Aiming to enhance internationalisation of regional SMEs, Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum has founded a successful network of technology transfer centres.
In order to support technology transfer & enhance entrepreneurial internationalization in Danube Region, Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) has established a network of technology transfer centres (DTC). These centres are located at selected universities, chambers of commerce or competence center & support the integration of international elements within technology transfer activities.
- promote innovation;
- enhance research;
- facilitate competitiveness
Overall objective: Foster competitiveness of the industry in the Danube Region.
Background: With an initial and one-time subsidy of € 200,000, the State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg made it possible to set up the first 3 pilot centers in Slovakia, Serbia and Romania. Since then, the network has not only grown institutionally, but secured its financing & future through successful acquisition of several European projects.

Services SEZ offers for DTC members:
- Identify tech. needs of local industry, particularly of SMEs (innovation audits);
-Transnational partnering activities for business cooperation
- Initiatiation of joint research projects between industry & academia;
- Advisory & support services to access European research and TT programmes;
- Assistance during the preparation of EU-funded project applications;
- Develop techn-oriented partnerships at regional, national & European level;
- Trainings (management, Business Plan, etc.).

Resources needed

- one-time subsidy from State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg during pilot 2012-2014
- DTC Managers are financed by hosting institution (University, Chamber of Commerce or Competence Center) & projects (e.g. INTERREG, H2020)
- Staff: ~ 2 Managers per DTC (~50.000 €/yr)
- DTC is not a legal person

Evidence of success

- in 2012 there were 3 pilot centers, in 2018 the network expanded to 11 partners, 7 regional offices in 8 countries
- partners secure the sustainabiliy of the network through acquisition of successful projects (current project volume: 12,7 Million EUR);
- Romanian network members created an innovation capacity tool to implement TO /TR and a partner - matching platform called: TIN Portal;
- numerous trainings & workshops contributed to capacity builiding within the whole macro-region

Potential for learning or transfer

DTCs offer an internationalization support package concerning innovation and technology transfer for both academia and SMEs. Even though there is a large variety of internationalization support services already offered, does not mean that they are also widely available for all SMEs within the EU. Considering regional, cultural and entrepreneurial disparities, supporting measures may work in one region but are not sufficient enough in another region. The DTC concept responds to this challenge as it is – by definition- locally embedded. As such, DTCs are not exclusively applicable within Danube macro-region. Its structure & services can be adapted and transferred to other EU countries, always according to the needs of regional actors. The effectiveness of the concept has been recognized even beyond EU boarders, as SEZ received Expressions of Interest from Armenia & Georgia. The concept has further been acknowledged as Best Practice example within the INTERREG Programme for Alpine Region

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Main institution
Steinbeis Innovation gGmbH / Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum
Karlsruhe, Germany (Deutschland)
Start Date
January 2012
End Date


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