Rationalization of the regional technology transfer system by the creation and support of thematic regional innovation clusters, including NMP
In the period 2007-2013, the whole concept of innovation delivery was completely reconsidered in Tuscany, giving greater relevance to performance indicators and businesses.
As consequence, in 2011 12 Innovation Poles (innovation clusters of research centres and enterprises ) were launched and dedicated to as many different manufacturing sectors of the regional economy or key enabling technologies aiming to:
-provide knowledge intensive business services to enterprises;
- support innovation delivery and actions: projects, B2B/R2B agreements;
- increase knowledge and awareness on new technological solutions and skills;
-rationalise the existing physical infrastructure (facilities, labs, tools) and address entrepreneurs to the proper technological solution.
IPs are immaterial infrastructures, because they manage a network of existing infrastructures and skills. Within the 12 IPs - in 2016 updated and renamed as Technological Districts (TD) within the programming period 2014-2020- one was specifically addressed to Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (NMP) and nowadays represents a consolidated leverage to overcome regional needs such as:
- high level of fragmentation in SMEs
- lack of knowledge on new technologies
- low access to innovation
- lack of intermediate actors for the matching B2B/R2B
IPs/TDs are also in charge to manage with the regional authority the participation process for the identification of the technological priorities to be included in the RIS3.
In 2007-2013 Tuscany Region allocated 5M€ for the start-up of 12 IPs. According to the dimensional level (n° of SMEs) each IP received a different amount of resources with a co-financing rate of around 75%. The budget was confirmed for 2014-2020 with a reduction of the co-financing rate (50%).
Evidence of success
- New forms of aggregation, structures with low management costs
- Support to Tuscan SMEs by infrastructure and services
- Development of the market of qualified services (B2B/R2B)
- Increase of regional and EU R&D projects
- Increase of SME awareness and knowledge on innovative solutions
In 2011-2013 IPs:
- collected 2950 SMEs members
- supported or signed 891 B2B/R2B agreements
- produced a net income > 6.5M€ coming from agreements and projects 10 times higher
There were no specific barriers. The Good Practice requires a strong political commitment: dedicated policy instruments; must be compliant with EU rules; requires financial investments both from the Managing Authority and by applicants.
It can be changeable according to the available resources.
Potential for learning or transfer
Beneficiaries of the Good Practice are enterprises (SMEs, industries). All services provided are addressed to the direct needs of innovation delivery of enterprises (R2B, B2B) or collateral services to support innovation in processes/products and market follow-up.
Business service centers, universities, laboratories and other technology transfer facilities are involved in the practice as “suppliers” of services and, in the case of the managing entities of the Innovation Poles, as direct beneficiaries of the call funding.
This practice is strictly related to the “Catalogue for qualified and advanced services for SMEs” because each Innovation Pole was:
-encouraged to providing qualified services in line with the Catalogue;
-facilitated in achieving B2B/R2B agreements or setting up research collaborations thanks to the corresponding “Call for qualified services by SMEs” which funded the purchase of qualified services as, for example, research, feasibility studies, audit
Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.