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The new projecrs of the regional network for technological transfer to the SMEs 

A new challenge for Innovation Network

01.07.2011 -

The latest version of Innovation Network is underway again, the AREA project, which in 2003 created a regional network for the first time in Italy for technological transfer to the SMEs, cited as European best practice. In Friuli Venezia Giulia there are six accredited centres of the active network, specialised in transversal topics of interest (energy, manufacturing efficiency, new materials) or on specific vertical sectors that are typically present in the area: wood-furnishings, the food-industry, shipbuilding and the nautical industry.


"The slender structure of these Centres has been rewarding", Project Manager, Serena Petaccia explains. "The Centres do not have their own laboratories or other instruments, but have a staff of two/three people who have a technical background and training in line with the Centre's specialisation, instructed to work as a 'transmission chain' between the innovations supply and demand.


The novelties for Friuli Venezia Giulia's "virtuous" businesses, which are busy with innovation projects, are numerous and interesting. First of all there are a series of original services and methods for identifying and promoting the most suitable technological development opportunities for its own strategic and technological profile. With regard to the offer of services that have already been successfully experimented, Innovation Network has in fact added a new economic and financial rating instrument dedicated to the evaluation of the economic solidity of businesses and developed by Mode-Finance, one of AREA's start-up companies. When priorities are met of the strategic-organisational type, AREA intervenes with a rapid and innovative business assessment instrument (R.S.A. Rapid Strategic Assessment).


By intersecting the evaluations obtained by economic and financial solidity indicators using the R.S.A analysis, it is possible to define specific strategies in order to act on the business' problematic issues. "If on the other hand the priority is technological" Stephen Taylor, director of the Technological Transfer Service at AREA Science Park explains, "We set up a series of Business Intelligence support services, helping the business to evaluate the world technological panorama and trends in order to create its own technological map competitiveness through innovation projects or processes." These new opportunities are in addition to Innovation Network's traditional services: patent and document information, research of professional skills and innovation projects, research of new, innovative materials and international partners.


"Even small and very small businesses can benefit from Innovation Network's services" Salvatore Cane, Small and Medium Sized Business Office Manager of the regional Confartigianato (labour organisation of the craft sector) sustains.  We immediately realised and strengthened a collaboration agreement with AREA to be able to offer coordinated support to our member's SMEs. We too were surprised by the results: dozens of small family businesses presented us with innovation projects using regional POR-FESR 2007-2013 funds and have all achieved finance with a medium-high score.


Today the national Confartigianato mentions us as best practice on an Italian level, and an example to be repeated in other regions." In the new series of Innovation Network projects, its "historical" partners (Confindustria Udine, Catas spa, ASDI Parco Agroalimentare from S. Daniele) and the Universities of Trieste and Udine,  have united with the technological hub in Pordenone, active throughout the Pordenone area, with the objective of highlighting and processing the scientific and technological skills present within the territory.


Expectations for the future? The creation of high systemic impact innovation projects with a relevant significance and participation. AREA is thinking of research and development within the innovation sector, of the implementation of innovative processes for growth of competitiveness throughout the entire manufacturing chain, to the joint development of new technologies with the involvement of different manufacturing sectors, to the transfer of technology developed in other industrial fields.


The results in figures achieved so far and updated as of 30 April 2011

Companies visited 1277

Innovation needs and operations carried out 856

Identification  of ideas for complex projects 54

Development support of the project plan 42

Identification of ideas to new business initiatives 6




28.06.2011 - Barriers to innovation for SMEs in Central Europe