One of the first open innovation projects in Serbia launched

Representatives of scientific and research organizations will soon have the opportunity to participate in one of the first "open innovation" projects in Serbia called PMInnovia, which was launched by Philip Morris International (PMI) in cooperation with NALED. In the first half of 2024, scientists and innovators will be able to apply for a public call to solve a specific challenge, and the best teams will receive financial support for further development and adaptation of their solutions to the needs of PMI.

In this way, additional sources of funding are provided for the implementation of scientific research projects that the economy can use to improve and innovate its own products and processes. In addition, the teams will have mentoring support from leading domestic and international experts from the private sector and the academic community.

Last night, the PMInnovia project was presented to the interested professional public in the presence of Minister Jelena Begović.

- Creating conditions for the development and synergy of science and economy is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Science, Technological Development and Innovation of the Government of the Republic of Serbia. The goal is for our country to become a center of excellence in the field of science and innovation, and the first next step on that path is connecting large companies and foreign investors with our scientific community. PMInnovia contributes to this goal and we are very grateful to the company PMI, which for years in cooperation with the Government of the Republic of Serbia and NALED has supported domestic innovators and startups, and now continues to invest in our researchers and scientists, and helps them find their way to market - said Minister Begović.

From 2021 to today, the PMI company has supported almost 60 startups and innovative projects in Serbia with two million dollars of non-refundable financial support within the Startech project, the total value of which reaches five million dollars intended for the development of the domestic innovation ecosystem. PMInnovia represents an upgrade of this project in the direction of connecting science and economy and commercializing innovations that Serbia can offer to the world, pointed out the vice president for product and technology development of PMI Lucca Rossi.

- Philip Morris International recognizes the value of innovation developed by scientists and researchers outside the company to find sustainable solutions that can be integrated into the new product development process. We decided to launch the PMInnovia project precisely in Serbia, because here we recognized the energy, expertise and capacity for the application of a modern scientific approach in the development of innovations whose commercialization would have a positive impact on consumers, society and the environment - stressed Rossi.

Let us recall that according to the Strategy of the Industrial Policy of Serbia until 2030, there is a lack of cooperation between state scientific and research organizations and the private sector. Scientific-industrial cooperation in Serbia is sporadic and based on personal contacts and initiatives. The findings of the research published in Strategy show that the focus of scientific and academic works is not on their practical applicability. This is supported by the data from the business survey, which show that only 3.5% of companies developed an innovation in cooperation with universities and scientific organizations. In relation to the size of the company, large companies did a little more business with the scientific and research community (8%) than small ones (7%), while with micro-enterprises this type of cooperation is at a negligible level (2.5%). One of the goals of PMInnovia is to reverse this trend and for the concept of open innovation to take root in Serbia as well.

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