DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES for RESEARCH 2018 | Serving the user base

SME dynamics workshop – towards an integrated approach

Friday, September 30, 2016 - 09:00
Session 1 SME Dynamics Workshop: SME engagement across e-Infrastructures - Towards an integrated approach
Session 2 SME Dynamics Workshop: SMEs as consumers of e-Infrastructures - Towards an integrated approach


There are more than 20 million SMEs in the EU representing 99% of businesses. SMEs are considered one of the key drivers for economic growth, innovation, and employment. 
For several years, e-Infrastructures have included SMEs/Industry as a target group with dedicated programmes outlining how they could benefit from access to the digital capabilities and both human and technical resources available in the innovation sector. In addition, these activities are complemented by the European Commission, which has made SMEs one of the focuses in the Horizon 2020 aiming to put them in the lead for the delivery of innovation to the market. 

Engagement with industry offers strong opportunities for product/service development, knowledge sharing, and economic impact just to name a few. However, SME needs are diverse, there are many of them, coupled with policy limitations between public and commercial activities. As result, engagement can be a challenge.

For many years, e-Infrastructures have been working with industry through defined strategies and/or dedicated programmes. However, given the scale of SMEs, many are still unaware of the existence of many of the e-infrastructure resources and services available to them. 

In this session, we will bring together a number of e-Infrastructures to present their current SME engagement strategies for supporting use of European e-Infrastructures and share their experiences, and above all, best practices. 

By sharing strategies and experiences between organisations offering e-Infrastructure services to SMEs/industry, the aim is to increase engagement effectiveness, identify collaboration opportunities, minimize duplication of effort through joint activities and benefit from the value of other e-Infrastructures’ experiences. 

This is the first of two sessions complemented by a follow-up session on “SMEs as consumers of e-infrastructures” which investigates how the knowledge and experiences from other organisations currently involved in the “innovation chain” towards SMEs could support the move towards the creation of a new “ecosystem” of support for SMEs.  So that they can not only benefit from the Resources/Services of e-infrastructures, but also join the existing supply chain and communities.

The main output of this session will be a set of recommendations on SME engagement best practices, collaboration areas and opportunities, as well as potential joint strategies.


Target Audience:

The target audience is research engagement representatives of (Inter)National e-Infrastructure Providers, innovation actors, and private and public organisations looking for collaboration opportunities, and potential end users for providing direct feedback in what information they need:

● Any e-infrastructure (and related projects) currently working with or interested in serving/supporting SMEs

● Innovation clusters (European and Regional)

● Research and technology organisations

● Start-ups, SMEs


Benefits for Audience:

● Understand the strategy and engagement activities of different organisations in e-infrastructures for engaging/working with SMEs
● Identify possibilities for creating synergies.
● Share best practices

The session concludes with ample time for discussion in order to define a set of recommendations and actions as key takeaways for session participants.


Topic 1: Challenges facing users and service providers

Presenters, Organisation
Daniel Dearing Digital Catapult
Annabel Grant GÉANT
Roberta Piscitelli
Sy Holsinger
Nuno Varandas IPM