9 - Networks, clusters and technology parks

9.1 - Integration with international networks which support Business Innovation


Nowadays there are a wide range of international support networks for business innovation and in recent years the European Commission has developed numerous instruments to facilitate transnational cooperation and mobilise resources for the creation of an effective European-wide Innovation platform. These networks aim to offer businesses different forms of support: financial aid; encouraging contact between companies and public research centres; improving the range of services offered by SMEs; facilitating the creation of start-ups, etc. In this respect, it is advisable that companies carry out an analysis of existing networks with a view to identifying those which are best suited to their specific business interests and areas of research, and actively find ways to become part of them. This process of integration should result in enhanced collaboration with other European companies and universities whilst generally increasing competitiveness thanks to increased access to information, additional funding opportunities and infrastructures, and the internationalisation of their activities.


Enterprise Europe Network

The Enterprise Europe Network, which operates at a European level, was created in 2007, with the merging of the Euro Info Centre (EIC) and the Innovation Relay Centre (IRC) networks, both of which were set up in the mid 90s. It offers personalised services to businesses and Innovation initiatives and is currently the largest organisation of its kind in the EU. Thanks to its activities, SMEs can maximise the advantages offered by the European market by working jointly with local organisations to develop business models in new markets or to access European funding.


Cos-Expertise provides an extremely comprehensive Science and Technology database with more than 480,000 associate researchers from more than 1,600 institutions worldwide. Amongst other services it allows members to identify centres for scientific and technical excellence, areas with high growth potential and organisations with specific infrastructures, as well as potential partners and competitors who are developing similar lines of work.

European Businness and Innovation Centres Network (EBN)

The objective of the EBN is to promote the expansion of Business and Innovation Centres (BICs), both inside and outside the EU. It supports the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises, and develops existing business activities by focusing on new ideas with potential for growth. The network, which is financed by EU funds, seeks to accelerate the process of innovation by: finding new partners for the implementation of projects; creating a community of entrepreneurs, experts in business incubators, and innovators; encouraging Innovation within the business world; establishing closer links with the global market, public administrations and industry leaders; and offering its members support and advice on good practices.

Implementation process

Agents required for implementation

Companies can integrate themselves into existing networks on an individual basis, and seek collaborations with European universities and research centres.

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  1. Commercial knowledge transfers from universities to firms: improving the effectiveness of university–industry collaboration. Journal of High Technology Management Research 14 (2003) 111-133. Universities of Arizona and California.
  2. Global Knowledge Management at DANONE. Harvard Business School, 2008. Networking mentality.
  3. University - Business Cooperation: Thematic Forum on Knowledge Transfer. European comission. European Research Area.
  4. Mr. Boesso, Director of the European department for technology transfer projects at Veneto Innovazione (http://www.venetoinnovazione.it/).
  5. Video featuring information about the Innovation Relay Centre Network.
  6. http://www.e-cat.ro/irc/en/ircpresentation.php# - Innovation Relay Center.
  7. http://www.ebn.be - European EBN Network.
  8. http://ec.europa.eu/cip/index_en.htm - Competitive and Innovation Framework Programme (EU). 
  9. http://www.enterprise-europe-network.ec.europa.eu/index_en.htm Europe Enterprise Network.
  10. http://mediateca.educa.madrid.org/reproducir.php?id_video=3e91oogwqofi9nbw