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.