Brussels, 26 Nov 2002
In its role as the current President of TAFTIE, Tekes, the National Technology Agency of Finland, has called for a wider networking of national technology programmes to facilitate cross-border research and business collaboration.
TAFTIE (The Association for Technology Implementation in Europe), is a group of 14 national technological innovation organisations from 13 countries that cooperate and learn from each other, and assist their customers to form international partnerships. TAFTIE members include ANVAR (France), CDTI (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial, Spain), ENEA (Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie, I'Energia e l'Ambiente, Italy), Enterprise Ireland and Technopol (Belgium).
New visions on networking of national programmes will be presented at TAFTIE's tenth annual seminar on 26 and of November in Helsinki. 'In order to excel, you need to master internationally rather than nationally,' says Petri Peltonen, Executive Director at Tekes.
Increased networking between national programmes would result in better total research output in Europe. Furthermore, it would make finding international partners easier, especially for small companies, since national technology funding organisations would be equipped with the necessary information and connections to assist them efficiently.
'Networking will always bring other points of view to programme planning, execution and evaluation, resulting in a wider view and better vision on the programme's focus,' said Mr Peltonen. 'Despite the possible higher overheads of international co-operation, total resources will be more extensive as the total funding resource base is larger. Moreover, overlapping activities can be avoided.'
The TAFTIE board has concluded that TAFTIE should take an active approach towards ERA NET, the new European Commission scheme which funds collaboration among national investors. As Mr Peltonen explained: 'Collaboration with ERA NET would enable TAFTIE to strengthen its contribution to innovation policy in Europe and to establish networks with non-TAFTIE members. I see ERA NET as an excellent opportunity to move forward.'
Mr Peltonen says that despite a strong will to increase co-operation, the formation of efficient networks will take time: 'One key challenge is to alter the mindset of working nationally. It is much easier to work in the own 'backyard' and this is what most people in research and technological development are accustomed to. Furthermore, poor knowledge of technology programmes elsewhere makes it more difficult to communicate efficiently and to achieve the best possible outcomes.'
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