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
The main negative influences appear to be lack
of support from within the company; and the external market and
- 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
- 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:
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.
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)
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
- 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