First Findings & Results

GIENAHS: Grasping innovation in Europe  through a closer interaction between HEIs and SMEs

First Findings & Results

  • Low internal competences and skills for innovation – limited capacity of:
    • innovative thinking 
    • strategic approach to technological innovation
    • designing innovation roadmaps 
    • leading research considering the entire SME innovation cycle
  • Lack of experience of effective interaction with HEIs or research centers
  • Innovation through co-operation might be too risky
  • Mistrust of SMEs towards HEIs: often HEIs produce technical and scientific results as “potential technologies”, with a long-term orientation, that qualify them only in the scientific field, without significant economic impacts on SMEs’ growth and competitiveness in short or medium-term
  • No systematic interaction with SMEs: universities prefer to interact with large companies, that are better structured and have an easier access to finance
  • Researchers are less motivated to conduct research in SMEs: they consider the experience in large companies more challenging and generally prefer the academic career
  • SMEs are rather skeptical on Industrial PhD
  • SMEs need research to increase their market value
  • SMEs are not able to ensure financial coverage of a PhD
  • SMEs do not find an incentive in participation in joint project proposals 
  • SMEs do not believe that mistrust is a barrier since they argue that they can build a trustful business relation with HEIs
  • The most significant expected outcome from the collaboration of HEIs – SMEs, according to the results, is effective knowledge transfer and the design of new products and methods including innovation
  • SMEs are rather skeptical on Industrial PhD
  • SMEs need research to increase their market value
  • SMEs are not able to ensure financial coverage of a PhD
  • SMEs do not find an incentive in participation in joint project proposals 
  • SMEs do not believe that mistrust is a barrier since they argue that they can build a trustful business relation with HEIs
  • The most significant expected outcome from the collaboration of HEIs – SMEs, according to the results, is effective knowledge transfer and the design of new products and methods including innovation
  1. Define a formal framework that ensures compact and substantial information flow
  2. Provide external funding and economic profits
  3. Promote new innovations / products / processes / methods
  4. Ensure an effective knowledge transfer in both directions
 
  • Certainly, there is a knowledge gap between the perceptions that share SMEs’ representatives and the improvements that have been already listed in recent research advances.
  • The establishment of an Observatory Board (with the participation of SMEs & HEIs) can serve as the vehicle for bridging the gap between future research orientation and practical requirements, challenges that should be considered for future research.
  • HEIs show high levels of interest to collaborate with SMEs
  • The first results indicate that cooperation between the Greek HEIs and the Greek SMEs exists, but it is bounded by the differences in organizational goal, shortage of required project duration and financial support.
  • To overcome the barriers of two different types of organization, a programme of industrial PhD can serve as a bridge between the SMEs and HEIs.
  • The statistical analysis of the collected Greek questionnaires shows that, HEIs show high levels of interest to collaborate with SMEs  in order to apply their research findings and knowledge.
  • Collaboration of Greek SMEs and HEIs is limited by common goals and financial support
  • To maintain the cooperation and the knowledge transfer between organizations, the financial support as well as the length and depth of such projects are vital.
  • Financial support as well as appropriate research focus, duration and depth of collaborative projects are vital
  • The Greek economy was hit by the global economic crisis thus an industrial PhD programme can support innovation in small and medium enterprises and it is crucial to cover the financial support of the potential researchers.
  • Policies to support interaction of HEIs and SMEs based on GIENAHS results
  • The next step is to promote the use of the produced industrial PhD by the Greek government for enhancing new methods and tools of interaction between HEIs/SMEs in Greece based on the results of GIENAHS project by supporting a small group of PhD students.