About the projects
The two projects are the following.
- GPrix project (November 2009 – February 2012) commissioned by the European Commission’s DG-Research. Full title: Good Practices in Innovation Support Measures for SMEs: facilitating transition from the traditional to the knowledge economy; Instrument: SP4-Capacities—CSA—Support Action; Call: FP7-SME-2009-1; Grant agreement Number: 245459. The website for this project, including aa very large number of deliverables etc., is currently available at http://business.staffs.ac.uk/gprix/en/index.htm
- MAPEER project commissioned by the European Commission’s DG-Research. Full title: Making Progress and Economic Enhancement a Reality for SMEs. Funded under FP7-SME. Grant agreement ID: 245419. The MAPEER project website is no longer available but the results are reported in summary form on CORDIS: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/93511/factsheet/en
The two projects coordinated their questionnaire surveys to facilitate analysis and eventual publication. Together, participants at Staffordshire University contributed to seven publications arising from these datasets.
The GPrix project focused on evaluating innovation support measures for SMEs in traditional manufacturing industries. In brief, three published articles and a UNI-MERIT Working Paper arising from the project reported that:
- the estimated effects of innovation support programs are positive, typically increasing the probability of innovation and of its commercial success;
- although innovation support measures in the EU are mostly designed to support product innovation in R&D intensive sectors, for firms in traditional manufacturing industries a broader innovation (policy) mix is more appropriate, including support for product innovation, process innovation, marketing and organizational innovations (of particular importance), together with internationalization, design and cooperation;
- innovation support programmes can assist SMEs in traditional manufacturing industry to consolidate and/or extend their innovation ecosystems by promoting cooperation with both private and public sector knowledge providers, suggesting that initial input and/or output additionality from public support may be propagated and amplified by behavioural and systemic effects; and
- increasing the number of cooperation partnerships has a positive impact on all measures of innovation performance.
The MAPEER project focused on innovation support for SMEs more generally. Three articles arising from this project reported:
- that the “European paradox” regarding SME support — i.e. success in promoting R&D inputs but not commercialisation — is not yet mitigated;
- new evidence on “open innovation” strategies, suggesting not only some consistently positive effects, in particular from using customers as an external knowledge source, but also that some search strategies may not be beneficial; and
- evidence that R&D support programmes have heterogeneous effects on technology scouting – defined as firms’ use of external knowledge sources – including a crowding-out effect on informal sources of external knowledge but additionality with respect to formal, strategic sources.
For convenience, the abstracts of all seven contributions are reproduced below
From the GPrix project:
- Radicic, D., Pugh, G., Hollanders, H., Wintjes, J., and Fairburn, J. (2016). The impact of innovation support programs on small and medium enterprises innovation in traditional manufacturing industries: An evaluation for seven European Union regions. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, 34(8) (December): 1425-1452. First published online December 18, 2015. doi:10.1177/0263774X15621759
We evaluate the effect of innovation support programs on output innovation by small and medium enterprises in traditional manufacturing industry. This focus is motivated by a definition of traditional manufacturing industry that includes capacity for innovation, and by evidence of its continued importance in European Union employment. We conducted a survey in seven European Union regions to generate the data needed to estimate pre-published switching models by means of the copula approach, from which we derived treatment effects on a wide range of innovation outputs. We find that for participants the estimated effects of innovation support programs are positive, typically increasing the probability of innovation and of its commercial success by around 15%. Yet, we also find that a greater return on public investment could have been secured by supporting firms chosen at random from the population of innovating traditional sector small and medium enterprises. These findings indicate the effectiveness of innovation support programs while suggesting reform of their selection procedures.
Small and medium enterprises, evaluation, traditional manufacturing, innovation support, innovation outputs
- Wintjes, R., Douglas, D., Fairburn, J., Hollanders, H. and Pugh, G. (2014). Beyond product innovation; improving innovation policy support for SMEs in traditional industries. Maastricht Economic and social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT) Working Paper #2014-032, ISSN 1871-9872.
Innovation support measures in the EU are mostly designed to support product innovation in R&D intensive sectors. To increase the still considerable contribution to regional employment and competitiveness from SMEs in traditional manufacturing industries a broader innovation (policy) mix is more appropriate. This paper draws data from a survey of more than 300 SMEs from seven regions within the European Union, as well as case studies, to address the question: How can innovation policy interventions be improved to support SMEs in traditional manufacturing industries more effectively? We claim that innovation support should be sensitive to the way SMEs in traditional manufacturing sectors innovate and grow. We find that product innovation (and support used for product innovation) is less likely to generate growth, than (support used for) process innovation. Also (support used for) marketing innovations and organizational innovations are of particular importance – together with internationalization, design and cooperation. The increasingly selective application procedures applied are not the most efficient to generate impact, since those who are supported (and those who are supported more frequently), are the ones who are most likely to take the same innovative steps anyhow, irrespective of policy support.
Innovation; SMEs; traditional sectors; low-tech; policy evaluation; manufacturing; process innovation