Participation at the EUREKA Meeting in Dresden

On the occasion of Germany’s taking over of the 2009-2010 chairmanship of the European research initiative, EUREKA, which has existed since 1985, the international conference, "World-Class Innovation through International Cooperation" was held in Dresden on 6 and 7 July and attended by around 300 participants.

Following opening speeches by the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Annette Schavan, the State Secretary of the German Ministry for Education and Research, Frieder Meyer-Krahmer, and the former Foreign Secretary, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, participants had the opportunity to acquire information and exchange views at a total of eight workshops dealing with the current EUREKA topics, which were held in two parallel sections. There were two workshops on the topic of small and medium-sized enterprises and the financing of innovation.

The BIO Deutschland members, Helga Rübsamen-Schaeff (Aicuris), Christian Tidona (BioRN) and Ernst-Dieter Jarasch (Bioregion Rhein-Neckar-Dreieck) as well as the managing director of BIO Deutschland, Viola Bronsema, took part in the workshops.

"SMEs: Challenges of Globalisation for Managing Knowledge and Innovation"

The workshop was chaired by Thorsten Posselt from the Fraunhofer Institute for Central and Eastern Europe in Germany. Short introductory presentations were given by Lynn Martin from the Centre for Enterprise, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, England, and Tadeusz Uhl from the University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland.

There are over 25 million SMEs in Europe, which make a significant contribution to economic and innovative power.

The most important results of the workshop were as follows: SMEs are not a homogenous group, but rather are very different. Initiatives by EUREKA must also take this diversity into account. The funding programme should be suited to this need, not be overly bureaucratic, easy to comprehend, and have a sufficient budget. Data on the type and success of previous programmes should be compiled so that future policies can be based on them ("evidence-based policy making").

"Financing Innovation: Models and Instruments along the Value Chain"

The workshop was chaired by Robert-Jan Smits of the Directorate General (DG) Research of the EU Commission. Short introductory presentations were given by Eli Opper from the Israeli Ministry for Industry, Trade and Labour, and Thomas C. Barrett from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The most important results of the workshop were as follows: It is of vital importance that the various initiatives are synchronised and that more funding is raised overall in the member states. The European Investment Bank should provide financial assistance by approving loans (debt financing) along with national sources of credit.

In this context, it was stressed that the usual SME financial models in the life sciences quickly reach their limits as a result of the long time spans and the amount of capital required. EUREKA should also ensure that support is better suited to the companies’ needs.

Further information on EUREKA and on projects and project applications is available at

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