Revision of the Financial regulations
Following the recommendation by Council, at Ministerial level, in May 1999, to put the SME initiative under permanent footing, Council approved in June, by unanimity, the revision of the Financial regulations allowing to finance on a continuous basis the SME initiative by the General Budget. The purpose of this action of the SME initiative is to foster, for SMEs having already developed technologies for space applications, the diversification into other domains. In response to the Announcement of Opportunity issued in May on EMITS, 30 proposals have been received, from 30 different SMEs. Out of them, 19 proposals have been found appropriate for contract placing. The reply received from SMEs to this A/O and the quality of the 19 proposals retained confirm that this initiative responds to a clear industrial need. The Microgravity programme is also participating in the funding of some proposals in the life sciences domain In most cases, the technical follow-up of the transfer of technology contracts with SMEs has been entrusted to the technical officers (from D/TOS and D/APP) who were responsible for the technology developments that gave raise to the space application which is now proposed for diversification. This approach has been very much appreciated by the relevant staff members.