International cooperation in research gives European SMEs the know-how and skills needed to strengthen their competitive position.
The Basque-Enterprise Europe Network, B-EEN, seeks to promote the international dimension of the research process of Basque SMEs by providing information and support to promote their participation in European R&D projects.
Europe holds the greater involvement of industry, especially SMEs, in European R&D&I as one of its cornerstones for the integration and strengthening of the European Research Area.
In fact, since the 6th Framework Programme (2002- 2006) there has been an increasing, calculated global commitment to spending 15% of funding for thematic priorities of SMEs, as well as specific measures in their favour. During the 7th Framework Programme (2007-2013) 222 Basque companies participated in R&D&I projects, of which 148 were SMEs. The vast majority of SMEs that were incorporated every year did so for the first time. HORIZON 2020 (2014-2020) reinforces the commitment to SMEs and wants to devote at least 20% of its budget to funding their participation in projects. The SME Instrument was also created, dedicated exclusively to those innovative companies that show a strong ambition for development, growth and internationalisation.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Plan, 2020 PCTI Euskadi, sets out a strategic line on the opening and internationalisation of the Science, Technology and Innovation System. To achieve this objective, it sets out the promotion of Basque participation in H2020 as a line of action. The "Strategic Notebook on Basque R&D&I in Europe" includes the position of the Basque Country facing the new challenges of H2020, and sets concrete targets for each agent’s participation and research field. Specifically, it is expected that the business sector will increase its share by 32% compared to the overall objective of return (€805M).
To achieve these objectives, activities specifically designed to increase the involvement of SMEs in European research programmes are planned, by organising local information events, courses, development of information tools and channels and the creation of support services for promoting the participation of SMEs in European R&D projects:
• Information and dissemination
o Presentations on the relevant calls: HORIZON 2020 and SME Instrument, European Programme for SMEs (COSME), ERA-NETs, etc.
• European R & D Advisory
o Meetings and personalized advice to SMEs for participation in European projects.
o Specific training courses in European R&D&I, proposal writing, management of European projects, exchange of best practices, etc.
• Support for the formation of Consortia
o Assistance for finding partners in their projects. Automatic alerts about searching for partners in other international projects.
• Key Account Managers (KAMs) in the SME Instrument
o Support services to beneficiaries of projects in the SME instrument.