Commission publishes innovation relay centre call for proposals

The European Commission has published a call for proposals for the management of 'innovation relay centres' (IRCs)  under the Sixth Framework Programme's 'research and innovation' activity (section of the work programme) . This is one of the areas covered by the 'structuring the European Research Area' specific programme.

The main tasks of the IRCs will be to:
– Promote the transnational transfer of technologies and knowledge, whatever their origin, in accordance with the needs of the local industrial, economic and social fabric;
– Stimulate the capacity of firms to adopt new technologies by establishing their needs and ability for transnational co-operation and partnerships;
– Promote the transnational dissemination and exploitation of the results of Community research, notably those results identified as suitable for third party exploitation, and including cooperation with EUREKA and ESA (European Space Agency) ;
– Provide other key services which help promote or facilitate innovation and transnational technology transfer;
– Pursue possible synergies between the IRCs and the Innovating Regions in Europe (IRE)  network;
– Develop new methods, e.g. for the promotion of transnational clusters and/or measures to facilitate the development of the European Research Area.

Specific services provided by the IRC would include but not be restricted to: promotion of the IRC service in the region; technology audits and other means for identification of local needs;development of databases of local requirements; search for external technologies to match the identified local needs; promotion and dissemination in the IRC region of external technology opportunities. Identification and promotion of local technologies with a view to seeking transnational technology cooperation; various one-to-one assistance services; organisation of technology transfer events; networking and joint transnational actions with other IRCs.

The IRCs will concentrate on SMEs as the principal target group, but other organisations will be included, such as universities, research centres and, where appropriate, larger companies, as well as professional and trade associations, technology brokers and development agencies. Special attention will be paid to less-favoured regions.

In specifying the instruments to be used in these areas, the call requests the use of specific support actions. Proposers are advised to consult the full call text at the address below in order to find out the particular instruments requested for each area.

The total indicative budget for this call is 74 million euro over four years

The deadline for submitting proposal documents is 2 July 2003

Before contacting the Commission, proposers are strongly advised to consult the original call text in the Official Journal of the European Communities at the reference: Official Journal of the European Communities – Document Reference OJ No C 79 of 2 April 2003, p. 16.

To see the call text, please visit: