Increase and promote the innovative activities of the companies in the Region,
inserting innovation culture in the canary enterprises;
 Improve technology transfer between enterprises and the research centres of the
Canary Islands;
 Give a real training to the recent graduates and the opportunity of getting a first
job related to innovation activities;
OBJECTIVES  Generate new professionals in Business Innovation Management.
Specific objectives:
 Identify and give support to guide RTD projects in the companies;
 Introduce personal specialists and Innovation Management in regional
companies;
 Identify technological offers of the university research unit ready to be
transferred to companies;
 Detect cooperation projects between companies and Research Centres.
 Youth graduates, “Dinamizadores” (people who will “dynamise” the innovation
in companies) acquire technical formation in Innovation Management for one
month, given by national experts. In this way, graduates will be ready to apply all
their knowledge within the enterprise they will work for.
 Enterprises include these recent graduates in their staff during four months in
order to detect RTD projects.
 These “Dinamizadores” prepare a pre-form of the project/s selected by the
KEY company to find funds at the regional, national or European level.
ACTIVITIES  Recent graduates identify technology offers of the research centres of the two
universities of Canary Islands in order to offere afterwards these technologies to
the companies.
 The “Dinamizadores” attempt to find cooperation activities with regional
research centres in order to develop the projects.
 The Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology, CDTI (main Spanish
public entity for promoting innovation in Spain), analyses the projects and
identifies their opportunity of obtaining public funds.
 Canary Government:
It finances the initiative.
KEY ACTORS  University foundations of the two Universities of Canary Islands, Fundación
Universitaria de Las Palmas & Fundación Empresa Universidad de la Laguna:
They manage all the aspects of the initiative. The first and second edition was

169
Annex

carried out in Las Palmas, but the third one has been carried out in the two
provinces of Canary Islands.
 “Dinamizadores”:
Young people with an university degree in charge of “dynamising” the activities
of the companies and the research unit of the universities.
 Companies:
They include the recent graduates in their data bases.
 Universities and research units:
They will show their developments and technologies in order to spread the
technologies of the universities which are able to be transferred to enterprises.
 External Experts:
They give professional technical training in all areas required by the recent
graduates. Their work includes the supervision of the work developed by the
graduates in the enterprises and orientation when redacting the proposals.
 The initiative is financed by the regional government with a co-financing of 80%
of the ESF;
FUNDING  The training is free and the “Dinamizadores” receive a grant during the five
INFORMATION months;
 The work of the graduate is free for the companies and the research centres.
Annual budget: € 750.000 (2006: 100 “Dinamizadores” in two provinces)
Quantitative results (2003, 2004 & 2005)
 136 diagnosis reports and innovation proposals;
 107 Research, Development and Innovation projects detected;
 191 graduates;
 141 “Dinamizadores” in enterprises;
 48 projects proposal pre-accepted by the CDTI (Centre for the Development of
Industrial Technology The main Spanish public entity for promoting innovation
in Spanish companies) as potential projects to be financed by public funds;
 52 of the “Dinamizadores” are working permanently for the enterprise they
worked for or in other companies and organisations carrying out activities
related to RTD areas;
OUTCOMES  Several contacts carried out between researchers and enterprises;
 17 Actions and proposals for Research, Development and Innovation projects.
Qualitative results
 Companies start to know Innovation tools and innovation culture, by the daily
work of an employee during the four months;
 Practical experience for the recent graduates, letting them take part in the
activities of real enterprises;
 Companies start to know that there are research centres in the region that could
offer them support to develop new technologies;
 Research Centres of the universities increase the knowledge about the real
necessities of the regional companies and start to build up technologies adapted
to the demand.
CONTACT Unit of Promotion of the Innovation
AND +34 928 458254 – +34 928 457219 / +34 922 319914
REFERENCE lucia@fulp.ulpgc.es / innova@feu.ull.es
DATA www.tallerdinamizadores.es / www.feu.ull.es/dinamizadores

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NAME OF THE
PROJECT
NETWORKING

REGION Canary Islands (Spain)


TIME SCALE 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006
For all regions, and in specific for insular and peripheral ones, it is necessary to be
connected with networks related to the promotion of RTD projects, technology
transfer and regional innovation. The connection helps being used as a virtual bridge
for regional agents and to be closest to the most updated technologies, practices and
RATIONALE
policies. It is indispensable to consider networking as a part of the regional strategy
for this type of regions in order to promote innovation, instead of carrying out isolate
actions that are only throwing back these regions even more in terms of regional
progress.
AREA OF
 Networking – Clustering
INTEREST
 Keep the Region updated and linked to the main European and Spanish networks
that promote RTD Projects and Technology Transfer. Two main networks in
which ITC participates are:
- Innovation Relay Centre Network, Southern Europe Innovation Relay
Centre.- Promotion of Technology Transfer within Europe.
- Pymera Network.- Promotes the participation of SMEs in the Framework
Programmes.
OBJECTIVES
 Foster innovation culture in the Canary Islands by increasing technological
information points and giving facilities for the developments of innovative
projects.
 Set up contacts with the enterprises in order to let them know about the
technological offer and to encourage cooperation and the transfer of
technologies.
 Include regional companies and RTD organisations in European Projects.
 Participation in the IRC network
- Detection and spread of Technology Offers
- Detection and spread of Technology Demands
- Offer services of Technology vigilance
- Advising technology transfer
KEY
 Participation in the Pymera network
ACTIVITIES
- Detection of potential European project
- Inclusion of regional companies into European proposals
- Partner Search services
- Spread information about Framework Programmes and other European
Programmes
 ITC as co-operator of the network and executor of its services in the region.
Similar entities located in other Spanish and European regions co-operating from
KEY ACTORS their location.
 Stakeholders of the Regional Innovation System as beneficiaries of the offered
services.
Total Budget: 170.000 € / year of which:
FUNDING
 SEIRC (Regional IRC): ca. 100.000 €/ year (47 % EU; 53% ITC)
INFORMATION
 Pymera: ca. 70.000 € / year (60% National funds; 40% ITC)
 Offers detected (2003-2005): 83
OUTCOMES  Demands detected (2003-2005): 15
 Contact realised (2003-2005): 368

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Annex

 Transfer of Technologies (2003-2005): 4


 European proposal spread (2004, 2005): 300
 Companies interested in taking part in this proposals (2004, 2005): 21
 VI FP proposals with Canary Islands partners thanks to Pymera: 5
Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias S.A.
CONTACT Division of Technological Innovation
AND Plaza de Sixto Machado, 3 - 38009, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain)
REFERENCE Ph: +34 922 568 900
DATA dit@itccanarias.org; ww.itccanarias.org;
www.seirc.itccanarias.org; www.pymera.org

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Annex

NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
SMED (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Development)

REGION Småland med öarna (Sweden)


TIME SCALE The programme started in 1993 and is still running.
SMED is a collaboration in the Region of Jönköping, a programme to develop big
ideas in small companies.
RATIONALE ALMI Business Partner made an investigation among the companies in the region to
find out their needs and to understand how the companies wanted to be supported in
developing their ideas into real products. This was done in 1993.
AREA OF
 New Product Development - Innovation
INTEREST
 To support companies in developing their ideas,
OBJECTIVES  To let ideas leading towards profitable products and affairs and to develop so the
SME’s.
SMED is collaboration project between different actors in the Region. The project
helps companies to develop good ideas in small companies. In this context, it
KEY informs companies about the opportunities to apply for funds. Furthermore, SMED
ACTIVITIES handles the applications and makes decisions on which projects to be financed. The
funding is given to the companies as funding cheques. The money can be used for
product development, product innovation and product design.
 Regional Council in Jönköping County
 Chamber of Commerce in Jönköping County
KEY ACTORS  Jönköping County Administrative Board
 Almi Företagspartner
 LänsTeknikCentrum AB in Jönköping County
1994-2006
 Regional Council in Jönköping County
 Jönköping County Administrative Board
 Almi Företagspartner
The costs in the project consist in Funding Cheques to the companies that apply for
funds and Project Costs.
FUNDING
Cheques: € 960.000 of which
INFORMATION
- € 790.000 financed by Administration Board Jönköping
- € 170.000 by European Funding programme, Objective 5b and Objective
2.

Overall costs of SMED: € 1.500.000, financed by regional funds, structural and other
funds and Vinnova.
 1.898 companies have presented a new idea;
OUTCOMES  1.352 ideas have been analysed in detail and accepted for funding;
 1.002 new products have been developed.
Almi Företagspartner AB
CONTACT Klubbhusgatan 13 - 553 03 Jönköping (Sweden)
AND Thomas Malmborg
REFERENCE Ph: +46 36 306522
DATA thomas@smed.nu
www.smed.nu

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Annex

NAME OF THE
INITIATIVE
Healthcare Technology Alliance (HCTA)

REGION West Sweden (Sweden)


TIME SCALE October 2002 until December 2006.
Throughout a large-scaled investigation at the University of Halmstad, the Region
could ascertain that there were a lot of companies working within the area of Health
Care Technology. The authority/trust of Home Nursing had also seen a lot of
development potential in this area, necessary in order to guarantee the quality in the
medical attendance even in the future. This was the outset of the Health Care
RATIONALE
Technology Alliance. With the alliance as a platform there was a good opportunity
to development projects within this field. The projects needed financing and the
LFTP-funds became a good regional partner. The needs within the nursing and
health care-sector are secured by a standing dialogue by producing companies, the
County Council and the administration of Home Care.
AREA OF
 Networking – Clustering
INTEREST
 The vision is to develop and strengthen the innovation system for healthcare
technology, so that south-west Sweden becomes a leading Region in the
development of healthcare technology products and services within ten years.
 Business Development and entrepreneurship based on regional knowledge in
OBJECTIVES health and medical attendance through collaboration projects.
 The global objective was to support with the funds the regional development and
economical growth.
 Every part-project should have a close cooperation between SME´s, the
university and public and private healthcare organisations.
Projects that are eligible for financing should deal with the following main areas:
 Medical aid, assistive technology and goods and services for future home
nursing;
 Financial funds to development projects;
 Education and training, network meetings, seminars within the area Health Care;
KEY Personnel from the University of Halmstad and Almi examine the projects and
ACTIVITIES present the chosen projects to the Steering Committee with participants from the
County Council of Halland, The University of Halmstad, Companies within the
Alliance, the Counties in Halland and The Health Care Administration in Halland.
The Steering Committee makes the final decision about the funding of projects.
The Project “Healthcare Technology Alliance” has contributed to the development
of the innovation System in Halland and in the area of Health Care Technology.
The Health Care Alliance is a network of approx. 50 companies, The County
Council of Halland, The University of Halmstad, The Healthcare Administration of
KEY ACTORS Halland and 6 counties in Halland.
Companies within the Health Care Alliance have in some cases acted as supervisors
of the development projects.
Total budget: approx. € 960.000 financed by LFTP (The County Councils fund for
technical purchase and product development), of which:
FUNDING
€ 215.000 for running the process;
INFORMATION
€ 215.000 for feasibility studies and projects;
€ 535.000 for complementing regional funds.
During the programme period (until 30/8 2006) 13 projects have been granted funds
for feasibility studies.
OUTCOMES
Of these have 13 projects 3 projects developed into a deepened development phase
and 2 of the projects have now reached the market.

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Annex

Halland Regional Development Council. The Health Care Technology Alliance


CONTACT
Ann-Mari Bartholdsson
AND
Ph: + 46 35 179887
REFERENCE
ann-marie.bartholsson@regionhalland.se
DATA
www.halsoteknik.com

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Annex

NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
ReFine

REGION Småland med öarna (Sweden)


The organisation to support the process of ReFine started in the turn of the year
TIME SCALE 2002/03.
ReFine is an ongoing process, a significant part for the development of the region.
The regional innovation system ReFine was one of ten innovation systems winning
support in Vinnova’s Vinnväxt programme 2003, being chosen as one of the seven
processes with the greatest development potential. The work with the Regional
Development Programme started in the end of the nineties. An analysis was done
regarding the presumptions of future development for the Region of Jönköping
County. The results, Delta PM, indicated two different scenarios for the future, one
positive and one negative. The outcome depends on how successfully the strengths
of the Region are utilised, as well as how the threats against the development for the
RATIONALE Region are repelled. The pilot project, E4F (later on ReFine), was initiated in
cooperation with Vinnova to study how the positive development could be
stimulated.
Analyses and studies to describe the situation in the region were done within the
E4F-project. After that, all key actors gathered to take a common decision about
long-term objectives and to set off the work with a common roadmap to get to the
objectives. The results from E4F is the foundation of the regional innovation system
ReFine. The organisation to support the process of ReFine was established in the
beginning of 2003.
AREA OF
 Networking – Clustering
INTEREST
 To support the development of existing manufacturing companies, new
companies, products and services and the improvement of the regional
infrastructure.
 To become a region of international excellence regarding industrial development
of new complex products within five years. Parallel to this, the innovation system
will support diversity and quality of life for the inhabitants of the region in an
enlarged functional region, creating a common market for labour and housing.
 The region is characterised by having one of the highest densities of
manufacturing industry in Sweden as well as a recent history of high rates of
OBJECTIVES
economic growth. Growing or embryonic cluster formations can be found in a
number of industry sectors. Examples include processing of light metal, most
notably aluminium, plastics, wood products and screw cutting.
 Threats to the region include difficulties meeting the demand for skilled labour,
changes in the ownership structure of smaller, often family owned, companies,
and structural changes to the global processing and supply chains. ReFine was
initiated with the purpose of counteracting these trends and to support the
revitalisation of manufacturing companies through the whole supply chain, from
subcontractors to end producers.
A large amount of activities are taking place in the frame of ReFine, with many
actors participating. Activities within the framework of ReFine include trips, skills
development, benchmarking, information dissemination and studies of companies’
KEY needs and development. The activities can be sorted in:
ACTIVITIES Clusters and networks
Four sharp company networks have been initiated up to now:
 Horizontal networks between companies, in same type of business, which aim at
creating synergies and working together with common problems.

176
Annex

 Vertical networks within industries to optimise chains of contractors.


 Networks for development of production and production technique.
 Networks for development of products. Companies can in cooperation with
industrial research institutes or specialists develop new products or make
innovative ideas become possible to produce.
Regional development
ReFine is one of the most important instruments for economic growth in the
Regional Growth and Development Programme for Jönköping County. Several
initiatives/processes have been supported by ReFine, in form of human resources,
and which has been of great strategically value for the processes: Clusters for
polymeric and Clusters for screw cutting and Location Scandinavia (an initiative for
interactivity with Invest in Sweden Agency (ISA) to attract foreign investments).
International contacts
Within the framework of ReFine several international activities have taken place.
The purpose of these contacts has been to let the Region learn from other regions,
build networks and start clusters. The activities have been for both public
organisations and private companies.
Equal opportunities
An active focus on issues of equality is guaranteed in order to secure the sustentation
of competence in the region.
Developing the process management
ReFine is a part of Dahméninstitutets Network of process management and
participates in the Swedish Council of Subcontractors.
The regional innovation system is an alliance between businesses, public institutions
and university/R&D institutions. Active participants are from manufacturing and
KEY ACTORS
service companies, municipalities and public institutions, knowledge transfer
institutes, universities and R&D institutions.
ReFine has got funding from different financiers, through regional, structural and
private funds. In the process can be counted also the financing of the subprojects.
The following actors have been financing the process:
Regional Development Council in Jönköping, Nutek, Vinnova, Administrative
Board, ISMIS, The County Council of Jönköping, Almi Företagspartner and
FUNDING VISANU.
INFORMATION

The total budget is € 1.718.615, of which:


Regional Funds: € 601.515
National Funds: € 601.515
Private: € 515.584
ReFine has become a framework for the gathered contributions of the Region for the
regional Innovation system.
Initiatives in the field have up to now contributed to the development of the
OUTCOMES innovation system by speeding up the restructuring process, creating relationships
between players both within and outside the Region, and providing inspiration for
new ways of thinking. ReFine believes that business intelligence is a requirement for
the survival of the Region’s manufacturing industry in a global market.
Länsteknikcentrum i Jönköpings län AB
CONTACT
Erik Bunis
AND
Ph: +46 36 30 57 01
REFERENCE
erik@ltc.se
DATA
www.refine.nu

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Annex

NAME OF THE
PROGRAMME
Tekniklots

REGION Småland med öarna (Sweden)


Tekniklots started in 2002, and the first part ended in 2004. After 2004, the network
of key actors once again co-operated under the name of Tekniklots when NUTEK
TIME SCALE requested partnerships whom could handle the product development funds with
which NUTEK (Nutek, Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth)
supports companies.
The first Phase of Tekniklots was a project driven by IVF (IVF=Industrial Research
and Development Corporation). It was financed by the EU programme RIITS. It
presented an interesting model and ALMI Busines Partner started to see if it was
RATIONALE
possible to evaluate this idea to a larger project, to support the companies in the
region of Jönköping. The project started as a collaboration project between actors in
the region that are heading technical development for SMEs.
AREA OF
 Technology Transfer
INTEREST
 Help SMEs getting relevant business information in technical issues;
 Support SMEs to plan their future and development;
OBJECTIVES
 The project has also been able to offer “ consulting cheques” to companies of a
maximum of 10.000 EUR for 50% of the costs for external consulting.
Tekniklots is a network of companies and organisations that aims with its activities
at making it easier for small companies to find answers on their technical questions.
Through marketing and business contacts the information about the programme was
spread to the target group. Questions and the presentation of problems were caught
KEY up and answered by the network Tekniklots. When the SMEs needed external help,
ACTIVITIES Tekniklots could help in finding the right consultants or research institutes.
During the second part of the project, the key activity was to find companies who
had needs in product development. Tekniklots could support the SMEs to apply for
funds from NUTEK and be a partner to the companies during the product
development phase.
 Almi Business Partner AB,
 School of Engineering at the Jönköping University,
 County Council in Jönköping County,
 Regional Development Council,
 SMED (Product Development Project),
KEY ACTORS  The Swedish Casting Industry's Technology,
 Trade and Training Institute
 LTC - Technical Centre of Jönköping County,
 The industry’s development Centre,
 Administration Board of Jönköping County,
 Wood Centre Nässjö Foundation.
Total costs € 390.000, of which financed by:
Administration Board of Jönköping County: € 38.000
Vinnova: € 81.000
The County Council of Jönköping: € 11.000
ISMIS: € 182.000
FUNDING
SME’s own: € 76.000
INFORMATION
In the second part (2005) of the project, Tekniklots could act as intermediary for
NUTEKS Product Development Funds. 286.000 EUR were put across to the SME’s
in the region.

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Annex

 The companies got concrete assistance and economical support to implement


sharp product ideas.
OUTCOMES  The project also led to a better cooperation between the actors in the region. A
stronger network was built and is still living.
 14 companies got financial funds from the consultant cheques.
Almi Företagspartner AB
CONTACT Klubbhusgatan 13 - 553 03 Jönköping (Sweden)
AND Thomas Malmborg
REFERENCE Ph: +46 36 306522
DATA thomas@smed.nu
http://www.tekniklots.net

179
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