Co-operation built in brokerage events

One of the goals of the Process-SME project is to open European R&D partnerships for us here in the North. “Us” means in this context the industries here in the Northern parts of Nordic Countries as wells as SMEs and other companies producing services for them. We as research partners have a role of supporting the companies with the help of applied research and development.

European projects are a gateway to European market and knowhow

European Commission in co-operation with member states runs several large research and development programs. The largest one is Horizon 2020 with nearly €80 billion funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). The goal is to drive economic growth and create jobs with the help of combining research and innovation to create more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from lab to the market. This means that the goal in all projects is in creating new business opportunities and making existing more effective.

Process-SME project partners have been for years active especially in ARTEMIS-ETP and ECSEL Joint Undertaking program. ARTEMIS-ETP is the European technology platform for embedded systems, where we have been active especially in developing R&D roadmaps for process industry related development. We also run together a Centre of Innovation Excellence – ProcessIT.EU, which labels us to lead the related work on European level. ECSEL  Joint Undertaking is a financing model, where one part of the projects is financed by Horozon 2020, one part by national financer like Tekes and Vinnova, and the rest by the participants. In the call the total public funding is 320 million €. Additionally participants have to use own financing with varying percentage depending on how close to market the project results are. So far, the size of the projects vary between a few million and 100 million €. The goal is always to get to the market.

Why should a company participate in ProcessSME project?

There are several good reasons to participate in European R&D co-operation:

  1. When searching for fulfilling capabilities, the possibility to find good matches is better when searching among European Union with its 480 million inhabitants.

  2. Companies as well as the research partners make good door openers to the large European market

  3. In a large project, several other companies and research partners will support your idea and need. The total investment in your R&D will be bigger.

Brokerages collect together European know-how to build co-operation

In the Northern countries we often believe that e-mail, Skype and phone enable co-operation. After some 20 years in European collaboration I claim that it is not true. In the most cultures you must meet people to learn to know them and build trust first. Especially when dealing with sensitive topics like product development and competitive advantages, trust is necessary.

To enable interaction between experts, both European Commission and Joint Undertakings arrange brokerages, of which most and the most productive aim to some certain financing calls. These are the ones where companies play the main role. Typically, the program consists of information of the call: what are they looking for, what are the conditions, how much is available etc. The main part of the program consists of a few minute presentations of the ideas by the proposer, poster sessions and meetings to build the consortia. Simple but effective.

Several openings for further development

This time we went to Brussels to ARTEMIS brokerage 31st January to 1st February 2017. We were four from Lapland UAS to cover the competence areas we were looking for. Without competence, you are not a serious potential partner to any consortium. Ville Rauhala is already in in a large ECSEL project and is specialist in maintenance. Matti Vatanen knows energy sector, Heikki Konttaniemi is deeply involved with traffic related topics, and I help by opening doors.

The result of the one and half days was four consortia, which we decided to follow, and one we transferred to others.

There is one related to maintenance continuing the path our Operation & Maintenance Team has followed with Finnish industries for years. They have been working for years with industry to develop predictive maintenance and maintenance processes as well as use of new ICT technologies to make maintenance and thus production more effective.

Our Arctic Power team conducts research and development for the needs of traffic with focus on winter conditions. This work is done in co-operation with the meteorological institutes and road administrations as well as with universities in both Finland and Sweden. Our winter sets high demands on technologies and services developed to make the traffic safer.

One consortium is making efforts for better monitoring of electrical networks. There our role would be maintenance expertise added with testing the methods and devices in arctic climate. If it works by us, it will work anywhere.

Drones have passed the phase of becoming more than toys. One consortia works on using of them effectively for various needs. Our role would be in their use in forestry, which is one of the capability areas of our Natural Research Team.

Some other ideas we forwarded to other faculties – we are not experts e.g. in health care.

If you and your company / organization is interested in these topics, we are open to discuss co-operation both on national and international level. Process-SME partners already cover the three Nordic countries, and our networks Europe and more.

Don’t hesitate to contact us!

-Seppo Saari,

ProcessSME project manager

Lapland University of Applied Sciences

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