SME Skills Support System – Innovation Voucher

Contact person 
Deolinda Silva
Innovation Agency
Do you want to share an instrument/policy or a knowledge Transfer practice? 
Innovation instrument(policy)
What are the following keywords/priorities which better fit the instrument/policy?  
Support to innovation in services
Indicate the country from which the instrument (or policy) is 
What is the title/name of the instrument/policy? 
SME Skills Support System – Innovation Voucher
Indicate the target group/beneficiaries of the instrument/policy 
Consultancies and other private service providers (non-profit)
Higher educations institutions research units/centres
Other non-profit research organizations (not HEI)
SMEs only
What is the aim/objective? 
The goals of this measure are three-fold: (1) to encourage SMEs to use external problem-solving services improve their innovation performance, (2) to contribute towards the sustainability of R&D and innovation consultancy organisations, and (3) to promote cooperation and dialogue between SME and science, technology and innovation infrastructures and service firms.
Give an overview of the instrument 
The background may be related to the significant investments undertaken in the context of the three first Community Support Frameworks to develop a proper science and technology infrastructure. The rationale was by that time the creation of appropriate supply services. However, it was found later that several of these infrastructures and support services had not been able to generate a sustainable demand from the industrial fabric, especially from SMEs. As several analyses of the national System of Innovation in Portugal has pointed out, the players were there, but the linkages were very weak. Several voices, including those of policy makers, have criticised the alledgedly excessive support granted to S&T infrastructures. In other words, the supply side was there, but policy should focus on encouraging the demand side instead. The launching of the 'Innovation Voucher' comes in this vein. It has been mentioned for the first time in the Technological Plan, in late 2005, but it has been implemented in late 2007 only.
What is the date of creation of this instrument? 
Monday, January 1, 2007
Is the instrument/policy still active? 
Identify the main outputs/results (quantitative and qualitative) of the implementation of this instrument 
There has been so far no evaluation regarding the success of the implementation of the measure. Available evidence suggests that the take up by firms exhibits a growing trend. The measure has contributed to the development of business linkages between R&D organisations and companies. The reduced red tape and the ease of application for this measure has been a plus. Projects supported have mainly dealt with product engineering and development, as well as with quality, organisation and information technology services. The issue is whether the access by SMEs to specific innovation services will be kept in the absence of further support.
What is the co-financing/maximum rate allowed by the instrument/policy (if appl.)? 
Is this instrument/policy linked to a KT practice?