The Origin of Many EU ICT R&D Projects: Brokerage Days

Many Belgian SMEs join international R&D projects in ICT. Clusters like ITEA2, ARTEMIS or the FP7 program of the European Commission spawn numerous research projects. But how do these research projects come to be? The answer: brokerage events.

A brokerage event is an event you can meet other parties that are interested in starting EU research projects. It is an ideal place to network, share and benchmark ideas with the EU ICT research community. Often this is done through poster and pitching sessions. During these intense days, project ideas are discussed and initial project consortia are formed. All this happens often in a rather chaotic manner: during the ITEA2 PO Preparation Days last week in Madrid, some 60 ideas were presented, discussed, merged and split by the 300+ participants! When you visit such event for the first time, this can be quite overwhelming. Therefore, I give you 3 tips for you as an SME interested in EU research:

  • Develop an R&D roadmap. Before you would consider joining R&D projects, you need to have a clear picture about what topics you would want to research.
  • Understand the value of doing international R&D. Try to have a clear picture as to what you want to get out of an international R&D project: obviously you want to research a specific topic, and you want to get funding for that. But did you also take into account that there might be additional ways to derive value out of such projects? Being part of an international consortium can help you create international visibility and increase your reputation, you might come in contact with large foreign players or it can be a means to be associated with e.g standardization efforts.
  • Look for help. For you as an SME, this is all complex and chaotic stuff, especially in the beginning: the brokerage days themselves are a large bazaar. Project ideas come and go, so do potential project partners. Typically in the weeks after the brokerage days, you'll be confronted with an avalanche of emails, when partners start sharing more concepts and ideas to further shape the project. This can quickly become too much. Luckily, parties like Sirris can help you: we can assist you with spotting potentially interesting projects at brokerage days and/or with shaping the content of an emerging project such that your research challenge is addressed. Last but not least, we can help with forming a well-balanced consortium.

Questions about what participating in EU ICT R&D could mean for your company? Wondering if the topics on your R&D roadmap can be translated into EU research project? Don't hesitate to contact us.