Towards a Nordic and Baltic Sea Region test-bed infrastructure

Nordic research and technology organisations (RTOs) and SMEs met on 28 Feb. 2019 in Copenhagen to discuss lessons learned from the BSR StarsS3 Bioeconomy Voucher pilot on cross-border cooperation between testbeds and SMEs. The aim of the workshop was to propose a set of concrete actions that can pave the way for realising a Nordic and Baltic Sea Region testbed infrastructure.

Key conclusions of the workshop were:

  • The vouchers have provided an opportunity for the SMEs to have tests undertaken that could not have been done as effectively with test equipment available at the respective SMEs national RTOs/testbeds. Therefore, the innovation vouchers provided transnational value added by exploiting complementary test excellence among testbeds across borders.
  • In general – both on the side of the SMEs and RTOs – those benefitting from the vouchers agreed that the BSR Stars S3 procedure for applying for funds and receiving payments was smooth.
  • For some RTO/testbed beneficiaries it had been challenging to identify a testbed in a neighbouring country with the specific test equipment requested by the SME. It was stated that “vouchers of only EUR 10.000 in support for both the SME-RTO/testbed matchmaking efforts and the test itself, is insufficient”. Other RTOs stated that “the voucher amount was sufficient to plan and implement the test on our normal terms and rates”.
  • SMEs benefitting from the vouchers highlighted that a key benefit for them was also that the vouchers had encouraged them to speed up their innovation process. Had it not been for the opportunity of gaining support through the voucher scheme they would not have been able to undertake the testing at this time. “Now on the other hand – because of this teaser we got – we are on to further product development. We have already planned another test with the same testbed and that test we pay ourselves in full” one SME stated.

 

More information: Torfi Johannesson, Nordic Council of Ministers (torjoh@norden.org)