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Romanian Research and Innovation Days (RoDI)

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Proposal abstract

The main goal of RoDI is to encourage and to stimulate Romanian entities to participate in the priority themes 1 (biotechnology) and 2 (ICT) of FP 6 and in the field of research and innovation.

The project aims to strengthen the weak Romanian research and innovation systems to integrate Romanian Research into the European Research Area (ERA). Therefore the project shall increase the knowledge about FP 6 amongst researchers and interested business and the participation of Romanian organisations in FP 6 projects.

Biotechnology and ICT are regarded by the government as key themes for the creation of future competitive advantages. In order to achieve these objectives there are concrete actions planned within the project:

– the creation of two high quality networks (one on ICT and one on biotechnology)

– the organisation and implementation of two annual RTDI conferences

– the organisation of a series of six regional workshops per year (twelve workshops in total)

In relevance to the objectives, RoDI will concentrate on research and innovation, including the FP 6 priorities ICT and biotechnology compatible with FP 6 “structuring the ERA”.

Furthermore the Ministry of Education and Research intends to network players of scientific and economic fields and to build up sustainable co-operative structures and networks. The networks will provide help for high quality centres of research to communicate amongst each other about specific research results in particular to the business sector.

To increase the knowledge about FP 6 the project envisaged the organisation of two event formats: the conferences inform about latest developments and current calls in FP 6 and the workshops covered precise project results and specific technical advice regarding proposal preparation.

Our objective is to mobilise already existing and emerging human and material resources in order to create synergies and additional momentum for these two strategic research topics in Romania.

Objectives of the proposed project

The research, technological development and innovation (RTDI) situation in Romania has seen dramatic changes in the last 14 years. The communist system tried to establish an isolated and autarkic research system which was aimed at making the national industry independent from foreign know how.

In terms of quantities the Romanian RTDI systems was quite impressive: 26 university research institutions, 75 research institution under the roof of the Romanian Academy of Science and additionally more than 450 smaller research institutions.

However, after the revolution and the introduction of a market orientated economy the deficits of the system became evident: the lack of international co-operation led to inefficient research efforts, high capacities were build up in sectors where demand was dramatically declining and finally a total lack of demand orientation amongst the research scene.

Consequently the whole system collapsed in the aftermath of the Romanian revolution.

The Romanian government, in particular the Ministry of Education and Research (MER), and to some extent the newly established Ministry for SMEs also, therefore tried to stabilise the system by specific support measures in this field.

Targeted R&D funding schemes, co-operative research programmes for R&D institutions and industry as well as the privatisation of former public institutions belong to the most prominent of those measures.

However, R&D expenditures are much below European average and far away from the three per cent objective set by the European Council in Barcelona in 2002. According to the latest European Innovation Scoreboard GERD/GDP amounts to some 0.4 per cent in 2002 (with a decreasing tendency; 1996: 0.71 per cent).

In addition to the insufficient R&D expenditures, a further major deficit in Romania concerning RTDI is usually seen in the non-existing links between the academic system and industry. The Romanian research and innovation system is thus in its infancy and at regional level those systems hardly exist.

It is therefore a vital interest of the Ministry of Education and Research, General Directorate for Technological Transfer and Innovation (MER-GD TTI), to overcome the situation briefly outlined above.

The creation of national and regional RTDI systems, the encouragement for in particular private investments in RTDI and eventually the integration of Romanian research into the European Research Area (ERA) are hence important milestones for our future policy making.

Against this background the major objective of the current proposal is to promote the participation of both national and regional/local actors in European research as well as in innovation orientated projects, in particular in those co-financed by FP 6.

The mission of RoDI will therefore be

– to raise awareness about the opportunities of European research projects,

– to increase the knowledge about FP 6 amongst researches and interested businesses,

– to increase the participation of Romanian entities in FP 6 projects; mainly in the fields of innovation and in the research fields of ICT and biotechnology (the latter two topics are being regarded by the government as key themes for the creation of future competitive advantages; – on the one hand Romania can build here upon relatively strong past competences and on the other hand these themes are being assumed as future orientated high potential business fields; this is by the way the reason why a current foresight project financed under STRATA is also focussing on these two topics which are of strategic relevance for the RTDI scene but also for the economic catching up process of Romania as well).

Concrete objectives of the project proposed herewith are

– the creation of two high level networks (one on ICT and one on biotechnology)

– the organisation and implementation of two annual RTDI conferences (2004 and 2005)

– the organisation of a series of six regional workshops per year (twelve workshops in total).

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