Partners Across Europe: The IDEALFIT Project
by Roberto Gagliardi
A major aim of European Commission programmes such as ESPRIT is to promote collaboration across international boundaries. Finding the right partners to work with in other countries can be a major challenge, and one which often deters newcomers to ESPRIT.
The European Commission is supporting a new initiative to help companies who have difficulty in this area. Representatives from all the EU Member States (plus Norway, Switzerland and Iceland) are cooperating to improve partner search in a new project called IDEALFIT. All members of the consortium are already active in promoting ESPRIT in their own countries. By pooling their local knowledge and contacts, they aim to ease the process of identifying organisations willing to discuss R&D collaboration.
Subject to EC approval, international partner brokerage events will also be organised. Here, newcomers to ESPRIT will be introduced to existing participants from across Europe, and briefed on current R&D projects. The IDEALFIT consortium will also be looking to improve the partner search facilities offered by CORDIS, the Commission's computer-based R&D information service.
The communications network personal and electronic built to support partner search activities will also be exploited by the consortium to provide European-wide feedback to the Commission on the operation of the ESPRIT programme. While individual organisations and countries provide advice to the Commission, this is the first time that a group directly supporting the programme across Europe has worked together to report on these matters.
The IDEALFIT consortium also expects to collaborate further in promoting ESPRIT. This could be through special workshops for groups such as SMEs and newcomers to international R&D collaboration, through participation in international conferences and exhibitions, and through electronic media, especially the World-Wide Web.
Further information on the IDEALFIT project can be obtained from your local member or at: http://idealfit.cnuce.cnr.it/
The IDEALFIT members.
Roberto Gagliardi CNUCE-CNR
Tel: +39 50 593259