Matching technologies and opportunities
Stimulating technology-driven innovation in four complementary European regions – Catalonia, Lombardia, North Brabant and South-West Bohemia – was the ambitious aim of the three-year MATEO project. Working both at policy level and directly on the ground, MATEO helped to boost innovative processes in small businesses throughout all four regions.
“We have identified 5 companies in Spain which are interested in developing the SMARTEX project to industrial level - one is interested in the integration of solar cells into fabrics and another in the integration of electro conductive material for dual effect.”
Laurent Aubouy, Ph.D., Leitat Technologi¬cal Center, Spain
Twelve interregional sub-projects were undertaken in eight important sectors biotechnology, aerospace, advanced materials, pharmaceutical and medical technologies, mechatronics, renewable energies and process and production technology. Through the international partnerships formed, companies were able to develop new products and reach new markets.
Navisto is one such sub-project which helped companies to identify where they could use and make the most of Global Navigation Satellite Systems applications. Through technology matching events, companies in Catalonia, Lombardy and North Brabant were able to create partnerships with each other – increasing their competitiveness through the connections made and know-how shared.
Tetrinno SMARTEX, another sub-project, helped small businesses in the textile sector to compete with foreign companies with cheaper production costs. Knowledge and practical solutions were shared regarding the use of smart fabrics and interactive textiles. Applications for these innovative textiles include clothes that will monitor the heart, thereby providing a new approach to healthcare and emergency services.
These sub-projects, together with ten others, were approved for co-financing in March 2006. CIDEM which led the operations ensured that the activities undertaken all fulfilled the project’s dual aim of promoting technology transfer to small companies and fostering the creation of new technology-based companies. CIDEM was supported by a total of 53 different public bodies in the four countries concerned.
Knowledge shared and multiplied
The most tangible results of this project are the concrete sub-projects which companies in the respective regions were involved in, developing new products and reaching new markets through new international partnerships. The project also served to enhance knowledge of innovative techniques and access to more advanced sources of technical know-how.
The MATEO project formed an international system of technology transfers between research centres and small businesses. The involvement of other countries helped companies to obtain better results than would have been possible within a regional or national context.
The efforts have had a strong impact on the creation of new business in the 8 targeted sectors, with many new business opportunities and possibilities for the creation of start-ups.