Comparative Performance of SMEs in European Framework and Domestic network programmes
(Theme 3: The Evaluation of Collaboration and Networking in European S&T;)

Prof. Phil Cooke
Dr D. Jones-Evans
Prof. J. Lovering
David J. Wills


Project Background

The research seeks to compare the relative performance of SMEs (from Denmark, Ireland and Wales) in European Union and domestic programmes involving network relationships. The network programmes themselves usually involve companies in informal and formal partnership with other companies or organisations. A "club" or "forum" arrangement around a programme established by a government department or development agency may be one example. The key research questions are summarised as follows.


Aims and Objectives

The research project intends to:

  • Examine innovation networks involving SMEs in collaborative arrangements to enhance competitiveness, especially in export markets.

  • Compare experiences of SMEs in technology enhancement programmes funded domestically as compared with those funded at the European Union level.

  • Compare experiences of SMEs in the three countries (Denmark as an advantaged economy, Ireland as a less advantaged economy and Wales as a reconversion economy) and ascertain the extent of convergence or divergence of SME experience of innovation support.

  • Focus on EU innovation support programmes over the same period, to detect differences and similarities amongst the firms involved in each.

  • Evaluate the impact of the programmes on the firms performance and the benefits for science of such collaborative programmes.

Research Questions

The key research questions addressed are:

  1. How appropriate are the European Union Framework programmes to the innovation needs of manufacturing SMEs?
  2. How efficient was the policy implementation from the point of view of the firms involved and the policy implementing personnel?
  3. How effective were the individual supranational programmes amongst themselves, as compared with domestic programmes and between countries?
  4. What have been the policy impacts of the programmes upon users?
  5. What were the strong and weak points of the different network and collaboration programmes?

Project Started: October 1996
Completion Date: September 1998


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