Organised now for the third year in a row, the SME assembly has become a key event for all experts interested in the EU policy towards small businesses. Under the auspices of the EU’s Italian Presidency, the event took place in Naples earlier this month. On this occasion, Pedro de Sampaio Nunes, Head of EUREKA Secretariat presented EUREKA’s added values for SMEs: low red tape, a bottom-up approach to research topics and easy access to international partners. Mr. de Sampaio Nunes explained that EUREKA had made many small businesses more conscious of the case for seeking out partners in other countries, referring to Eurostars, a joint EU-EUREKA funding programme specifically targeting small businesses.
He stressed that while the centre of global research continues to shift towards the developing world, the landscape for innovation is changing rapidly, notably through international collaboration. “I believe it makes perfect sense for all the different innovation programmes and instruments to look beyond present collaborations and create and explore new opportunities for research and innovation cooperation with the rest of the world with an open mind,” said Mr. de Sampaio Nunes, in a pledge for more opening to extra-European countries in transnational funding programmes for research. He called for a careful look at cooperation needs on the basis of common interests and mutual benefits. “Innovation is a global issue, global issues require global responses,” he concluded.