Science and technology intermediary services for SMEs: A guide via practices
This report introduces experiences and practices from seven European regions in the fields of Science and Technology (S&T) intermediation system. It summarises the results of the work accomplished over two years into a ‘guide’ about the public support actions targeting regional S&T systems, focused mainly on the intermediation function. It can be considered as a reference point, as well, for those who are interested in regional experiences on S&T services or regional tools to increase the quality of systems for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). In 2002, the European Council set the goal of raising overall research investment in the EU from 1.9% to 3% by 2010. However, instead of rising, European research investments appear to be stagnating and the quantifiable outcomes are not impressive. An issue that arises is what can be done to boost regional innovation systems to help to change this situation? What are the specific actions of regional intermediaries in this effort and how can they improve their performance? Upgrading research and innovation policy does not only imply increasing R&D investments, but also their efficiency and effectiveness. It also requires bringing the research community and SMEs more tightly together, which is considered to be one of the key roles of regional intermediation system. One of the main target groups of this guide are Regional Authorities (RA), which in some countries are in charge of innovation policies. The roles of RAs, according to the design of the new regional policies, in upgrading regional innovation policies, appear to be of major importance. This report describes and analyses a variety of practices and measures of public RA support actions that may improve the innovation capacities of the SMEs through S&T intermediaries. The content of this report is based on the practical experience of the seven partners that represent regions with varying socio-economic profiles and S&T intermediation systems.