Aerospace industries have provoked important developments in Europe's infrastructure. They have contributed massively to the economies of Europe and the wealth of a number of its regions; they employ a huge workforce (more than 1 million jobs depend directly or indirectly) and, through exports, contribute strongly to Europe's ability to develop the quality of life of its citizens. Aerospace SMEs have been working for long in the shadow of large industrialists. Some are now leading European RTD (Research and Technical Development) projects fitting with SMEs needs, capabilities and expected time to product. In the Framework Programme (FP6), the Commission aims to allocated 15% of the total financial resources assigned to Integrating Research thematic programmes to SMEs. SMEs awareness has considerably increased, expressed needs from SMEs are actual, and nevertheless a large amount of work remains to be accomplished in order to help SMEs in creation of effective consortia and in preparation of successful serviced SME Integrated Projects proposals.
SCRATCH Phase IP objectives were:
- To help already audited SMEs (500) to structure their corporate research plan and to point out jointly the RTD ideas able to be converted into Large STREPs proposals within the Aerospace Programme (FP6).
- To set up a list of Large STREPs short-term, product oriented, expressed research and implementation needs from aerospace SMEs.
- To offer aerospace SMEs with services in order to have access to FP6 RTD funds dedicated to SMEs (which target was, in particular, to allocate 15% budget in the 'Aerospace thematic priority').
- To bring together aerospace SMEs from the EU Member States and Associated States to prepare in cooperation SMEs technology implementation Large STREPs proposals.
- To support the initial management when setting up a serviced SME Large STREPs proposal.
- To submit at least two serviced Large STREPs proposals (led by small enterprises in the field of the Aerospace Programme) for evaluation to the Commission.
- To remain flexible to adapt the SCRATCH objectives to the FP6 evolving implementation mechanisms.
- To act directly within nineteen Countries: UK, D, F, NL, B, L, I, MA, E, P, EL, IL, CY, CZ, PL, RO, IRL, HU and S.
SCRATCH IP comprised three major Work Packages, excluding WP1, which dealt with management and upper support to the partnership.
- WP2: Large STREPs expressed needs and associated candidate Coordinators search;
- WP3: Project Proposals Servicing (to service selected IPs/STREPs proposals and to bring expertise to help SMEs in structuring their serviced SME IPs proposals under the action of the SCRATCH-IP coordinator);
- WP4: IP themes for FP7 SMEs CFP.
Results achieved by WPs:
- WP 2:
In total, four proposals of Large STREPs were submitted to servicing acceptance at the SCRATCH IP meeting of Warsaw (Jan 05).
One more proposal was proposed for servicing on October 10th, 2005 through the email servicing acceptance process, to be submitted to the TREN-4-Aero call for proposal.
Due to several drawbacks (either abandon by the coordinators or impossibility to create a consortium), only one proposal was serviced up to the final submission to the EC (the ADOC proposal).
i-WAVES has also been serviced up to the final submission at EC evaluation in early November 05.
SCRATCH IP consortium has tried to involve SMEs in large projects with two different approaches:
- proposing to Large industrialists to manage (through the SCRATCH Partnership) the commitment of SMEs (from the SCRATCH Partnership) in their selected proposals.
- proposing to large manufacturers to select ideas through a cluster of several SMEs projects (this cluster being part of an IP led by the large manufacturer).