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BIO 4 campus: Economic interest of companies or a way for science to get funding

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Every company can find its economic interest in BIO 4 campus, but the question is to what extent faculties will be able to conduct non-profit fundamental research, which has led to major discoveries in biotechnology,” says Oliver Stojković, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine and a molecular biologist.

“These discoveries were not made by having for-profit projects,” Stojković said.

However, Siniša Đurašević, a professor at the Faculty of Biology in Belgrade, believes that it is possible for science to obtain funds through this route because pharmaceutical companies can pay hundreds of thousands of euros for preclinical research conducted at BIO 4 campus.

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“This is an opportunity for our science to earn something, for that money to return here and be used and invested in fundamental science,” he says.

Professor Stojković, however, remains skeptical and expresses concerns about education and science in Serbia.

We will breed rats for AstraZeneca to test something and hope that BIO 4 will return some money to us for fundamental research,” he says.

Professor Đurašević says that the campus is a common way of organizing higher education and science, and it means that faculties, scientific institutes, or both are organized in a single space.

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The concept of BIO 4 campus comes from the four scientific areas it focuses on – biotechnology, bioinformatics, biomedicine, and biodiversity, he explains.

As for the total cost of BIO 4 campus, estimates range from 300-350 to 450 million euros, he says.
A specific part of the funds intended only for equipment amounts to around 100 million euros, according to Đurašević.

“This is, if we look at it on a global scale, an extremely large investment in scientific equipment,” he said.
However, Stojković expresses concern that it will not work out as envisioned.

He is concerned about the “peripheralization” of the Faculty of Biology, which will move from Studentski Trg, where it is a “tenant,” to Kumodraž.

He also mentions the fear that biology will “move more towards applied research.”

“This level of funding for applied science means that you will not necessarily have money for fundamental research,” he says.

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