The innovation voucher enables a small and medium-sized entrepreneur (SME) who is cooperating with a higher education institute, test laboratory and others.
The Innovation Vouchers programme was implemented at national level and offered up to 90% of approximately, 10.000 euro, to foster innovation. The beneficiaries are small and medium enterprises or freelancers, and a list of eligible activities, such as industrial research, experimental development or intellectual property rights protection was provided from the onset. In Romania, the Innovation vouchers programme was implemented in 2012 and 2013. The program will be continued in 2017, currently being available a draft law regarding the program’s conditions.
Innovation vouchers encourage SMEs to invest in research and development, creating partnerships with research and innovation institutions in order to achieve the innovative products and services, as a result of using expertise and knowledge generated by research institutes based on advanced technologies, concepts contained in patents, which lead to increased productivity, competitiveness and quality of products produced.
Starting with 2017, the vouchers can be issued for activities in the smart specialisation domains (bioeconomy; ICT, space and security; energy, environment and climate change; eco-nano-technologies and advanced materials) and in domains of public priority.
Innovation vouchers are settled within a period of maximum 6 months from the date they were approved for funding.
Budget for 2012: around 1.400.000 euro
Budget for 2013: around 1.700.000 euro
Budget for 2017-2020 period: around 3.000.000 euro (from which 1.000.000 euro for 2017)
Evidence of success
In 2012, the programme received 382 applications whereas 176 received funding, the success rate being 46%. In 2013, 143 applications received, 37 funded, 26% was the success rate.
In general, the beneficiaries appreciated this instrument support them in developing successful projects. For example, `EXPLOSION` project is a successful project aimed to eliminate the risks of explosion for containers containing carbonated products: http://uefiscdi.gov.ro/articole/3692/Cecuri-de-succes.html
Potential for learning or transfer
The beneficiaries of this GP are knowledge providers and SMEs.
This practice is relevant for innovation delivery of "Delivering Nanotechnologies, advanced Materials and Production to REGional manufacturing "because they foster science-industry cooperation and allows companies to explore business opportunities or to solve problems understanding the benefits of nanotechnologies and benefiting from support of researchers in the field.
For programme starting in 2017, eco-nano-technologies and advanced materials is one of the fields in which Innovation Vouchers can be issued, this being a smart specialisation domain included in the National Strategy for RDI 2014-2020. This giving business better access to the "Delivering Nanotechnologies, advanced Materials and Production to REGional manufacturing" knowledge base and an incentive to invest in further innovation activities in this field.
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