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Brussels, 15 June 2000
Uncorking SME success
A special media briefing at the Third SME Technology Days
29-30 June, Oporto, Portugal
- Photos of cork production at Juvenal Ferreira da Silva, Lda
- The project website: DELFIN® - The future of natural corks
- Project descriptions:
- Press release of 27.06.2000: "No more corked wine thanks to EU-funded research"
Keywords: SMEs, competitiveness
Every year, €500 million worth of wine is ruined because of chemical or microbial contamination from the corks that are supposed to protect it. Now, a patented production technique, using microwaves to penetrate the cork, has been developed by Portuguese, German and Spanish SMEs working with a German research institute on a project funded by the European Union - and has succeeded where traditional treatments had failed. After the opening session of the Third SME Technology Days in Oporto on 29 June, the media are invited to accompany EU Research Commissioner, Philippe Busquin, to see first hand how participating in an EU project has enabled a traditional industry to solve a problem that was threatening its very existence.
At the SME, Dr Jens Jaeger from the German research institute which carried out the research on behalf of the Spanish and Portuguese SME partners, will present the project. This will be followed by a tour of the facility. Since local transport will be provided, registration for this visit is essential; please contact Stephen Gosden (see below). See http://ec.europa.eu/search/rtdinf23/en/innov1.html for a write-up of the project and other contacts. An updated version of this will be available at the briefing.
Journalists are, of course, welcome to attend the whole conference (see the full programme).
Background to the conference
The growth and success of Europe's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is fundamental to its long-term prosperity. To innovate and internationalise, an increasing number of SMEs are participating in European research projects: more than 14 500 did so from 1994 to 1998, and their participation rate increased by 20% in 1999. From 29-30 June in Oporto, Portugal, the Third SME Technology Days will provide an opportunity for SMEs to meet with policy-makers, potential partners and intermediaries, and to gain insights into how they can participate in EU-funded research. The conference is hosted by the Portuguese presidency and will be opened by José Mariano Gago (Portuguese Minister for Science and Technology), Philippe Busquin (EU Commissioner for Research) and Elly Plooij-van Gorsel (Member of the European Parliament).
The conference speakers will address such issues as the international challenges facing SMEs, how to exploit research results and find venture capital, and how SMEs without their own research facilities can use other organisations - such as universities and contract research organisations - to perform the research for them, and still obtain funding under the EU's Framework Programme (FP) for Research and Technological Development. There will also be workshops on how to participate in the FP's various research areas and a special panel session entitled 'Women Entrepreneurs and the Framework Programme'.
For further information, or to register, please visit the conference web site:
Robert-Jan Smits, Head of Unit, SMEs and Innovation, Research DG
Stephen Gosden, Press and Information Officer, Research DG
Tel: +32.2.296 00 79; Fax: +32-2-295.82.20
Third SME Technology Days
29-30 June, Oporto, Portugal
29 JUNE 2000
8:30 -10:00 REGISTRATION 10:00-11:15 OPENING ADDRESS
M. Gago (Minister for Science and Technology, Portugal)
P. Busquin (EU Commissioner for Research)
E. Plooij-van Gorsel (Member of the European Parliament)
11:15-11:45 COFFEE BREAK 11:45-13:00 PANEL SESSION: The SME Target Group
Chaired by H. Machado Jorge (IAPMEI)
"SMEs - A Heterogeneous Target Group"
H.W. Mueller (UEAPME)
"SMEs and the International Challenges"
L. Fernandes (Agência de Inovação)
SMEs Case Studies
J.P. Jaeger (SLFA)
P. de Noronha Pissarra (BIOTECNOL)
J. Menezes (IBEROMOLDES)
13:00-14:30 LUNCH AND EXHIBITION 14:30-16:00 PANEL SESSION: The Role of Intermediaries
Chaired by A. Trigo de Abreu (ICCTI)
B. Keown (Beta Technology - UK)
M. Horvat (BIT - Austria)
J. Mendonça (Agência de Inovação - Portugal)
J. Stabulnieks (Latvian Technological Centre - Latvia)
16:00-16:30 COFFEE BREAK 16:30-17:30 PANEL SESSION: The Role of Research Performers
Chaired by L. Magalhães (FCT)
"The Role of contract research organisations"
J. Dekker (EARTO)
"The Role of Universities"
A. Borg (Royal Technical University - Sweden)
"The SMEs Perspective and Expectations"
M. Carlos (APPICAPS)
17:30-18:00 GENERAL DISCUSSION Evening - Conference Dinner
30 JUNE 2000
9:00-10:00 PANEL SESSION: Women Entrepreneurs and the Framework Programme
Opening by M. Belém (Minister for Equality, Portugal) *
N. Dewandre (EC - Research DG)
R. Fletcher (BETA Technology - UK)
Representative of the Association of Portuguese Women Entrepreneurs
Representative of the European Association of Women Entrepreneurs
10:00-12:30 PARALLEL WORKSHOPS:
1. SMEs in the Thematic Programme:
Quality of life and management of living resources
2. SMEs in the Thematic Programme:
User-friendly information society
3. SMEs in the Thematic Programme:
Competitive and sustainable growth
4. SMEs in the Thematic Programme:
Energy, environment and sustainable development
5. SMEs in the Horizontal Programme:
Promotion of innovation and encouragement of participation of SMEs
12:30-13:00 CLOSING SESSION
Pina Moura (Minister for Finances and Economy of Portugal) *
H. Tent (EC - Research DG)
"How to exploit and commercialise"
J. Hill (PERA)
President of APCRI - "Access to Risk Capital"
13:00-15:00 Lunch 15:00 VISIT TO POSTER EXHIBITION
* To be confirmed
PRESS RELEASES | 14.07.2000