Project Methodology

The RAPPORT project takes the current thinking and practice in the area of research support for the benefit of SMEs to a more advanced level in three different ways:

  • Widen the horizon of existing studies and literature in the field by addressing knowledge and technology transfer practices that have proved very successful but have been largely neglected by the research and academic community
  • Enrich the analytical thinking by developing new methodological approaches that can produce a more ' real' understanding of the running schemes as well as a more sophisticated measurement of their actual impact
  • Open up new perspectives for different groups of practitioners in the field of SMEs support (policy-makers, intermediaries' managers etc.) which can give them the chance to improve the course of their actions and increase their impact

The project considers not only the engagement of SMEs into the research process but also enabling SMEs to access developed knowledge and competencies of the research community. In addition to the science-push programmes, it looks into the demand-pull initiatives where the focal SME drives the process. The work puts a strong emphasis on the SMEs of lower absorptive capacity and how to open up their horizons to external research capabilities. Our hypothesis is that if Europe manages to upgrade a significant part of those SMEs, the economic and social benefits will be enormous.

The work in RAPPORT is deployed through a "funnel" strategy:

  1. Identify the requirements of different types of SMEs
  2. An Expert Judgment Survey to map the full range of existing initiatives
  3. Create key performance indicators to measure their impact
  4. Investigate in depth the top performing initiatives
  5. Develop benchmarks for public, private or public-private partnership schemes


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