Thursday, 4 September 2014

KARIM: Boosting EU SMEs' Competitiveness

The success of every small and medium sized enterprise (SME) is built on this premise: ‘Manage for today, lead for tomorrow’. Yet today’s economic context coupled with growing global competition has made it all the more challenging for Europe’s SMEs to survive let alone thrive. That’s why the support network developed by KARIM, an EU initiative set up in North West Europe, has been so instrumental.

On 2 October KARIM is organising its final conference that will provide innovation enthusiasts and practitioners fresh insights into ‘Responsible Innovation’, a new philosophy for sustainable growth and competitiveness that the EU is firmly supporting. This free event takes place in the Palais des Académies in central Brussels from 9h00 to 19h00.

Perspectives on Responsible Innovation
Set up to assist SMEs in North West Europe, KARIM has made a significant breakthrough in the innovation landscape by considering ‘responsibility’ from the perspective of those behind the project: entrepreneurs and researchers.

KARIM has just published a new guidance book, ‘Responsible Innovation in the context of the KARIM project’, which proves there is competitive advantage by innovating using new technology from universities in a way that considers the impact of innovation on society, groups within it and the environment. Such is the evidence that the EU has invested in KARIM to encourage wider adoption of responsible innovation. And it is a philosophy that SusChem fully supports.

Organised as a part of the European SME Week, that is taking place from 29 September to 5 October, this one-day event will showcase and evaluate the project’s achievements across three areas of activity:

  1. Knowledge base: Complementing the guidance on Responsible Innovation, the project has conducted transnational research to answer a series of questions related to SME and research laboratories international cooperation: How do SMEs build cooperation in KARIM regions, how do they prepare to go international, what is the available support in their jurisdictions? What is the role of spin-off in technology transfer in the several KARIM regions and their experiences in the technology transfer from academia to industry?
  2. Capacity building: In just over two years, KARIM has proven the value of transnational cooperation between academia and innovation support organisations to foster cross border partnerships between laboratories and SMEs. 
  3. SME support: KARIM provides transnational support to SMEs in order to enhance their involvement in European cooperation. This support builds on tools dedicated to business development managers, students with a collaborative placement scheme, SMEs responsible innovation diagnostic etc.

If you are interested in finding out more about responsible innovation and how it can shape the EU economic agenda, register online and join the debate!

KARIM
KARIM is the Knowledge Acceleration and Responsible Innovation Meta-network. It aims to facilitate knowledge transfer across North West Europe (NWE), in six main fields:

  • ICT (Information & Communication Technologies)
  • Smart Energy Systems
  • Environmental Technologies
  • Eco-toxicology
  • Nano-bio Science & engineering
  • Bio-medical Technologies

KARIM is helping Europe to boost its future economic growth through innovation in products, services and business models: Europe needs to be better at turning research into new and better services and products if it is to remain competitive in the global marketplace and improve our quality of life.

KARIM is committed to sharing innovation and improving small and medium sized enterprises’ access to high value innovation support and technology in order to make NWE more competitive.

The KARIM project involves a consortium of universities, innovation support agencies, regional and national agencies and, crucially, business representative organisations. The project has created a strategic network of more than 500 innovation actors and provides a range of innovative yet practical offerings for all who share the vision of creating a more competitive Europe.

Actions under the KARIM programme are creating transnational support for innovation and technology transfer; providing SMEs access to a wider range of high quality technologies and innovation support than available locally; increasing the capacity of SMEs and universities to access and provide support transnationally; and reducing regional disparities in SME access to innovation support and technology.

The project is funded under the European Commission’s INTERREG IV B programme.

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