Research Success Stories published on EURESEARCH, Sept 2012

Making factories more energy efficient

… and  one’s  university  better  known

The goal of the project Factory-Ecomation is to increase the energy efficiency and  reduce  emissions  of  factories.  Apart  from  contributing  to  a  more sustainable industry, the motivation for the coordinating “Scuola Universitaria Professionale  Della  Svizzera  Italiana”  (SUPSI)  is  to  be  at  the  frontline  of research networks.

With  rising  energy  costs  and governmental pressure towards saving   energy   and   reducing emissions, it is vital for factories to     increase     their     energy  efficiency  and  include  environment-related  aspects  into  their business  plans.  These  are  the two  thoughts  that  were  at  the beginning of the project Factory-Ecomation.

Exploiting  the  advantages  of European projects

But why coordinating a European project instead  of  applying  for  other,  national funding? “If you do not want to keep on being  a small university in a local context, a good strategy is to apply for European projects”, says Paolo Pedrazzoli, coordinator  of  the  project  at  SUPSI.  According  to him, such projects have undeniable advantages: “It brings you to the frontline of research, you get access to  more  resources  and  publication networks, you work with the foremost universities, you build a name for your institution (given you work competently) and you get  to  have  a  say  in  the  objectives of future funding schemes.”

“Wonderful”   for   small   and  medium companies

Funding from European projects is good not only for universities, but for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as well: “They actually get paid for improving their business, an activity they may not have the resources for under normal conditions, that’s wonderful for them”, says Pedrazzoli. “In addition, they can extend their markets and get in contact with experienced partners.
Unfortunately, many do not know and trust these  European  funding  possibilities”,  he adds. When he contacted Swiss SMEs to ask them to participate in the project, they felt that it all sounded “too good to be true” and declined. A better informed German SME, on the other hand, agreed to participate about seven minutes after they had received the e-mail with Pedrazzoli’s request.
To Paolo Pedrazzoli, having reliable partners and a strong coordination is the key to make such project work “like clockwork”. But what if the existing network of contacts does not include all the partners with the properties necessary for a certain project? “In this case, Euresearch  can  be  very  valuable.  They  can help to find the right partners”, says Paolo.

Original document


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