3 October 2014 – Room 0/S1, BU 25, Avenue de Beaulieu 25, B-1160 Brussels
The trip’s purpose was to deliver a presentation at the “European Research e-Infrastructures and Innovation Clusters” workshop, describing Agro-Know’s e-Infrastructure collaboration experience from the agINFRA project. More specifically, the presentation served as one of three “Examples of SME uses of research e-infrastructures”. The workshop’s focus was on improving collaboration between SMEs, e-Infrastructures, and Innovation Clusters and was thus organized in three relevant sessions. Below follow some of the main points made.
The European Commission encourages/desires a shift from the current “supply-driven” and “service-focused” to a more “user-driven/focused” approach. It stresses the importance of meeting the users’ needs by working together with the end-users towards this goal.
Among others, a critical need for increased collaboration emerges in Europe, since SMEs are local and many times they are not very innovative and those that are do not grow in Europe. One of the main obstacles of good collaboration is mistrust. There is therefore a need to build trust between Industry and Academia as well as between the Public and the Private sectors.
E-Infrastructures together with SMEs and innovation clusters form an important collaboration triangle. To successfully target SMEs, the e-Infrastructures must assess the true needs of SMEs and thus generate a user-driven solution. On the other hand, innovation clusters are the gateway for research e-infrastructures to access SMEs, so the need for training and support to access the e-Infrastructures seems to apply to them as well as it does with the SMEs. At the same time, the Innovation clusters need educating and convincing on the value proposition before they act as brokers with their SME clients.
Another key issue is opening access to data. To this end, it was noted that an important factor in raising SMEs collaboration and awareness in data openness is the relevant training of the research community. Open access “hybrid systems”, combining public and private funds, should be encouraged to allow private funds’ participation. The importance of further investigating the motivations that drive the opening of data was highlighted. The European Space Agency was reported to have opened its data thanks to a private sector’s initiative taken by Google.
e-infrastructures were represented with presentations from major players such as GÉANT (the pan-European research and education network that interconnects Europe’s National Research and Education Networks), the European Grid Infrastructure (EGI), OpenAIRE & EUDAT, iMarine and Helix Nebula, among others.