The SUPER-SME project aims to contribute to the objective of raising the intensity of research expenditure and activity of enterprises in the participating regions through a mix of activities. This will be done in two main phases using a range of tools:
Phase 1: mapping S&T intermediation services and identifying gaps
- Phase 1 will start from the existing baseline situation in terms of regional RTD performance, the project will map and appraise the relative contribution and success of the existing S&T intermediaries in each region;
- This mapping will be contrasted with and debated by a panel of leading ‘research intensive’ SMEs in the region in order to identify the main gaps and establish a prioritisation of needs;
- A first inter-regional workshop will then allow an exchange of views and discussions on the outcome of the mapping exercise and will prepare the second phase of the project.
Phase 2: Peer review and mentoring actions to develop regional S&T intermediation networks
- The second phase will be based on a series of peer-review and mentoring actions between the seven regions, including study trips. These actions will be organised with a view to achieving a concrete result for each region in the form of a plan of action for improving S&T intermediation services and the drafting of a regional pilot project in the four mentee regions. This will be done in consultation with the panel of research intensive SMEs which will meet a further two-times to review progress.
- The results of the mapping, benchmarking and exchange of experience activities will be summarised in the form of a blueprint guide to provide subsequent guidance to policy makers in RTD matters.
In short, the project will seek to synthesis and distill the experience and knowledge gained by the three mentor regions on their S&T intermediation system and use it to develop and improve key intermediaries in each of the mentee regions. It is also expected that the exchange of experience between the three mentor regions will assist them in their own reorganisation and reinforcement of the effectiveness of their own regional S&T intermediation network.
The regions will also be able to compare their own experience in coordinating regional partnerships around research and innovation themes with the priorities and actions of the national level. The French case is an extremely interesting example of the need for coordination between national actions in favour of research and predominantly national funding of research and regional competence and funding for intermediaries, technology diffusion and innovation. The new nationally promoted competitiveness poles are the latest example and Lorraine has been selected as a pilot region for the materials sector. In Turkey, Adana region is strongly supported by the national research organisation TÜBITAK and its funding agency TIDEB and is considered as a pilot region for developing research, technology and innovation structures and services at regional level. Another example, is the Estonian case, which at national level is considered to be one of the most advanced of the NMS in developing research and innovation policy, and where the regional partnership for Tartu has been extremely active in promoting research and innovation policy including the piloting of new national programmes (e.g. the SPINNO or Competence Centre programmes in Tartu).
The final output of the project will be a blueprint guide for other regions seeking to restructure, rationalise or reform their own regional S&T intermediation system in favour of research-intensive SMEs. This guide will synthesise the experience of the six/seven regions in implementing SUPER-SME and make it available to a wide number of regions via the IRE Network and other networks (e.g. ERIK, ERRIN, etc.)