Project summary

Nano-technologies and new materials (NMP) are a cornerstone of EU policy for innovation and advanced manufacturing. As one of the Key Enabling Technologies, the EU believes that NMP can reverse negative growth trends in manufacturing and foster growth and jobs.

The statement is clear, but the road from intent to transfer, application and exploitation of NMP in manufacturing is long.

NMP is dealt with in research. However, the common challenge is ensure that innovation actors cooperate to deliver research results to the manufacturing sector, with subsequent benefits for regional growth.

NMP-REG groups partners from 5 regions, who want to face this challenge together. Their overall objective is to improve regional policies for delivery of innovation in NMP to manufacturing. NMP-REG focuses on policy actions that can support innovation delivery, using coordinated action from key players.

Changes are particularly expected in projects funded by policy instruments (3 ERDF ROP / 2 other key policy tools for innovation), particularly in cluster support, financing for innovation actors and other horizontal innovation delivery measures. Partners also hope to influence policy management, in terms of monitoring and evaluation criteria for innovation delivery.

NMP-REG achieves this through exchanging experiences and Good Practices in a context of interregional activities, communication and stakeholder engagement. Partners develop Action Plans that result in: improved policy instruments, more and better targeted funding, with leverage effect in mobilising private funding; new or improved models for innovation delivery thanks to cooperation across the regional innovation chain.

All regional innovation players will benefit. NMP-REG works towards a medium/long-term impact of creating a regional system that can support the manufacturing sector in applying NMP research to create new products / services; create places of work; promote a market for improved and cost efficient products.

€1,622,192.00

from 1 Apr 2016
to 31 Mar 2021
Topic

Research and innovation

Partnership

Lead Partner
Partner

What policy instruments does the project address?

The policy instrument objective is to Strengthen RTD and Innovation (Axis 1). It is divided into 2 priorities.

NMP REG addresses priority 1b “promote innovation, RTD investments and support synergies among enterprises, RTD centers and higher education institutes addressed to developing new products/services, technology transfer, social/eco/open innovation and clusters through smart specialisation, applied research and advanced manufacturing especially in KETs”. Within Priority 1b measures that the project hopes to address are:

- support to innovation services in companies;

- supporting innovative solutions for new products/processes and industrialisation of RTD results;

- support for clusters among enterprises, RTD centers and other stakeholders;

- support to technological advancement through pilot lines, early product validation, large-scale demonstration.

The measures are designed to address the need to improve innovation delivery and capacity of enterprises (especially manufacturing) along the innovation value chain. Cluster organisations and innovation services are considered as key tools to enhance capacity in this field.

However, implementation is hindered by a fragmented manufacturing system with slow access to innovation and a low propensity to innovation. In a highly specialised field such as NMP, examples are needed to demonstrate how innovation delivery can be improved. The instrument provides a framework that must be populated with concrete examples.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Agency for the development of the Empolese Valdelsa

SSRC is a key instrument within the Flemish innovation system to ensure transfer from excellent research to industry to stimulate existing / new economic activity.

It comprises policy and financing for 5 Strategic Research Centres, all dedicated to a specific spearhead domain (IMEC nano-electronics and nano-technology VIB Biotechnology VITO energy, environment, materials and terrestrial observation i-Minds ICT and broadband, FLANDERS MAKE advanced manufacturing).

They act as knowledge nodes where hard (labs, equipment) and soft (networking, advice, cooperation) activities, institutions and elements are grouped in a physical and virtual eco-system that connects research to companies.

The starting point for NMP is that public funding should result, quicker than before, in marketable knowledge and societal return on investment of publicly funded R&D. It should, stimulate the (co)creation of spin-offs, start-ups and new economic activities. It should have a leverage effect in mobilising private funding.

New government approaches and models of interaction between key players within SSRC (research centres, companies, knowledge institutes…) are needed.

The NMP-REG can improve the Flanders Make (FM) programme. FM is the Flemish gvt instrument to support companies and industries in Flanders in the domain of “advanced manufacturing”. FM refers to both the policy instrument as the virtual and physical R&D eco-system for advanced manufacturing supported by the Flemish gvt. 

Which partners are working on this?
  • Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship

NMP-REG addresses the ERDF ROP for the region, in particular Axis 1 - regional innovation strategy (aspects of relevance to nano, new materials and production).

The innovation strategy combines the state’s research, lead market and transfer strategy into a common concept. Criteria are: relevance to national / global markets, contribution to solution of societal challenges, quality of higher education system and capability to deliver technological impact across industry using KET.

The approach promotes smart specialisation in domains with significant socio-economic impact, in which companies / research facilities exhibit potential.

The strategy promotes implementation oriented solutions. R,D&I is dedicated to sustainable solutions to societal challenges: climate protection / acclimation; resource-efficiency / raw materials; safe / healthy food; safe, clean, efficient energy; smart / ecofriendly mobility; health / well-being; safety; participation and social cohesion in course of societal and structural change.

Despite NRW’s focus on translational research infrastructures the results of these efforts are still below average expressed in terms of patents per capita, number of business formations and R&D investments.

Which partners are working on this?
  • NanoMicroMaterialsPhotonics.NRW Cluster c/o NMWP Management GmbH

NMP-REG addressed ROP NORTE 2020. In particular, it is relevant to Axis 1: Strengthening research, technological development and innovation. Within this Axis, there is a focus on "Promotion of business investment in R&D, developing links and synergies between businesses, research and development centers and higher education." (Investment priority 1b).

Proposed actions the economic value of knowledge and maximum return on technological effort, supporting the link between producers and users of knowledge, promoting technological capabilities of enterprises and creating conditions for a growing incorporation of knowledge in production of tradable goods and services. This support is critical for the regional economy to increase innovation capacity and control over value chain.

Over the last decades there have been efforts to promote links and synergies between businesses/RTD centers/higher education. However, work is needed to define practices and support measures that promote effective ongoing collaboration and not in a case-by-case basis depending much on public financial support available. Mechanisms must be put in place that allow for a true, long term, continuous collaboration among these players, based on real industrial needs promoting this an effective technology procurement market. Using NMP as an example, this can bring a competitive position to the industries involved and consequently to the economic competitive advantage of the Norte region.

Which partners are working on this?
  • North Regional Coordination and Development Commission
  • International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory

The strategy supports the role of research as economic growth engine and it aims to connect Romania to the new priorities of science and technology set by the Europe 2020 strategy and to Horizon 2020.

To fulfill the vision it is based on three pillars: regional and global affirmation- enterprises as key actors of innovation; excellence through internationalisation: RDI sector as opportunity space; regional leadership at the border of science and in technology: breakthroughs in strategic domains.

The strategy envisages the following general objectives:

O1: To increase Romanian economic competitiveness through innovation;

O2: To increase Romanian contribution to the advancement of knowledge;

O3: To increase the role of science in society.

As international statistics, like Innovation Scoreboard, highlights a very low performance of Romania in the R&D domain, the success of the strategy depends on actions with potential to prepare RDI ecosystem to offer a stable and relevant research activity, able to respond to societal challenges.

The strategy links to the RIS3 strategy, which identified NMP as one of the working sectors. It also linked to regional development strategies, including the Bucharest-Ilfov region which includes NMP and innovation delivery. Thus, in increasing economic competitiveness through innovation and knowledge, the strategy offers a clear opportunity to insert NMP as a central pole for growth. This would be a significant improvement to the policy.

Which partners are working on this?
  • University Politehnica of Bucharest
  • Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding