The SMART project is a portal, offering organisations operating in the Surface-Transport sector to enhance their active participation in research programmes. It supports this participation through networking and partnering opportunities, as well as obtaining useful information and tools.
The objective of the project was to provide services to support SME's participation in RTD research projects under the Transport Work-Programme, mainly:
- connecting Clusters of Transport sector in different European countries to facilitate networking and partnership creation;
- training on EU funding mechanisms, awareness with respect to funding opportunities;
- facilitating networking opportunities and partnerships creation among all stakeholders of the transport sector (using the meta cluster approach);
- addressing SME's research capabilities/needs;
- facilitating the creation of consortium with large organisations in projects led by SME's;
- supporting SME's in submitting proposals for own project ideas;
- creating a nurturing environment for transnational research projects.
The SMART project realised services to support the participation of SME's in RTD research projects under the Transport Work-Programme. The work included:
- services to connect Regional Clusters from different countries, facilitating networking, partnerships creations among SMEs and other organisations;
- full-support for SMEs involvement in RTD own projects and participation in projects led by large organisations;
- awareness, and training actions on European funding opportunities and mechanisms;
- added value information including a database of qualified SMEs that created:
- the SMART Consortium comprising Regional SMEs Clusters, Public Innovation Agencies, Private Technology Transfer companies, and Large Enterprises linked to Regional Clusters;
- the SMART innovative approach based on the involvement of Large Organisations working with regional clusters, that will be engaged in supporting the SMEs innovation processes, starting from SMEs operating in their supply chain;
- the SMART approach will provide Large Organisations with: (a) the competitiveness improvement of their Ecosystem, (b) the capability of benefit from SME's innovations and (c) Corporate Social Responsibility objectives.
Several large organisations have shown formal interest in the SMART project to enable the optimisation of public-funded and private-funded initiatives in transport. SMART will exploit and create synergies with EC funded initiatives and private driven actions. Specific IT support tools and methodologies developed in precedent European-funded projects, such as a database on funding programs (with data in exportable XML format), and a tailor-made IT systems to manage projects, partners, and competences will become available.
The SMART Web Portal offers a virtual meeting point for all the organisations operating in the Surface Transport Sector. It identifies the market needs. The matching of research and innovation demand and offer, is facilitated. Regional Cluster, Large organisations but also SME's and Research Centers are some the members involved in the SMART Community that benefit of its network and services.
SME's are key elements for the introduction of new solutions and initiatives, that can move the world towards a future with green and efficient mobility. Companies, local/national governments and the public must join forces to make change happen. SME's and entrepreneurs that want to make a difference, need allies. By joining other companies and organisations, they can become parts of bigger solutions. The SMART Web Portal facilitates this.
In the not too far future, mobility needs to be re-defined in the context of energy and environment. At the moment all is moving slowly in the right direction: e.g. promoting the use of Electric Vehicles, etc. However, progress needs to be accelerated with aggressive goals. But also with increased investment in new technology and infrastructure. Now is the time to be effective, manage resources sensibly and make decisive moves. Now is the time to get on with the transforming of mobility and, in the process, contributing to saving the planet.
Green energy will play a vital part in the transformation of mobility. Alternative fuels and electricity from renewable sources will gradually replace oil. Some of the greatest challenges ahead, lie in distribution and standardization of systems. The transition from oil demands the introduction of new ideas and implementation of projects that help cities change.
Innovating for the future (technologyy and behaviour):
- A European Transport Research and Innovation Policy
- Promoting more sustainable development