The kick-off meeting of OPENISME Project was held in London on the 8th of January, 2015 and hosted by the Project Coordinator, University College London (UCL). OPENISME is positioned to act as an intermediary between public and private laboratories and innovative SMEs to improve both research commercialization for laboratories and access to expert knowledge by SMEs. In other words, by improving the connectivity between SME’s and experts’ communities, the project aims to improve SME’s competitiveness and create a better link between SME’s and European research.
Partnerships between SMEs and research partners are strategic for market success because they allow the development of excellent products, instead of competing merely on the price factor. Furthermore, product complexity is rising over time, as well as customers’ expectations: it’s getting more and more difficult to have in–house all the necessary competences needed to develop a new product, especially for a small business. The majority of SMEs are unaware of sources of external skills and expertise, have no way to readily identify these potential assets and no easy way to access the resources and execute against a specific problem.
Meanwhile, it is often difficult for SMEs to deal with the world of Universities: main obstacles are often mentality and bureaucratic aspects, but also their heterogeneous and complex nature.
The first dilemma for SMEs is to identify the ideal contact with whom they can evaluate a partnership opportunity that is why OPENISME will start from the development of a platform that will allow a more effective link between companies and researchers. In fact, finding the most suitable expert is fundamental: not only this results in an increase in the final product quality, but it also usually provides time and cost savings.
The OPENISME project will last 3 years, with a total investment of 3,8 M €, of which 1,8 M € co-funded by the European Union within the CIP Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme 2007-2013.
The consortium of the project gathers a group of organizations and people from seven EU member states and associated countries (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Slovenia, Greece and Turkey) whose competences and capacity complement each other ideally. Excluding governance, four types of actors come together for the project: expert providers, platform specialists, intermediary organizations and SMEs. University College London, Laval Mayenne Technopole (France), Idexlab sas (France), Institut Josef Stefan (Slovenia), t²i – trasferimento tecnologico e innovazione s.c.a r.l. (Italy), Virce – Kompetenzzentrum Virtuellerealitat und Kooperatives Engineering w.V. (Germany), Academy of Entrepreneurship Astikietaira (Greece) and TAGES (Turkey) are the partners of the project. TAGES is one of the intermediary project partners which will run the trial with experts and local SME’s in Turkey from the initial contact all through contract conclusion/ knowledge exchange.