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Review of 2008:

Keep local, go international

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The funding programme is also helping SMEs to access transnational research via their established national and regional partner agencies remaining local as they take part in a larger European, or global network. According to Reichert, the unit has been able to cooperate much more than in the past with the innovation activities of DG Enterprise. Reichert believes these kinds of collaborations are important, because they help keep the Commission focused.

Innovation, research and education currently sit within different Directorates General: 'When it comes to SMEs, you must have one leg in research policy and the other in innovation and industry policy. You have to try and get the best out of both. They should complement each other,' he says.

'Its also better that we work much more closely together and with the Enterprise Europe Network because this helps us to have a local appeal,' says Reichert. 'EEN can reach SMEs which are deeply rooted in the regions, so wed like to use it much more in the future as a tool SMEs can use to identify the right programme for them.'