Rhwydwaith WISE :: WISE Network

Working with WISE Network

It is useful for us to have access to experts for advice and analytical expertise just down the road.  We recently needed to solve an unexpected problem and the speed and efficiency with which WISE Network helped us in this was invaluable.”

Andrew Beggin, MD for Phytovation Ltd

The ‘WISE’ way of working with business is to take three steps to go ‘beyond joined up’.

  1. At our initial meeting we will listen to you to enable us to gain an holistic overview of the company.
  2. We then isolate areas in which WISE Network can be of help– which will fall within our themes.  We will then discuss with you the level of engagement required. It will either be in the form of ‘assistance’, which is up to 10 days help to solve a particular challenge that can’t be provided to you by anyone else (this is subject to de minimis regulations).  Or we can enter into a research and development partnership where we work alongside each other to develop a product, process or service.
  3. We will aim to see the bigger picture – to understand, facilitate and connect.  We have an extensive network and will be able to point you in the right direction beyond WISE Network to e.g.
    • Expertise beyond WISE Network in Aberystwyth, Bangor and Swansea Universities
    • Welsh Government led project such as Business Innovation Support, A4B, Customer Engagement
    • Other relevant WEFO funded projects

Eligibility

We are governed by the rules of the Welsh European Funding Office and it is our responsibility to ensure that any work we do with you, our businesses, is eligible for support from the European Regional Development Fund.  We are guided by the principles provided by WEFO and we think it would be useful to share these with you.

When reaching a decision we have to:

Assess the value for money with respect to both the outputs and results

We are being given a fantastic opportunity to work with businesses, especially SMEs, who form the backbone of the Welsh economy. Much of the work we do with business is ‘free’ – i.e. no cash exchange takes place.  But, of course, we are publicly funded – what we do is paid for by all of us, the tax payer, and we are determined to make sure that together we can make a difference to the economy and to the well being of people and the wonderful Welsh environment.

Ensure Compliance

EU rules state very clearly which businesses can and cannot be assisted by this particular pot of funds – we have huge flexibility but unfortunately there are some sectors like farmers and retailers who receive support from other funds that aren’t eligible.  We also have to make sure that all our partner companies are familiar with the European Union and the Welsh Government’s commitment to Sustainability and this is why we have developed our HealthCheck and CharterMark for your benefit

Ensure value of the strategic relationships

We all operate within a bigger picture, so it is important for all of us to be able to show how our collaboration fits in with this picture.

Assess from a structural perspective

WISE Network is funded to contribute to the following WEFO priorities:

Priority 1 – Building the Knowledge Economy, Theme 1 – Research, Development, Innovation and Technology. More information on this can be found in the ERDF Operational Programme on WEFO’s website.

We have to satisfy ourselves (and WEFO) that every project we undertake meets the priority’s objective to promote a high value-added economy by improving knowledge and innovation for growth, fostering Research and Development, innovation and technology and its commercial exploitation.  Theme 1 aims to raise value added by building business capacity to develop and take-up improved and new products, processes and services.

Assess against the nine principles set by WEFO

  1. Ensure that the product/process/system being developed and the end beneficiary of the support are eligible/compliant (e.g. not directly related to farming or forestry, not a statutory duty)
  2. Ensure that 80% or more of the enterprises supported are SMEs
  3. Ensure that any support provided is not for the purpose of enabling the beneficiary to be fully compliant with current and developing legislation (statutory duties)
  4. Ensure that there is a step change in business/R&D activity (i.e. the creation of better services and products) in the enterprises supported and related Priority 1 output benefits for the Convergence area
  5. Any specialist firms used will need to be procured or form part of a formal collaboration
  6. Collaborations and the dissemination of results/research will need to be compliant with the Community Framework for State Aid for Research and Development and Innovation
  7. Where market drivers are closely related to ineligible activity (e.g. farming, forestry) robust evidence should be collected to demonstrate that the opportunity being exploited will result in eligible benefits/beneficiaries
  8. Alternative sources of support for an enterprise should be considered at every stage of the process
  9. The support should aim to develop an R&D legacy within the enterprises supported not just provide a service – the company should not merely request the same support again

NB. The project must not engage in activities defined as basic or fundamental research.