DETECT-it 2: Helping SMEs bridge the gap between FP6 and FP7

September 14, 2006

Brussels, 13 Sep 2006

A new project will help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) participate in the seventh Framework Programme, particularly in the fields of energy, IST and biotechnology. The project, called DETECT-it 2, builds on the DETECT-it 1 project, which successfully helped over 100 SMEs participate in European research proposals under FP6.

Information from DETECT-it 1 revealed many barriers to SME participation in the Framework Programme. For example, most project proposals are submitted by a small number of organisations; these often already have their own SME networks in place and are not open to newcomers. Even when SMEs are successful in joining a consortium, their role is often in the sidelines of the project, and they may have a small role in project design or management. In many cases, SMEs are only brought into the project at the last minute to ensure the consortium meets the 15 per cent SME participation criteria as recommended by the European Commission.

In DETECT-it 2, the partners will encourage SMEs to adopt a 'bottom up' approach, by exploring and developing their own ideas for research projects. Networking and brokerage events across Europe will give them the opportunity to meet other SMEs and identify common research objectives with a view to submitting a proposal for an FP7 project.

The project partners' experiences during DETECT-it 1 have influenced the design of DETECT-it 2. 'We've improved the registration process and have new partners who will bring in new ideas and knowledge,' explained Laura Delgado, Project Manager of DETECT-it 2. 'We also know the players and the system better.'

DETECT-it 2 will also include a larger training component, to help SMEs understand the often complex language and jargon found in EU documents.

In total, 300 SMEs, identified by the Business Innovation Centres involved in DETECT-it 2, will be targeted by the project.

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