EMPHASIS Programme /


Euro-Mediterranean Network Facilitating Market Uptake of Innovations from SMEs

The EMPHASIS Project In Brief

EMPHASIS is set on co-creating a Mediterranean Open Innovation (OI) ecosystem, in which knowledge flows across borders and is translated into marketable innovations. The project will co-design, deploy and validate a Mediterranean OI service platform, aiming at better linking the fragmented innovation systems of the region by facilitating meaningful cross-border knowledge flows, empower SMEs with the skill-sets required to tap into external knowledge base and turn it into value and identify fields that can turn sustainability challenges (e.g., agri-food, energy, materials) into business opportunities. EMPHASIS will lead to the uptake of the results from a series of projects to identify SMEs, assess their ‘readiness’ to engage with OI and provide them advisory services – in the form of vouchers – to enhance their innovation capacity to build partnerships, covering the different stages of their innovation journeys. A joint transnational approach will be a solid action to address the sustainability agendas through effective market uptake of research outputs.

Key Information

Acronym:  EMPHASIS

Full title:  Euro-Mediterranean Network Facilitating Market Uptake of Innovations from SMEs

Thematic objective:  A.2 Support to education, research, technological development and innovation

Priority:  A.2.2 SMEs access to research and innovation

Countries:  Greece, Jordan, Spain, Lebanon, Egypt, Italy

Financial Data

0.8 Million

Total Budget

0.7 Million

EU contribution

10 %

Project co-financing



To deploy an Open Innovation system that supports SMEs to exploit sustainability business opportunities through external cross-border partnerships across the Mediterranean

What Will Be Improved?

The implementation of EMPHASIS will provide a working collaboration of cross-border partnerships sharing knowledge and working together on co-creating new products and services within real-life environments with the user in focus. It will increase capacities of SMEs to innovate and their readiness to engage with innovation partners, turning external knowledge into new products, services and business opportunities. The project will validate the Open Innovation approach and will engage policy-makers and stakeholders, contributing to its mainstreaming. EMPHASIS will address SMEs of various patterns of innovation activity, including those that are not the usual beneficiaries of policy interventions, namely SMEs in non-high-tech sectors, as high-tech SMEs barely represent 8% of the total.

Who Will Benefit?

  • SMEs, start-ups and spin offs involved in submission of Open Innovation opportunities
  • At least 12 enterprises providing Open Innovation opportunities will be assisted
  • Clusters and networks of SMEs and Spin-offs
  • Researchers and Research Units developing solutions in the field of sustainability
  • Innovation policy authorities
  • Business support structures
  • More than 60 public authorities, institutional actors and policy makers

Expected Achievements

  • An Open Innovation platform enabled, providing online tools to post supply and demand of innovation
  • 60 innovation opportunities proposed by SMEs boosted through an Open Call
  • 24 SMEs supported with advisory services
  • 6 regional capacity building seminars organized

Contribution To Policy-Making

EMPHASIS has inherited a substantial legacy of accumulated knowledge and experience from ENPI, ENI and other initiatives. This legacy will be capitalized through the inclusion of key members of many of these former and ongoing projects in the EMPHASIS consortium, adding a dimension of continuity and relevance to the proposed activities. The project is expected to contribute directly to the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets, the Smart Specialization Strategy and the Europe Green Deal Strategy, as well as EU’s and MPC countries long-term sustainability goals. Furthermore, it will support the Joint Africa-EU Strategy through exchanges with the EU-AU High Level Policy Dialogue groups (research partnerships on food and nutrition security and sustainable – FNSSA, renewable energy – RE and climate change and sustainable energy-CCSE). The cooperation among different regions, development of strategic partnerships and input from open call, innovation support services and joint projects development will be mainstreamed into regional policy making through community and dedicated engagement activities.

Project In Numbers






Technical outputs

Project Duration

01 September 2021

Start Date

31 August 2023

End Date

Improving the dairy value chains across the Mediterranean through the creation of cross border living labs and of startups

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