Methods and tools for SMEs accessing analytical research facilities (ARFs).
The good practice is about setting up an effective way to address these challenges. It consists of the following:
1) Industrial Research Centres’ (IReC) units were established as “front offices” to ARFs, qualified (= designated specialisation) to promote material research services to businesses and its interpretation to businesses
2) Industrial needs were mapped and a staged process was introduced, ensuring SMEs’ access to ARFs’ services
3) networks between IReCs and regional innovation agencies (IA) were agreed and, through this effort, a macro regional approach is also ensured
4) In Kainuu, processing of materials and measurements has been linked to follow up actions and investments, with the innovation agency (Kainuun Etu) supporting each individual business case
5) An open data pilot is under development, testing access to open data and usefulness to the academic, business, & IReC communities; it contributes to the Open Science Initiative.
Setting up the service: Science Link and Baltic TRAM, i.e. 2 000 000€, 34 partners, 6 years; 75% Interreg BSR, 25% own.
Cost of the service: 5000€/experiment, provisional. Research services project-financed for the duration, later through innovation vouchers.
Evidence of success
- Better, safer & more sustainable products (80 cases).
- Small model allowing to motivate SMEs towards research services and follow up actions.
- 1 IReC & ARFs network established; 9 IReCs established.
- Enhanced cooperation among & between knowledge, economic & development actors within the regions, the countries and across the Baltic.
- The macro–regional approach works, businesses are served across the BSR ARFs according to demand and supply of research services.
1) Mobilising small manufacturing producers’ interest towards material research services and connecting it to investments.
2) Accepting remote, sparsely populated regions, in advanced innovation partnerships as this.
3) Identifying a joint pricing approach for the IReC services.
Potential for learning or transfer
Large research infrastructure services for SMEs GP is at the cross roads of two core issues of the knowledge economy: university-industry interactions and access to advanced research services for all types of regions. The GP model is transferable.
The key success factors that ‘make the GP work’ can be summarised as follows: 1) Careful validation of the concept & the approach; 2) Proactively connect the research services to development actions; 3) Comprehensive service agreements between SME with ARFs, IReCs, and IAs, with references to data and confidentiality issues; 4) promoting open data for re-use (research, pedagogic, business, and IReCs purposes).
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