A patented production technique that uses microwaves to penetrate corks has been developed by Portuguese, German and Spanish SMEs working with a German research institute.
The project was funded by the European Union and has succeeded where traditional treatments had failed. Every year e500 million (Pounds 314 million) worth of wine is ruined because of chemical or microbial contamination of corks.
The success story was outlined at the third "SME Technology Days Conference" in Oporto, Portugal. SMEs met with policy-makers, potential partners and intermediaries to gain insight into how they can participate in EU-funded research.
Conference speakers addressed international challenges facing SMEs, how to exploit research results and find venture capital and how SMEs without research facilities can use other organisations, such as universities and contract research organisations, to perform the research for them and still obtain funding under the EU's Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.
Details: http://europa.eu.int/comm/ dg12/rtdinf23/en/innov1.html