In the framework of ROP Madeira 2007-2013 (“Intervir+” programme), a number of measures were funded in order to promote the use of innovative technologies to improve products and processes in industry. For instance, in the context of incentive measures addressed to companies to foster RTD, innovation and modernisation activities (“Direct and Indirect Incentives for Companies”, and “Scientific and Technological System and Knowledge Society”), about 170 projects were supported during that period.
Within the new ROP Madeira 2014-2020, measures that are particularly addressed to companies (e.g. Incentives System for Madeira’s Research and Technological Development (PROCIÊNCIA 2020), Incentives System for Madeira’s Valorisation and Qualification (Valorizar 2020) and Incentives System for Madeira’s Business Innovation (Inovar 2020) support actions such as development of new products and processes, new organisational models, ICT development, energy efficiency, use of renewable resources, enhanced environmental performance, better waste management, noise reduction, use of eco-efficient technologies etc.
However, taking into account that regional economic activities are strongly based in the tertiary sector (almost 85% of the regional gross value added (GVA) comes from the tertiary sector), only a relatively small number of these projects are to involve industrial companies. In any case, these projects are helping some regional industries (e.g. agro-food) to develop new products and processes, and to invest in other innovation actions such as new organisational models, ICT development, energy efficiency, and enhanced environmental performance.
Within the priority strategic areas selected under Madeira´s smart specialisation strategy, the support to advanced manufacturing is present in more than one area, namely in the fields of sea technologies, bio-sustainability, energy and mobility, agro-food and ICT.
Research and technology transfer activities targeted at new products, services and processes are undertaken at some R&D units based in the University of Madeira, particularly in the fields of biotechnology, chemistry, materials and software engineering.
Among the research bodies hosted by the University of Madeira, the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute (Madeira-ITI) should be highlighted for its international reputation. Established by the universities of Madeira and Carnegie Mellon, Madeira-ITI operates in the interdisciplinary domain of human-computer interaction with contributions from computer science, psychology and design, so as to address global technology challenges faced by industry.
Other infrastructures available in the region may also provide R&D services to industry. This is the case of the regional laboratories LRVSA - Veterinary and Food Safety Regional Laboratory, LREC - Regional Laboratory of Civil Engineering and LMM - Metrology Laboratory. Sometimes services of these laboratories are rendered in conjunction with the University of Madeira.
Other institutions worth mentioning in the support to regional industries include CITMA - Centre for Science and Technology, DSIP – Fisheries Laboratory, EBMF – Funchal’s Marine Biology Station, CMC – Calheta’s Centre for Mariculture, and AREAM - Regional Agency for Energy and Environment. Although not all provide regular services to industry, some of these institutions provide research and technological support to industrial firms, including promotion of new products, processes and services.