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SMEs as future partners: Lessons Learnt from EU Projects for SMEs and HEIs Dr Elly Philpott, University of Bedfordshire +44 (0) 1438 231619

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Presentation on theme: "SMEs as future partners: Lessons Learnt from EU Projects for SMEs and HEIs Dr Elly Philpott, University of Bedfordshire +44 (0) 1438 231619"— Presentation transcript:

1 SMEs as future partners: Lessons Learnt from EU Projects for SMEs and HEIs Dr Elly Philpott, University of Bedfordshire +44 (0)

2 Overview Overview of Use and Diffuse project. SMEs as future partners. Open Innovation. Success factors and barriers. Implications for the REF- quality, environment, impact.

3 Use and Diffuse FP 7 project supporting dissemination and exploitation of results of research projects involving SMEs Analysed current practises in the use of RTD results Found best practice and drew up guidelines for others ww.useanddiffuse.eu

4 Questions What are suitable measures of success for SMEs involved in EU projects? What are suitable measures of success for RTDs involved in EU projects? For AHEA attendees - how do successful outcomes relate to the REF?

5 IDEO framework Innovation I nputs. D issemination. E xploitation. Innovation O utputs.

6 Survey Respondents 227 questionnaires were administered

7 SME outcomes from projects

8 RTD outcomes from projects Peer reviewed journal articles (61%) Invention disclosures (19.4%) Higher degrees_PhDs (25%) Patents (14%) Prizes (14%) Expert evaluation outcomes (58%) Expert evaluation of project (58%) Positive cost/benefit analysis (42%) Licensing (17%) Ongoing collaboration (69%) New collaboration (81%) Subsequent funding (47%) Spin off business within terms (17%) Spin off business outside terms (8%) Other (14%) {New internal ventures etc.}

9 Dissemination channels used

10 Key findings Predominance of non-financial achievements for SMEs (e.g., increased know-how, (absorptive capacity) over what might be considered the more important hard measures e.g., those that are traditionally used to measure innovation e.g., patents. SMEs who have been involved in EU projects do however see benefits from improvements to productivity, skills, quality, new to company and new to market products/services and exports.

11 Successful types Type 1 - RTDs who are focused on invention disclosures, PhDs, patents, licensing income, spin off businesses Type 2 - RTDs who are focused on positive cost/benefit analysis, subsequent funding, Type 3 - RTDs who are focused on journal articles, expert evaluation of outcomes/project, ongoing or new collaborations Type 1 - Product / service quality focused Type 2 - Sales of new to company products/services focused Type 3 - Sales of new to market products/services focused Type 4 - export achievement focused Type 5 - Productivity focused RTDs SMEs

12 Key findings Only a minority of RTDs produced outcomes in the following areas: Inventions, higher degrees, patents, prizes, positive cost/benefit analysis, licensing, spin off businesses, new internal ventures. A majority of RTDs did however see outcomes in the following areas: Peer-reviewed journal articles; Expert evaluation of project; Expert evaluation of outcomes; Ongoing collaboration; New collaboration.

13 Conclusions Despite the EU aim to improve economic performance through the use of traceable innovation outputs such as spin offs, patents, trademarks etc., theres no strong evidence that SMEs or RTDs have benefited significantly from these outputs through EU project involvement. However likely RTD outcomes address some aspects of the REF

14 Study limitations Methodological and data limitations numerous due to the collaborative nature of project, project complexity, and immaturity of metrics for innovation output at the firm level.

15 Recommendations for future research IDEO framework (underpinning the survey) needs revision given the innovation outputs. Longitudinal studies of successful SMEs ~ innovation inputs for lucrative returns. Improved quality at the firm level ~ absorptive capacity Successful collaborative Project Management methods

16 SMEs as future partners Innovative SMEs who export increase productivity and grow. SME barriers to export include: gaining access to networks and contacts, including identifying potentially useful contacts and establishing a dialogue once they have identified the right people etc. (BIS Economics Paper 5, Internationalisation of Innovative and High growth Business, March 2010).

17 SMEs as Future Partners Academics have established networks overseas, routinely working with overseas collaborators. EU projects offer an opportunity to extend academic networks and show impact. EU projects offer an opportunity to UK SMEs to gain access to networks and contacts and experience working internationally across different cultures – increase their absorptive capacity.

18 SMEs as Future Partners SMEs are the motors of the European economy (23 million SMEs in Europe, employing over 100 million). SMEs are crucial for stability and sustainability in the face of a global economy. To remain competitive SMEs need to innovate and access the results of R&D projects. Universities need to research and develop new products and processes but need funding and routes to market. European programmes are a vehicle for both parties to achieve their aims.

19 SMEs as future partners To remain research viable, universities need to ensure that they perform well in the REF. RiT (from working with SMEs) improves the richness of courses. RiT (from working with SMEs) improves the learning experience of students Working with SMEs directly presents the opportunity of students being employed by SMEs. In short – WIN WIN !

20 SMEs as Future Partners There are opportunities for SMEs that can move quickly in the following new markets: eHealth, Protective textiles, Sustainable Construction, Recycling, Bio- based products and Renewable energies. EU funding will be available for SME-RTD collaboration in these areas.

21 Open innovation … a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology. (Chesbrough, H.W. (2003). Open Innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. Boston: HBS Press).

22 Success factors and barriers to working together SME view Success factors – Motivated people, technology achievements, good Project Management. Barriers to success - Technology difficulties; delays with advanced payments from the EC; market issues e.g., fragmentation and time to market difficulties; the collaboration process. RTD view Success factors – Motivated people; technology achievements; good project management; clear agreement on ownership of outcomes; a clear agreement on dissemination activities. Barriers to success – Majority had no significant barriers although some had problems getting appropriate skills

23 Innovation propensity

24 So why become involved in EU projects? Quality – publications, initial funding Environment – case material, new and ongoing collaboration Impact – expert evaluation of outcomes, co- authored outputs with industry, outcomes for SME partners, staff movement between academia and industry, collaborative research with overseas business (REF Consultation 2009)

25 Is it worth it? A great majority of FP participants reported at least one form of commercializable output (new or improved processes, products, services, standards) stemming from their FP project; a large number even recorded more than one of such outputs. This finding is even more remarkable as the hierarchy of project goals had not changed over the years and goals related to direct commercialisation still are not the most important aspects for participants.. (ProINNO Europe paper No 7, 2009).

26 Opportunities There are opportunities for SMEs that can move quickly in the following new markets: eHealth, Protective textiles, Sustainable Construction, Recycling, Bio- based products and Renewable energies. EU funding will be available for SME-RTD collaboration in these areas.

27 Success factors for European FP projects High risk Newcomers as part of a consortium A novel technology (ProINNO 2009)

28 Useful links Making European Research Work for Your Company…for Busy Professionals: Strategic Guide to the Use and Dissemination of Research from EU Research and Development projects Download free at: Author details at: Free Handbooks are available here.

29 Other sources of information on FP7 The FP7 - European Summer Academy course (5-9 July 2010 Lake Balaton, Hungary) See: (last accessed )

30 Opportunities in Health and ICT UK National Contact Point (Health) Graham Hughes, BETA Technology, UK National Contact Point (ICT), Peter Walters, or

31 Other R&D opportunities Eureka EUROSTARs COST Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) Research initiatives of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology Etc.


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