Boosting impact through multipliers

One of the major objectives of BlueBRIDGE was to promote the uptake of its services to the different stakeholders. But how could all the different stakeholders (industry, policy makers, academia, etc.) be reached in a cost effective way?

Multipliers are organisations that have built a strong network of stakeholders over the years. Through these organisations the messages to the stakeholders can be conveyed easier and quicker with less resources. Examples of multipliers are the Business and Innovation Clusters.

The BlueBRIDGE best practice

It was already clear in the proposal preparation phase that to reach the BlueBRIDGE key stakeholders it would have been important to use the right channels, especially the multipliers. In particular, as BlueBRIDGE was aiming to promote the uptake of its services to SMEs, since the beginning of the project a Business and Innovation Cluster, the Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique, was involved in the consortium.

The Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique is a French economic development cluster that facilitates the emergence of collaborative research and development projects and support the growth of their member companies. Its role in its region ecosystem is particularly to place new products, services and processes resulting from research on the market. Their input ensures that the companies involved aspire to a privileged position on both domestic and international markets, stimulating growth and consolidating jobs in different fields including those targeted by the BlueBRIDGE project, especially marine biological resources and environment and marine coastal planning.

With its network of 350 members including 50% of SMEs directly linked to the marine and maritime sector, the Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique was able to give advice on the markets to the consortium, to engage SMEs within the Call for SMEs and to raise the expectations of the private sector and to advocate appropriate methods for instance.

 

Why this is considered a best practice   

Best Practice Analysis

Validation

Through an efficient communication, Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique has successfully involved several attendees, for example in the project’s workshop at the European Maritime Day and at SeaTech Week in 2016. Thanks to a survey on the services attended to be delivered by the project, Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique has been able to give advice on several aspects related to the VREs and services that will particularly interest the private sector. Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique has been able to engage 2 SMEs to apply to the Call4SMEs that was launched in 2017.

Innovation

The project has tested an innovative way of engaging stakeholders.

Success Factors

One of the keys to a cluster’s success is its strong regional roots. But it also has to rely on genuine synergy between those involved in research, education and business. It must source funding networks and be proactive in putting forward project bids. By enabling its member companies to secure prominent positions in their domestic and international markets, the cluster drives growth and employment.

Sustainability

The sustainability of the practice is linked to the possibility to reserve some funding for these kind of actors in a EC-funded project or to find diverse ways to engage them.

Replicability and/or up-scaling

This best practice is replicable in any domain especially in those where the industry component is relevant.

Lessons Learnt

The communication of the outcomes of the BlueBRIDGE project is extremely complicated, as it involves so many projects in one. Different services developed for different stakeholders (public and private sector) in different domains and sectors (aquaculture, biodiversity, support to stock assessment, education, etc.). The involvement of a Business and Innovation Cluster was a good means to reach the key stakeholders with a reasonable amount of effort and a short timeline (the BlueBRIDGE project is a 30-month project). The involvement of one cluster was also useful to engage other clusters in Europe which helped amplify the message. This was particularly important as the regional specificities of the area covered by a cluster may not be representative enough of each country or regions’ situation (this was clear when the results of the needs and expectations survey that was carried out through PMBA’s network was presented to the consortium and the reviewers, who despite the high number of respondents did not consider it sufficient as a response, as representative of only one region).

The main interest of engaging a business cluster in a project remains that it can represent an economic sector in its entirety instead of individual interests, as can be the case when a private actor gets involved in a consortium.