On 28 March ESA’s SME Unit will hold a SineQuaNet workshop in Frascati, Italy with representatives of industry and other space actors to address important issues for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in or wanting to enter the space sector.
The workshop is the last in a series of four designed to reinforce mutual understanding of the means and methods by which the foreseen SineQuaNet (Space Intelligence, Engineering and Quality Network) could effectively build and deliver relevant support to SMEs. More than 100 professionals from European enterprises, research institutes and space industry support organisations attended each of the previous three workshops, held respectively in The Netherlands, the UK and Germany.
The SineQuaNet project was launched in November 2005 by ESA, with support from the European Commission, to elaborate a genuine structuring mechanism focused on technical and engineering support. It is targeted at European and Canadian SMEs already operating in, or wanting to enter, the space sector.
The network aims to organise, structure and improve SME’s access to technical facilities, expert support and training services. Although these are already available within the space sector from large organisations, systems integrators, and research institutes, a wide range of SMEs remain impeded from access to resources of this kind.
A dedicated expert database of available resources will be setup through which all entities - whether SMEs, large groups, universities or laboratories - can offer the services of their own experts, or the use of technical facilities and laboratories, on a fair compensation basis. In this way, the service providers will benefit from a more profitable use of their experts as well as a better return on investment in their facilities.
Sinequanet is now in its first phase of defining and setting up its activities. These are:
- establishing the needs of SMEs for hands-on expertise, training and access to facilities for testing and calibration of new technologies and systems
- testing the Sinequanet concept by providing actual support to two SMEs
- creating a database containing sources of expertise and suppliers of facilities and services
- holding a series of workshop meetings, of which the Frascati meeting 28 March is one, at various locations throughout Europe, where SMEs and other industrial partners can meet to exchange views and refine the objectives of SineQuaNet
- creating a dedicated website as a communication and information tool for SMEs within the space sector. This new website was set-up last year and launched 7 December 2006, at http://www.esa.int/sme.
The workshop on 28 March will take place at ESRIN, ESA Centre for Earth Observation in Frascati, Italy. Registration by companies wishing to participate must be done at the dedicated SineQuaNet Workshop Programme website (http://www.isd2006.com/WP5/), where also more information is provided. Early registration is advised as the number of attendees is limited.
The SineQuaNet (Space INtelligence, Engineering & QUAlity NETwork) project is run by ESA’s SME Unit, with support from the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme, Economic & Technology Intelligence.