Promotion and Support of SME Research and Innovation in the Surface Finishing and Printed Circuit Manufacturing Sectors

The ETI project is focussed on the development and implementation of a research and innovation strategy for specific SMEs/SME Groupings. This co-ordination action project aims to complement the Framework Programme instruments by integrating the research needs of two traditional SME-intensive industry sectors. The target sectors are Surface/Metal Finishing and Printed Circuit Board (PCB) manufacturing, which are traditional SME intensive industries with very similar and overlapping technological needs.

With the objective of increasing involvement in framework programme research, particularly emerging and future European RTD activities and programmes, the central project aims are:

– Analysis and benchmarking of sectoral technological and business/market needs.
– Integration of SME sectoral research needs through exchange and dissemination of information and networking.
– Facilitation of SME innovation in target sectors by establishing best practice

Both overall aims of area 1.2.6 “Stepping up economic and technological intelligence” are central to the project.

The project will build both the capacity and capability of SMEs to innovate through greater involvement in research. The aims are to strengthen SME competitiveness in both the medium and long-term, through increasing knowledge and awareness of high-tech methods in these traditional industries. The two sectors are closely aligned with respect to the generic technological innovations required to meet future challenges, with similar market, environmental, legislative and societal issues to be addressed.