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45 million IAPP scheme lays foundation for next generation of research entrepreneurs

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Marie Curie action offers individual SMEs the opportunity to exchange cutting-edge know-how with academic groups. Scheme stimulates two-way secondment of experienced research staff from different sectors. Workshops and conferences encourage networking.

The ultimate goal of the new Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) scheme is to produce well trained, entrepreneurially-minded researchers of the future.

An IAPP conference held on 14th January by the EC in Brussels, and opened by Commissioner for Research Janez Potočnik, highlighted the huge opportunities to industry of participating in the scheme. Transferring cutting-edge science and technology from creative academic groups to SMEs is the key to successful business.

"A knowledge based economy is all about its people. Making it easier to move between the public and private sectors is a challenge for all of Europe, and I think that the Marie Curie Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways action blazes a trail, which other research funders can follow," said Commissioner Potočnik.

The IAPP scheme focuses on providing researchers with the adequate skills and opportunities to contribute to SME growth: Support is provided for the creation and development of strategic partnerships based on a longer-term cooperation programme between the participants, aimed at knowledge sharing and inter-sector mobility, based on targeted human resources interaction, recruitment of experienced researchers, and organisation of meetings, workshops and conferences to facilitate sharing of knowledge and culture between the participants.

Private partners may range in size from the smallest micro-companies with a small research capability to very large multinational enterprises. Public sector organisations can include universities, NGOs, and government research institutes.

EC funding for such Marie Curie actions is €1 million for a four-year project, and worth up to 100 per cent of the costs. No matching financing is required and a large advance payment is available immediately. The SME’s research equipment can also be funded (up to 10 per cent of the EC contribution for each SME).

There will be yearly deadlines until 2013. For 2008, the deadline is 25th March.