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Brite-Euram: Making a Lasting Impression on Europe Graphic element
Brite-Euram: Making a Lasting Impression on Europe

 

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  Measuring the impact
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- Three-part exercise  
- Profile of participants  
- Impacts  
- Added value of Brite-Euram projects  
- What makes a successful participant?  
  General conclusions  
  Principal benefits  
 

Case histories

 

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General conclusions


Overall impacts

Being involved in an EC-supported project is clearly a positive influence; it prepares the technical ground for further R&D and for the exploitation of the results. The effort put into exploiting the results of the project by the company itself is also crucial, since it refers implicitly to the cost-effectiveness of the exploitation strategy.

The main negative influences appear to be lack of support from within the company; and the external market and technological environment:

  • In-house support: Any new project, especially one that involves new technology or the introduction of new products and processes, will only succeed if senior management is fully committed to it. Companies have to ensure that Brite-Euram projects, like any other new ventures, are locked firmly into the wider company strategy.
  • External environment: Obviously, less can be done about what is happening in the outside market and what new technological developments appear during or immediately after the project. What is vital, however, is that they are carefully monitored during the project, and in the post-R&D phase.

Did Brite-Euram succeed as planned?

It is clearly important to see how the actual impacts matched the forecasts made by the participants at the end of each project. However, the comparison is not straightforward. One reservation when comparing the forecasts made at project-end with the eventual outcome of the impact studies is that the evaluation carried out at the end of the project looked at the project as a whole, and not at each partner individually. Yet, the final assessment of the impacts looks at the partners, since it is (mostly) as individual companies that they will be exploiting the project results.(This also implies that the study does not include any impacts outside the project partners.)

There were 12 indicators selected for the comparison, grouped into four categories:

1. Technology
These included the level of technical risk remaining at the end of the project, and the extent to which the project contributed to standard setting.

2. Partners
These covered whether any permanent partnerships were established, and what impact the project had on SME partners.

3. Exploitation of the project outcome
Here, the report examined the promotion of research, the level of production risks, the number of applications, and the support set-up for effective exploitation.

4. The market
These include the economic gains, the time to market, exploitation costs, and commercial risks.

Not all these indicators were relevant to all participants. The 'production risks' category and the four indicators related to the market were applied to large companies, SMEs and contract research organisations only. And the SMEs have one indicator specific to them (Impact on SMEs).

Figure: Indicators of Brite-Euram success (studies 1 and 2)

Figure 10: Indicators of Brite-Euram success (studies 1 and 2)

The height of the bar in Figure 10 indicates where the preliminary forecast was confirmed or surpassed by impact studies 1 and 2. It can be seen that an average of 78% of these forecasts were correct or were under-estimates. Even in those areas where external factors came in to play and some wider variation might have been expected - such as economic gains, time to market, exploitation costs, and commercial risks - this figure was as high as 67%.

Building on success

Compared with conducting R&D using own or other external funds, the benchmarking exercise carried out in study 3 showed that participating in a Brite-Euram project offers added value mainly through the broader scope of the project, the higher level of risk addressed in the research, and the better profitability and economic impact of the project outcomes.

Compared with other national or international schemes, Brite-Euram projects are highly satisfactory and the excellence of Brite-Euram should be maintained for the funding, the European dimension, the added value of collaboration and the payment conditions. Aspects which were less appreciated than in other schemes were the selection procedure and the time to contract, the reporting requirements and the support for exploitation.

The service could be improved by:

  • Setting up a two-stage procedure for proposals to reduce the cost and time required to make a good proposal. This could be optional or reserved for SMEs and inexperienced partners - and would also take account of the burden generated for the programme management;
  • Reducing the lead time between submission of a proposal and contract by increasing the efficiency of the process after the technical evaluation stage; and
  • Rationalising reporting by reducing the number and complexity of intermediate reports.

Better support has already been put in place for exploitation (patents, prototypes) for specific groups of partners such as SMEs and research organisations, and for streamlining contract procedures.

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