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Future platform to provide link between science and business

Photo: Pixabay

Science in Bulgaria is well advanced and has much to offer national as well as foreign investors. But to be able to attract them it needs effective technology transfer. Have conditions been created to help scientific research reach the big players in the global “war” over where the production capacities of the new industries will be built?

Bulgaria is yet to learn how to be an attractive place for global leaders in innovation and knowledge looking to position their companies working in spheres like artificial intelligence, renewable energy sources and other technologies of the future. To this aim, it needs to create an investment climate conducive to the deployment of major projects and build trust for long-term development.

“In any innovatively advanced country the main motors of this innovative growth are scientific research and patent activity for the inventions created,” says Prof. Vladia Borissova, Director of the Institute of Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer of the University for National and World Economy in Sofia. “It is important for the scientific research work to be patented but also to be implemented in industry, which, on its part, shapes economy as innovative. And as it is universities and the research institutes of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences that work in the sphere of science, the budget that is invested in them is of paramount importance. And that budget, compared to other countries, is below 1%.”

At the moment, there exist functional units responsible for individual stages in the link between science and business thoughthere is no comprehensive system of innovation.  According to Prof. Vladia Borissova an important element in this link are the so-called technology transfer offices which provide information about the innovations developed and about potential users of the innovative ideas.

“A technology transfer office is where scientific research is translated from the language of science into the language of economy,” she adds. “A very high level of expert knowledge is required so that these projects may be implemented and not be left on paper only.”

One of the problems businesses now encounter is how to find out what the research teams have created. “The road leading to this kind of information is one of the missing links in the innovative ecosystem,” Prof. Vladia Borissova points out. That is why a designated platform is to be launched to provide the link between scientific research work and businesses, so as to make technology transfer possible.

“Digital technologies have enabled us to bring scientists and research teams in contact with one another much more quickly wherever they may be in the world,” the economist says further. “And this is very helpful in pooling different kinds of expertise as well as the efforts of researchers in the search for solutions in a given situation. One such example is the Covid situation at the moment, in which scientists from all over the world worked together to develop a vaccine. And we all saw that a vaccine which usually takes years to develop was created in a matter of months.”

Licensing of innovations, which is, actually a form of technology transfer, is still the missing link in the system of innovations.

“If we want all sectors to be able to take advantage of innovative solutions then science ought to be a priority,” Prof. Vladia Borissova says.

Interview by Diana Doncheva, Horizont channel

Editing by Diana Tsankova

Photos: Pixabay and NWES
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