Research and Technological Development (RTD) is essential for the functioning and sustainability of the European economy and therefore in the center of EU’s development agenda. Special attention has been paid to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are socially and economically important, since they represent 99 % of all enterprises in the EU and provide around 65 million jobs and contribute to entrepreneurship and innovation.
SMEs are, on the one hand, the economic “backbone” of the EU. On the other hand it is more difficult for them to do research on their own or to get the necessary scientific input for innovation. In order to strengthen the scientific and technological bases of the European industry and to encourage its international competitiveness, it is indispensable to exchange on successful R&D policy approaches not only among Member States but also with states from the EU’s new neighbourhood and other countries that suceeded in having a competitive edge.
The project EUROPEER SME
- fostered mutual learning, elaborated best practices and improved the impact of national and regional RTD support programmes to SMEs
- optimised the exchange of best practices by identifying conditions for transferability and developing transfer schemes
- diminished overlap and strengthened the co-ordination of RTD policies directed to SMEs
To foster mutual learning, to identify and evaluate best practices in the field of research policy making EUROPEER SME utilised the peer-review method. In order to improve the exchange of in-formation and to analyse the transferability of best practices, the partners pursued a systematic approach. A continuous, dynamic and mutual learning process on the one side provided insights into how existing RTD and innovation policies can and should be improved and made more effective. On the other side it lead to a sustainable network which is self-supporting after the end of the project and remains open for new partners. The network thereby helped to strengthen the co-ordination of RTD policies directed to SMEs on a European scale.
Due to the excellent networking and integration of EUROPEER SME and its partners, the findings and recommendations are to be spread not only among the participating partners but also published in relevant existing fora to make them applicable in other contexts and partner constellations.