That Serbia is creating innovation was confirmed today at the Innovation Fund’s event: Innovation: Investment in Future, held at Dom garde venue at Topcider. With the support of Government of the Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, and the World Bank, the Innovation Fund has managed to contribute to the development of innovations, particularly in the area of creating and strengthening linkages between academia and private sector.
The event was an occasion to present the products that resulted from the cooperation between academia and private sector through the Collaborative Grant Scheme Program. Through development endeavors initiated from this collaboration, 12 new products have been successfully created, 5 advanced prototypes have been developed, 3 new technologies and technological processes have been confirmed and awarded for the production of high added value products, while 5 projects have started achieving commercial results by selling their innovations. It is expected that over the period of two years, the real outcome of these development activities will be seen, as well as their positive effects on companies. In the first cycle of the Collaborative Grant Scheme Program, a total of 14 innovative projects were financed with EUR 3 million. The first cycle was implemented within the IPA project “Creating a Comprehensive R&D Collaboration” and the ceremony was an opportunity to mark the closing of the project.
This event was also an opportunity to present new awardees under the second cycle of the Collaborative Grant Scheme Program. Financing was approved for 9 projects to be implemented by consortia comprised of at least one private sector company and one public scientific research organization, with a total of EUR 2.25 million from the budget of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development. In the next two years, consortia will develop parking management systems, a robotic arm for storage, packaging machines, a new prototype drone for dusting, a new formulation of biopesticides...
Finally, on this occasion, the Innovation Fund announced a new public call for funding innovative projects of the companies through the Mini Grants and Matching Grants Programmes, in the amount of EUR 4.5 million provided by the European Union from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA 2014). This call is financed under the Direct Grant Agreement – project “New Products and Services Developed by SMEs Through Research Commercialization”, with July 1, 2019 as the deadline for submitting applications.
The Government’s focus on strengthening an economy based on knowledge and innovation and the importance of the synergistic effect of the partnership between the Republic of Serbia, the European Union and the World Bank, were the main topics of the panel held at this event. Minister without Portfolio in charge of Innovation and Technological Development Nenad Popovic, State Secretary in the Ministry of Education Prof. Dr Vladimir Popović, Science and Technological Development, Head of Cooperation, the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia Yngve Engstrom and the World Bank Country Manager for Serbia Stephen Ndegwa discussed investments in the development of innovative ecosystems. The discussion was led by the director of the Innovation Fund, Ivan Rakonjac, while speakers on this topic included Natasa Golic, Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, and Slobodanka Markovic, owner of Tetragon company. Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development Mladen Sarcevic also addressed the participants at the end of the Ceremony.
The Innovation Fund’s programs were supported with EU funds since their inception, and following their pilot phase, due to funding from the national budget through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, they have become a continuously available mechanism of support provided by the Innovation Fund. As such, they represent a consistent support to the Serbian economy based on knowledge, as well as to the research sector.