Serbia receives 3,000 new graduate engineers every year

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More than 42,000 personnel in the field of technology and 3,000 new graduate engineers every year, four science and technology parks, 15 startup centers, 38 scientific and 35 research and development institutes with 12,000 researchers, the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as well as the BIO4 Campus, the construction of which starting in 2023, are huge capital that Serbia has at its disposal and which will be presented to the domestic and international community as part of the “Innovations move nations” campaign with the aim of developing the domestic innovation ecosystem and attracting significant investments in this area, according to NALED’s announcement.

The campaign “Innovations move nations” was launched as part of the Startech program, a project of the Philip Morris company implemented by NALED in cooperation with the Government of Serbia. The idea of ​​the campaign is to present the conditions available to innovators in Serbia on the way to the development and commercialization of their ideas, such as tax benefits, support organizations and innovation infrastructure. Along with incentive measures, the key theme for the development of innovation is cooperation, and through the campaign, a series of discussions with the state, corporations, startups, scientific institutions will be initiated and the best mechanisms for innovation to be the engine of economic development in our country will be considered.

The start of the campaign was made official at the panel discussion “Innovations move nations: What makes Serbia stand out”, which was held as part of the Belgrade venture forum. Meirav Harel, general director of the Israeli company MHfintech, spoke on the panel about the experiences of Israel, which has become famous as a “startup nation”. The greatest inventions in history have become a symbol of the country in which they were created and a driver of economic progress. If innovation drives nations, it is important to understand what drives innovation. 

“In the previous years, many positive things were done to make Serbia an environment that strongly encourages innovation, and in five years we have really made great progress in infrastructure, education, business, etc. Since 2017, when we made digitization a key priority of the government, we have made really big progress in infrastructure development, education, funding sources for startups and innovators, as well as regulation of the cryptocurrency market. We don’t need to have maximum resources, we need to have ideas, creativity, consistency and flexibility”, said Nenad Paunović, director of the team for IT and entrepreneurship in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister of Serbia. 

“There is not much difference in the educational system of Israel and Serbia, but the key is not in formal education, but in extracurricular content for children, but also adults who, through workshops, informal education, including business in working with them, get a much clearer perspective on entrepreneurship. What is important is that such activities are not focused on Belgrade and big cities, but it is necessary to motivate people in smaller communities to engage in innovation and develop ideas”, said Srđan Verbić, co-founder of the Social Innovation Observatory.

The results of supporting Serbia’s innovative ecosystem are already visible. According to data from Startup Genome, in 2021 the value of the market was 677 million dollars, even 35 percent more than the previous year. During 2021, more than 135 million dollars were invested in domestic startups, which is 600 percent more than in 2020. Revenue from exports of the Serbian technology sector exceeded 1.7 billion dollars, and gaming and blockchain are two leading areas in the innovation ecosystem.

“What should not be lost sight of is that the relationship with the traditional economy is very important for our startups, which can provide insight into what is needed from innovation and give startups space to test innovative ideas.” We need to work on strengthening communication and a common perspective, so that we have fewer outsourcing projects and more own products”, said Predrag Nikolić, director of the Center for Digital Transformation.

Some of the award-winning ideas are BabyFM’s innovative solution for monitoring babies’ temperature, NeuroBlast’s revolutionary device for the rehabilitation of neurological patients, White Lemur’s ecological replacement for disposable packaging, HerbElixa’s herbal dietary supplement, and DiaSolution’s innovative probiotic to relieve diabetes symptoms.

As part of the campaign, four round tables will be held that will bring together innovators, researchers, representatives of the economy, relevant institutions and the academic community in order to point out the challenges they face within the innovation ecosystem and propose recommendations for its improvement.

At the first meeting in the ICT Hub in Belgrade (December 2), the focus will be on innovations in the field of health. The next meeting in Novi Sad (December 6) will deal with commercialization of research and cooperation between science and business. Local innovations are the topic of the panel in Paraćin (December 13), while the last round table in Nis (December 21) is reserved for a discussion on cooperation between large corporations and startups, Biznis writes.

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