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Debate: „Fast track procedure: Fast and easy for SMEs“

Date: 12 November 2013, Venue: Brussels/Belgium

at the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union

In the next programming period 2014-2020, Small and Medium-sized companies will be fully included in the innovation process. Dedicated SME instrument will help to increase SMEs participation in Horizon 2020. In addition, during the negotiations on Horizon 2020 programme, the European Parliament ensured that a novel instrument called "Fast Track to Innovation" will be introduced. This pilot scheme will involve open calls with a bottom-up driven approach: participants from any sector could submit at any time a R&I project. The procedure will simply shorten the time to grant EU money, allow smaller consortia to speed up time from idea to market and to increase first-time applicants. It will seek to stimulate private sector investment, promote research and innovation with a focus on value creation and accelerate the development of technologies into innovative products, processes and services. Now it is up to the Commission to transcript the idea into the legislation.

The question is how this procedure should work in practice? Will this instrument help better SMEs involvement in EU research and innovation programmes?

The debate will be opened by Ms. Šárka Brábníková, Head of Sectorial Policies B Unit of Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union, followed by:

Bernd Reichert, Head of Unit - Research and SMEs, DG RTD, European Commission (tbc);

Christian Ehler, Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Development, European Parliament;

Muriel Attané, Secretary General of the European Association of Research and Technology EARTO;

Bettine Gola, Adviser EU Affairs, EUROCHAMBRES;

Richard Zábranský, Prague City Assembly, project Akcelerace, Czech Republic.