Forum for Intelligent Machines ry (FIMA) is a Network for mobile work machine manufacturers, specialist companies, system integrators and research institutes.
Forunm of Intelligent machines (FIMA) is a non profit public association by Finnish law, that promotes and outlines research and product development in the field in accordance with this industry’s needs.
Mobile work machines represent one of Finland’s most significant fields of industry. Work machines for a wide variety of purposes and environments are manufactured in Finland. Much of the technology in these machines is similar, however, and intelligence is often implemented using the same basic solutions.
•focus on precompetitive, applied research
•finances research projects by membership fees
•research volume of approx. 1 MEUR per year
•portfolio of 4 - 6 projects
•contribution of 20 full-time researchers
•engages over 300 specialists in member organisations
This network was started with ERDF funding to facilitate joint research with shared results. Members are large companies, SMEs, research institutes and development agencies. Research work is funded partly from membership fees and partly from various innovation funding schemes. Membership fee depends on the size of the company.
Applied research is needed to fill the gap between basic research and product development. At this stage, even competitors can cooperate to get technology platforms where to build their products on. The advantage comes from sharing costs and risks.
For to start such network, key persons with social capital are needed to get main stakeholders from 3 - 5 large companies together. Research and SMEs will follow and join when they see the benefit of sitting together at the right tables. A certain amount of funding is needed to start first actions.
Evidence of success
This network has been running successfully and has a research portfolio of around 2,5 M€ annually without outside support. There are new companies joining annually, and at the same time some have left. To be a member of the board at FIMA is a position that is competed for in an annual meeting. The voice of the SMEs has also been listened to when planning actions.
Interest from the company side has not always been high, as there have been other cooperation concepts around. The innovation funding system has been changing into another direction than the members have anticipated.
Potential for learning or transfer
This model can potentially be scaled up and adapted to other regions, technology areas. It is possible that certain cultural aspects have been in favor for the success in Finland as one of the key elements in the beginning is certain amount of trust among those who are starting this kind of operation.
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