SMART is a support system co-funded by the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission (EC). As the EC states on its website, “the FP7 bundles all research-related EU initiatives together under a common roof playing a crucial role in reaching the goals of growth, competitiveness and employment.
Basically, SMART is a web portal that offers support in being involved in RTD research projects at European level to all organizations operating in the Surface-Transport sector. The web portal offers networking and partnering opportunities, as well as providing information and tools to enhance the active participation in research programmes in the sector.
In other words, the main aim of SMART is to provide services to support SMEs participation in RTD research projects under the Transport Work-Programme. The following services are provided:
- connecting Clustersof Transport sector in different European countries
- training on EU funding mechanisms
- facilitating networking opportunities and partnerships creation among all stakeholders of the transport sector (using the metacluster approach)
- addressing SMEs research capabilities/needs
- facilitating the creation of consortium with large organizations in projects led by SMEs
- supporting SMEs in submitting proposals for own project ideas
- creating a nurturing environment for transnational research projects
In terms of partners involved, SMART has a wide range of stakeholders including Private Technology Transfer companies, Regional SMEs Clusters, Public Innovation Agencies, and Large Enterprises linked to Regional Clusters such as ECONET in Spain and IMAST in Italy.
So what are the actual benefits of SMART?
SMART Web Portal offers a virtual meeting point for all the organizations operating in the Surface Transport Sector. SMART identifies the market needs and the organisations’ skills and competences facilitating the matching of research and innovation demand and offer.
As SMART is co-funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, it must be stated that this is another smart initiative of the EC to generate growth, competitiveness and employment.