Press Release

Technical support offered to SMEs

By SpaceRef Editor
November 27, 2005
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EC and ESA have recently signed a contract launching on 1 November 2005 the experts network called SINEQUANET (Space Intelligence, Engineering and Quality Network). This was made possible thanks to the use of the EC – ESA Framework Agreement signed in 2003.

SINEQUANET will be a genuine structuring tool, focused on technical and engineering support, i.e. on what none of the existing networks offers. The ultimate goal is to offer technical support to SMEs to help them improving their skills, lowering their entry barrier to space, and fostering their competitiveness in the space and non space markets. This help will be offered through the use of a network of engineers and other experts giving their support on a commercial but non-profit basis.

The present project covers the establishment of the network baselines, the preparation of the necessary tools for its operation, and the practical testing of its functions through case studies selected in representative fields, to obtain a fully operational SINEQUANET paving the way for a valuable impact on the SMEs sector. The network establishment will require few years and a phased approach to reach its maturity and its full potential, but SMEs will receive concrete services already during the present phase. Indeed, this phase will allow to validate two technologies in two of the most promising industrial fields to bridge the gap to their commercial exploitation, and will allow to train some 100 engineers in different areas of space engineering, to be identified during the course of the project, and depending on SMEs needs.

SINEQUANET is a genuinely unique and valuable to SMEs, and the nature of the proposed activities is completely coherent with the ETI instrument. Considering the adoption of the White Paper on the European Space Policy , the entry into force of the framework agreement between ESA and EC , and the fact that both EC and ESA have a clear policy stating the needs to promote SMEs, the proposed actions are also of direct relevance for both organisation and will reinforce their actions supporting SMEs.

The present phase of SINEQUANET is co-funded by ESA under its SME Initiative Programme, and by the EC under the Economic and Technological Intelligence (ETI) actions of FP6. Both, the EC and ESA strive through their respective instruments to provide strategic research support to European SMEs and help them improving their access to scientific and technological information, and fostering their innovation capability. The objective of ETI projects is not to create something new, but to use existing sources to identify SME needs and to anticipate market and technological trends via existing information networks (National Contact Points, trade associations, etc), services and intermediaries. ETI actions have three main goals:

  1. To promote innovation in SMEs
  2. To compile, analyse and disseminate information on science and technological developments, applications and markets
  3. To identify and disseminate best practice

SpaceRef staff editor.