EU to give Serbia EUR 2.5mn to bolster innovation

The European Union (EU) has allocated EUR 2.5 million for a project supporting research, innovation and technology transfer in Serbia.

Source: Tanjug
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Participants in a meeting in Belgrade marking the launch of the project made the announcement on Monday.

The Serbia Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer Project builds on the successes of the ongoing EU-funded Serbia Innovation Project, which has helped establish the Serbia Innovation Fund, according to a release from that organization.

The joint project, realized through cooperation between the Serbian Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and the EU, with the support of the World Bank, will be financed through pre-accession funds until June 2018.

The World Bank experts will support the Ministry in creating a national research and development (R&D) and innovation strategy, an infrastructure roadmap and an action plan, which should help Serbia transition away from focusing on quantity towards higher quality research outcomes.

Another aim of the project is to help the establishment of a technology transfer facility at the Innovation Fund that will build on the capacity building efforts previously financed by EU and other donor programs.

It will engage international specialists to assist research institutes in Serbia to commercialize their ideas in cooperation with technology transfer offices in Serbia.

Finally, the project will also support the design of a new grant scheme to boost R&D cooperation between industry and research organizations in Serbia, the release said.

Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport said that the project was a continuation of a joint innovation project for which the EU had so far allocated more than eight million euros, six million of which had been in the form of grants for small and medium enterprises.

The Serbia Innovation Project has helped the establishment of the Innovation Fund, which has successfully supported 53 innovative startups and technology-intensive enterprises in the period 2011-2014, Davenport said.

World Bank Country Manager for Serbia Tony Verheijen said that the Innovation Fund had so far brought Serbia a total of 71 projects.

It is important to increase the scope of activities, said Verheijen.

The project is financed with EUR 2.5 million from EU’s pre-accession funds, and the rest will be directly provided by the Serbia government and the Innovation Fund.

The World Bank will facilitate a consultation process with industry to design the new grant scheme.

The collaborative grant scheme will be implemented by the Innovation Fund and is expected to be launched in 2015, the Innovation Fund said.

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