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Sixth Framework Programme


“Action should be taken at national, regional and local level to promote research and innovation by SMEs.”
Commissioner Janez Potocnik, 18/03/2005

“It is to be the most important EU initiative to address environmental challenges in the European seas.”
Commissioner Stavros Dimas, 20/06/2005

Focusing on maritime pollution

Today the world and particularly Europe are concerned with pollutions of marine environment, which result in instant and long-term damages to coastal and marine habitats and ecosystems. Unfortunately various recent disasters, such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster which hit Alaska in 1989, have proved that the current means of struggle were inefficient.
Other issues, which are equally, or even more, dangerous than oil pollution also threaten the marine world, such as alien species migration, overfishing, NOx and SOx emissions, control of hydrocarbons in ballast water, biocides, toxic wastes, pollution from ship building, ship repair, and ship scrapping, or noise pollution affecting sea mammals.
It is thus increasingly urgent to develop new solutions enabling to fight against marine pollution.

Acting at European level: the 6th  and 7th framework Programmes

Since environment problems are trans-boundary by definition, it is necessary to develop and spread solutions efficient at a European scale. But today only a few European projects (20 projects) have been developed in the various Framework Programmes (FP6 and previous FPs).
The implementation of innovating solutions can be achieved through the combination of actors’ skills from the maritime field. Incentives from the European Union will also play a primary role in fostering targeted research and therefore successful provision of efficient answers so as to preserve the maritime environment within its geographical area.
In particular, the EU supports European-wide actions through the funding of RTD projects in the frame of the so-called Framework Programmes. Based on the Treaty establishing the European Union, a Framework programme is a collection of the actions at EU level to fund and promote research. The current 6th FP covers Community activities in the field of research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) for the period 2002 to 2006.

MAPO challenge: Integrating more SMEs in European projects

Regarding the maritime sector, although SMEs represent the most numerous actors in the maritime sector, they are paradoxically the less solicited in EC research projects focused on environmental topics. And yet, Commissioner Potocnik reminded that SME networking is an important motor of innovation.
That is why the European Commission has launched in 2004 a call for proposal (ref: FP6-2004-innov-5) aiming at increasing SME participation into these projects, for example through awareness raising.
Composed of 13 partners, the MAPO Consortium, committed to “Enhancing Research and Development Projects to find Solution to Struggle against various Marine Pollutions”, has successfully replied to the call in February 2005 and started its activities in september 2005.

Addressing strategic objectives

In order to enhance SME involvement into European projects, the MAPO initiative provides assistance to them in view of their participation in current technological partnerships (Integrated Projects/Networks of Excellence) and in future European RTD projects (within the 6th Framework Programme and the new one starting in 2007).
So as to achieve this goal the project partners perform the following steps:
They first seek to identify best practices in order to facilitate the integration of European SMEs into current and future FP projects,
They identify in parallel technological needs and research priorities for future RTD projects,
They also establish a list of relevant SMEs in order to point out which ones are likely to take part to EU projects. By so doing, they build the first European cartography of SMEs skilled in the field of marine pollutions (thus enbaling a possible networking of competencies), while at the same time updating the current state-of-the-art,
They finally help develop technological partnerships for last FP6 calls and FP7 calls.

Relying on experienced partners across Europe: the MAPO consortium

To fulfil efficiently its foreseen objectives, the MAPO consortium gathers partners who are skilled in information and assistance to SMEs within Framework Programmes (like SME National Contact Points or management consultants), but also in environmental risks and marine pollutions (researchers and technical consultants).
MAPO partners come from 10 European countries, among which 7 belong to the EU (Lithuania, Spain, Germany, UK, France, Italy, Belgium, Turkey, Ukraine, and Iceland). Such an international cooperation enables to cover all European seas, thus improving dissemination throughout Europe, which will notably help reduce inequalities among maritime regions.

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