A new web portal is aiming to provide a comprehensive overview of eco-innovation research in the European Union by aggregating information from more than 1500 projects.
The ECOWEB portal (http://www.ecoweb.info), which launched at the beginning of May 2013, is targeted in particular at small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) that might have the potential to develop some of the eco-innovative ideas and to make them a success in the marketplace. The portal has been established by a consortium led by Eutema, an Austrian research and technology consultancy, and is an FP7 Support Action funded under the 2011 Eco-innovation call
The portal groups projects that have been funded by EU Framework Programmes, by the eco-innovation initiative of the EU Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, and by the LIFE+ programme, which supports environmental technology demonstration projects. According to the project website, it offers an advantage over existing databases of projects (such as the Cordis database of Seventh Framework Programme projects) because it has been specially customised for SME users, is more user-friendly, and is a one-stop shop.
Monica Expositor of Eutema says that the aim of the portal is to “make sure that these [research] results are more visible to SMEs.” The portal will be promoted through “multiplier” organisations, such as sector and professional associations, chambers of commerce, incubators, technological platforms and regional agencies. The current challenge for ECOWEB is to build up its network of collaborators so that the information contained in the portal is shared as widely as possible.
In particular, ECOWEB offers an application that allows a “guided search box” and/or a “results list box” to be added to partner websites. The guided search box links to the information in the ECOWEB database, and allows searches to be done by topic (such as climate change, soil conservation, and toxic substances and waste), while the results list box pre-filters projects according to their topic so that only the most relevant for a particular partner website are displayed.
The portal's search function provides for both free and guided searches. For a guided search, results are grouped in four categories: environment, society, energy, and material and production. Sub-categories help to narrow the selection down. For example, under the society heading, sub-categories include sustainable building and housing, transport and mobility, and social innovation and inclusion.
The project concluded in August 2013, by which time the consortium hopes that many partners will have been recruited to use the database. Expositor says it is too early to gauge the overall impact, but the portal will continue to be updated automatically with new eco-innovation project information for three years after the project close date.
Duration: September 2011 to August 2013
Partners: Eutema Technology Management (Austria), Smart Information Systems (Austria), the Austrian Society for Environment and Technology, the Agency for the Promotion of the European Research (Italy), the Association for the promotion and the international development of french eco-industries (France), University of Duisburg-Essen, Interactive Systems and Interaction Design Research Group (Germany), B.A.U.M. Consult (Germany)
Funding: €1,003,110 including €975,535 from the 7th Framework Programme