- High initial investments for SMEs
- International cross-border cooperation
- Working towards stronger ecosystems
- Improvement of the competitive position of SMEs
There are numerous technologies that are being developed which enable all sorts of improvements, or new potential products for SMEs. These include, nanotechnology, photonics, microchips and electronics, and smart materials. These technologies are often highly advanced and SMEs need to invest time, money, and energy to discover their potential. In order to facilitate these developments, SMEs need external stimulation to find the appropriate knowledge, partners and finances. While certain regions in both the Netherlands and in Germany are frontrunners in the development of fundamental knowledge on these technologies, transfer to industry is, as always, a time-consuming process. In order to remain at the forefront of cutting-edge technology, this needs to be stimulated. Furthermore, companies and universities on both sides of the border are developing rapidly and should learn from each other. However, the national border presents collaboration limitations due to cultural and language differences, as well as separate legislation. In order to benefit fully from these KETs, a joint approach should be undertaken to have a major positive impact.
The INTERREG Deutschland – Nederland project ROCKET is a four year, 10 M EUR commitment to bring together Dutch and German organisations to develop products based on KETs. Within ROCKET, up to 11 innovation projects and six feasibility studies are being simultaneously conducted and funded, all of which are aimed at bringing KETs closer to the SMEs and ultimately, closer to the market.
Within all of these innovation projects, more than 40 products are being developed by applying KETs. On top of this, a cross-border collaboration is being established to foster an international ecosystem capable of leading research and rapid implementation on these technologies, resulting in a stronger competitive advantage for the regional industry.
The ROCKET project is being executed by Oost NL (the development agency for the provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland in the Netherlands), in close collaboration with ‘Business Cluster Semiconductors NL’, ‘Novel-T’, ‘Innos-Sperlich’, and the ‘NanoMikroWerkstoffePhotonik-Cluster’ as regional partners. These organisations informed and inspired hundreds of SMEs of the potential that these KETs hold, which ultimately resulted in almost two dozen proposals for innovation projects, of which 11 are being funded. The project partners are all involved in spreading awareness and disseminating knowledge towards companies that are interested in these technologies. Currently, methods are being developed to stimulate companies to embrace KETs and to explore the possibilities for their organisations.
The Results and Benefits
The expected end-result will be a strong, competitive advantage for the participating companies, as well as a broad range of businesses which will be aware of the upcoming development and potential opportunities – as well as potential threats – if they do not keep a sharp eye on their business cases.
Specifically, the participating regions will have a stronger ecosystem and will be one step closer to being one of the leaders in the developments and application of KETs.