Leveraging on Space Technologies to Enhance SME Competitiveness

Technical Support to European SMEs can lead to outstanding technological innovations
21 November 2000

Innovative SMEs in the space and / or aeronautic industries have developed talents and ideas to bring competitive solutions to larger, world size industrial groups: they have now a built-in capacity at performing RTD work which leads to outstanding innovations.

Yet, the same large industrial groups may revise their outsourcing contracts according to unfavorable economic cycles: such revisions will impact their contracting SMEs, especially the ones devoting most of their RTD work to the space or aeronautic industries.

The European Commission and the European Space Agency are co-funding with a consortium of six consulting companies the LOSTESC programme whose goals are three fold :

  • To detect space or aeronautic technologies within innovative SMEs which can be adapted to meet similar functional performances needed in other sectors of the economy.
  • To build 24 RTD projects where these SMEs are RTD providers for customers having activities in these new sectors of application.
  • To submit these projects for examination and, if selected, funding according to the procedures of the 5th Framework Programme of the European Commission.

This 770 000 Euro, one-year project is led by Technofi (France) in consortium with Yellow Window (Belgium), Innova (Italy), Zabala (Spain), Printinova (Portugal) and Mind Consult (Austria). It is made of 3 phases :

  • Awareness and diagnostic phase to detect promising technologies ready for transfer in other fields of application (up to April 2001).
  • Project construction with the space/aeronautic SME as research provider and SMEs from new fields of applications (May to September 2001).
  • Project submission to CRAFT or RTD calls in late 2001 and/or early 2002.

The consulting companies will bring three major assets to the interested consortia:

  1. Tools to manage adaptation programmes within stringent deadlines and budgets.
  2. Tools to assess the market sizes for the newly adapted technologies, in areas of business far away from the space and/or aeronautic industries.
  3. A network of marketers in the six countries of interest, coupled with the 15 National Contact Points installed by the European Commission to help proposers better access the funds of the Fifth Framework Programme.

Funding of the project will follow the European Commission selection criteria. Space or aeronautic SMEs as research providers can be funded for 100% of their adaptation costs (under the CRAFT procedure): project may last two years, with RTD budgets allowed to range between 300 000 and 1 000 000 Euro (max). Funds will be made available over 2002.

Interested SMEs can send a request for more detailed information about the programme to Technofi (sgalant@symple.tm.fr).

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