Brussels, 25 Jun 2004
WHAT? Special media briefing on European research and research funding opportunities for SMEs in the enlarged European Union
WHO? CEOs of SMEs from Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Romania and other New EU Member States
Senior representatives of the EU and the Estonian government
WHEN? Tuesday 13 July, 2004.
WHERE? Reval Hotel Olümpia Conference Centre, Tallinn, Estonia
On 13 July, the European Commission will organise a media briefing focussing on the key role of research to make SMEs more competitive in an enlarged Europe. Taking place in the "Baltic tiger" country, Estonia, this event will showcase the many opportunities offered by the EU 6th Framework Programme to research-intensive SMEs, particularly in new EU Member States. It will look at success stories involving SMEs from new EU Member States, illustrate the various financial instruments available, and provide hands-on advice and guidance on how to participate in EU programmes and leverage research into successful innovative and commercial applications on global markets.
Small and medium-sized Enterprises are central to Europe's drive in creating a world class knowledge-based economy by 2010. Over 92% of all European enterprises have less than 10 employees and the average European enterprise employs 7 people. Representing just over two thirds of all jobs in Europe, SMEs are the cornerstone of Europe's economic competitiveness and a major source of job creation. SMEs will become even more crucial now that the enlarged Europe is a reality. The enlargement process of the EU has indeed changed the business environment under which SMEs are operating. The removal of barriers to the flow of goods, services, capital and labour provides new market opportunities, increases competition on domestic markets and facilitates access to new sources for inputs.
In order to remain competitive, SMEs must constantly innovate. This means developing new technologies, building international partnerships and exploring new markets across borders to secure new business opportunities. In that context, the European Research Area provides fresh impetus and opens new opportunities for the creation and development of SMEs, through easier access to knowledge, finance and partnerships.
In addition, the EUR 20 billion 6th Framework Programme for Research 2003-2006 (FP6), directly supports European SMEs. With 15% of its budget devoted to SMEs, the Sixth Framework Programme represents the largest instrument supporting research and innovation for SMEs in the world. It is an essential tool to help industry pool research capacity and invest more in R&D, helping to reach the objective of 3% of average EU GDP by 2010.
The media briefing on "Research and technology innovation: new opportunities for SMEs in an enlarged Europe" will showcase the priority role that SMEs from the New Member States can play within the 6th Framework Programme. It will also give concrete examples of the excellent opportunities offered to research-intensive SMEs through its various instruments, notably through participation in Networks of Excellence and Integrated Projects as well as SME-specific collaborative and cooperative research schemes. The overall event will provide information on the whole spectrum of activities designed to support SMEs, and "hands on" advice from SME CEOs and EU officials on how to access funding and networking opportunities.
The media programme will include a background briefing on SME-related issues, insights by industry leaders and representatives of research organisations into concrete case studies and successful projects in industrial research. It will also include an onsite visit to a leading Estonian SME based in Tallinn.
Keynote speakers will include 5 CEOs of research-intensive small and medium companies, senior representatives of the European Commission and of the Estonian government.
Case studies from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary and Romania will demonstrate how innovative companies are using EU funding to succeed in the international marketplace. These SMEs represent a wide spectrum of industrial sectors (manufacturing, engineering, medical technologies, automotive), as well as cutting-edge technology areas such as nanotechnology and nanoelectronics.
The onsite visit will provide the journalists with a vibrant example of innovation and search for new markets. Active in the field of rapid tooling technologies, the Pioneer company exports 70% of its products to several countries including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, Sweden, the UK and the USA.
Note for Editors
Further details on this special media programme and logistical arrangements will be sent to you in the coming days. However, if in the meantime you need more information, please do not hesitate to contact:
For further information on the media programme, please contact:
Press and Information Officer
Tel: +32.2. 296.90.56
E-mail: Patrick.vittet-philippe @ cec.eu.int
For registration and participation: journalists wishing to attend should register with:
Hill & Knowlton International (working under EC contract for this event).
Tel: +32.2.737.95.64, Fax: +32.2.737.95.01
E-mail: vmoens @ hillandknowlton.com
Monday 12 July 2004
p.m - Arrival at Tallinn Airport
Welcome and transfer to hotel and conference centres
Tuesday 13 July 2004
Registration of participants
Conference centre (venue to be confirmed)
Welcome of participants
Patrick Vittet-Philippe, Press & Information Officer, DG Research, European Commission
Rein Vaikmäe, Senior Adviser, Research Policy, Ministry of Education & Research Estonia
Building competitive edge through research and innovation – A hands-on guide to European research opportunities for SMEs
Isi Saragossi, Director, ff, Investing in Research, DG Research, European Commission
Questions & answers session
Presentation of research and innovation success stories with New Member States SMEs
Fast track to efficient industrial processes with rapid tooling technologies
Director, Pioneer Ltd, Estonia
Safer solutions to stabilise biomaterials for the biotech industry
CEO, Asper Biotech Ltd, Estonia
Questions & answers session
Flexible, intelligent production process for mass manufacturing of micro and nano devices
Comtes FHT s.o.r., Czech Republic
Cleaner, more efficient power plants for the automotive and manufacturing industries
Project OIL-FREE POWERTRAIN
Ganz-David Brown Transmission Ltd., Hungary
Intelligent materials for advanced prosthetic devices
SC Plasmaterm SA, Romania.
Questions and answers
A hands on approach for successful SME participation in FP6: the Estonian example
Speaker, Archimedes Foundation, Estonia
Lunch and networking
Departure by bus for onsite visit of research-intensive Estonia-based SME
Presentation and visit of Pioneer Ltd + research project results
Aleksander Kuzin, Director, Pioneer Ltd
Departure by bus to Tallinn Airport