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18.02.2009 - Expertise from the City by the Sea in demand for small and medium-sized enterprises

Tags: French Ministry of Economic Affairs, funding, European Union, Seventh Framework Programme, funding acquisition, SME

Whilst Berlin indeed does not lie halfway between Paris and Bremerhaven, sometimes it is the best place to meet. A delegation from the Inspection Générale des Finances (IGF) met on Friday for an exchange of experience with the Managing Director of ttz Bremerhaven, Werner Mlodzianowski, and his colleague,  Marie Shrestha. So far only a very low level of funds from the Seventh Framework Programme have been acquired by small and medium-sized enterprises in France. The government is now seeking ways to whet entrepreneurs' appetite for research funding. ttz Bremerhaven is regarded as a specialist for EU research projects with SME participants. Under the Sixth Framework Programme, the service provider procured 14 percent of the total volume of funds allocated to  non-university organisations in Germany.

Bremerhaven, 2009. Even if the entrepreneurial culture in different countries has its own typical features, quite a lot can be learnt from good examples. The team of advisors of the French Minister of Economic Affairs, Christine Lagarde, last week visited Italy, Austria and Germany to seek recommendations how participation by SMEs in the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union can be increased. Progressing globalisation and wage differentials are making innovation a necessity for small and medium-sized enterprises. To bolster them, the Seventh Framework Programme of the EU is making 54 billion Euro in funding available for the period 2007 to 2013. According to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, German firms will acquire 20 percent of these funds. Enterprises can secure this funding by developing innovative research ideas which offer convincing economic prospects.

Many enterprises however shy away from the bureaucratic aspect. Daily business leaves no time to get to grips with the conventions of funding practice and gain an overview of all the different funding instruments. Whilst large enterprises can afford their own R&D departments, the process for exploiting innovation potential is often not clearly regulated nor anchored in formal structures in SMEs. ttz Bremerhaven offers enterprises the possibility to participate in an EU research project in the shape of a "Carefree Package". This covers the entire process from joint generation of an idea to selection of a suitable funding instrument to formulation of a proposal application, search for project partners, project management and, finally, support in the marketing of the results. The Bremerhaven researchers are at home in the world of funding and understand how enterprises think.

"There is no risk of know-how drain in co-operative research projects since the marketing and utilisation of the intellectual property achieved together is settled in a clear and binding manner prior to the start of the project. We select project partners in such a way that they are not in direct competition with each other but instead complement each other in their fields of competence", says Werner Mlodzianowski, Managing Director of ttz Bremerhaven. The international team at ttz Bremerhaven is excellently equipped for its work with partners located all over the world. Its over 20 years' expertise as co-ordinator of numerous projects has strengthened its intercultural skills and explains its reliable global network of partners. Under the Seventh Framework Programme, which was launched at the end of 2007, the Bremerhaven scientists have already been given the green light from Brussels for 17 projects.

"The example of ttz Bremerhaven shows that it is possible to work very effectively with lean structures and limited personnel resources. Specialisation in the fields of competence of food and environmental technologies facilitates a clear positioning and the targeted creation of a sustainable network of experts", concludes Nicolas Cluzel, Scientific Advisor, after the meeting in Berlin.

Other stages in the delegation's visit to Germany were the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the German Federation of Research Associations (AiF), the federal government's "Research and Innovation" funding advice department,  Berlin Adlershof Technology Park and the consulting firm ZENIT.


Press pictures for editorial use (foto: ttz/pr)

franzoesische botschaft


How can subvention funds be made more appealing to French SMEs?  Nicolas Cluzel, Jean-Baptiste Dabezies, Vincent Susplugas, Magali Brabant, Philippe Pascal and Yves-Laurent Mahé (from left to right) invited Werner Mlodzianowski and Marie Shrestha from ttz Bremerhaven to an exchange of experience.

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ttz Bremerhaven is an innovative provider of research services and operates in the field of application-oriented research and development. Under the umbrella of ttz Bremerhaven, an international team of experts is working in the areas of food, environment, health and consulting.