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SMEs form heart of research excellence

Speaking at our featured small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) Conference in Paris this month, European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik highlighted many important points about the part SMEs can play in creating research excellence in Europe, and how they can be helped to generate growth. Although SMEs need research, some need it more than others. SMEs transmit back important information about demand, value chains and global markets. As Mr Potočnik went on to say: 'Yes, research is about creating black holes and combating climate change, but it's also about creating value and winning markets - as a selection of our innovative SMEs revealed during our Parisian get-together'.

Over the last year, the IPR-Helpdesk (Intellectual Property Rights Helpdesk) has become a point of reference for SMEs that wish to protect their innovations. It's doing a great job helping you to manage your knowledge and intellectual property (IP) effectively when you join a research project, negotiate a licence agreement or define your innovation strategy, so we've devoted space to it (in Actions) this issue.


Perhaps establishing more gender-specific role models may be one answer for attracting more women-led SMEs into European research. Women are more likely to form women-only networks based around family life self-employment or career development. Maybe it's also regional partner networks which hold the key to the future for women researchers. This is further explored in Points of View.

In Success Story, robotics is strategic for Europe's future competitiveness. To reflect this, the European Union is doubling its European robotics research fund to EUR 400 million throughout the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) to counteract competition from Asia and create new markets. Indeed, robotics systems and technologies are poised to make major market breakthroughs and SMEs are at the forefront of developing these new markets.

And in Facts & Figures, the latest second-stage overview of the 'Research for SMEs' programme shows just how effective the scheme has been.

Latest Information

Calls for Proposals

Title  Specific calls for SMEs
Title  General open calls
  • SME Conference:

    Letting SMEs have their say

    Paris event explores funding mechanisms and invites feedback

  • Actions:

    Helping to protect your ideas

    Helpdesk provides free IPR services to SMEs

  • Points of View:

    Women starting to get ahead

    Female entrepreneurs require a different approach

  • Success Story:

    SMEs make move towards knowledge-based manufacturing

    Affordable robots help boost their competitiveness

  • Policy Update:

    Give SMEs training and support

    Brussels conference explores future research needs

  • Events:

    Conferences, exhibitions and seminars for SMEs

    Biotechnology and food research opportunities

  • Facts & Figures:

    Research highlights

    Call analysis shows FP7 fits SMEs’ needs

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This online newsletter includes news, results, policy and points of view covering all areas of European research for SMEs. If there is anything in it you'd like more information about, then do let us know. Because we want to see what you have to say on each issue, and on research for SMEs in general, a web forum is available to register your comments and ideas for future topics to be covered.