According to the learning process and the problems identified during the Phase 1 of the project, BIC Murcia is going to impact the Murcia ROP 2014-2020 by one main action – “R&D Challenges Program”. This action will have a direct impact to the policy instrument addressed through the Regional Development Agency of Murcia. Furthermore, this action aims to give solution to the lack of eco-innovative support for regional enterprises.  

The action envisaged is going to be the first open innovation program which includes eco-innovation and circular economy challenges in the Region of Murcia - boosting competitiveness and environmental protection. Applicants to the program (SMEs) will manage to solve the challenges (problems) launched in the call under pre-stablished verticals (eco-designed, waste treatments, recycling…). Companies will receive funds to implement the projects in cooperation (solution).  

Open innovation practices may be a way for companies to overcome lack of structural and financial resources and to play a key role in the market. Through open innovation, innovators share the risks and rewards of new technologies. Partnerships must be encouraged as a key way for SMEs to gain access to new markets. Dialogue and joint ventures between public authorities, research centers and companies (especially SMEs) should be improved. We need to establish convergence areas where scientific, practical and economic knowledge can co-exist and work towards the same goal.

Developing new technologies by flexible networks is an ideal fit for SMEs, especially because of the need to quickly internationalize new green technologies. Associated with the emergence of new economic activities or even branches, the action fosters the innovative application of knowledge to ecological improvements. This includes a range of related ideas, from environmentally friendly technological advances to socially acceptable innovative paths towards sustainability.

The challenges under this approach will lead local companies to represent a powerful engine of innovation. New disruptive ideas/solutions will bring to the market and will transform in economically sustainable enterprises.

By other side, we also believe that to ensure the effectiveness of the former action we should solve the other problem identified during Phase 1: companies’ lack of awareness of eco-innovation. We have envisaged two proposals:

  • Providing firms with information on new eco-innovations. Further work is needed to understand the pros and cons of open innovation and increase SMEs’ awareness of it.
  • Training the staff within the firm in new eco-innovations. Apart from the awareness, other of the main factors inhibiting the uptake of the eco-innovation is the lack of capacity and competences within the firm.  

Thereby we have envisaged 2 complementary actions: 2) Dissemination and 3) Training activities. Both problems are connected; SMEs do not demand eco-innovative support so there is no support on this matter.  

The Open Innovation action should be a consequence of the other 2 actions. Modify the policy instrument only with the main action would not be effective since there would not have flow of applicants to the program.