The purpose was to improve industrial competitiveness and research excellence by supporting the establishment of competence centres and centres of excellence.
PROBLEM ADDRESSED: The starting point was low efficiency of the innovation system in Slovenia despite improved research capacities. It was estimated that further support was required ensuring the critical mass of various research to business. The instrument supported establishment of centers of excellence and competence centers. Funding was dedicated to the establishment and selected research to business activities in 4 years.
HOW RESULTS WERE ACHIEVED: There was a national tender to address both competitiveness and excellence in research. Seven priority areas were defined. Eligible applicants were consortia of minimum 4 different companies, 2 research institutions and 1 nonprofit organization. Seven centers were selected for the development of competence centers in 2010–2013. 1.Competence Centre for Advanced Control Technologies (http://www.tvp.si); 2.Competence Centre — Advanced Systems for Efficient Use of Electrical Energy (http://www.sure.si); 3.Competence Centre Biomedical Engineering; 4.Competence Centre for Sustainable and Innovative Construction (http://kc-tigr.si/); 5.Competence Centre for Biotechnological Development and Innovation (http://www.bmecenter.com); 6.Competence Centre for Cloud-Assisted Services (http://www.kc-class.eu/); 7.Competence Centre Open Communications Platform for Integrated Services (http://www.opcomm.eu)
STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT: All together there were 83 partners in 7 competence centers. Some of them participated in more partnerships.
The public funding was dedicated only for the initial phases of the competence centres.
44,7 MIO (2010-2013) – 85% ERDF + 15% national
The tender was prepared and monitored by the Ministry of Economy of Slovenija with external support at evaluation phase.
Evidence of success
1445 research hours, implementation od 52 innovative projects, 162 new products developed and 177 innovations. There were 52 patents submitted and additional 24 new technological, process and organisational solutions. Within the timeframe of three years partners invested 20,5 mio € of private funds into research.
Some criteria for inclusion was set too high (one of the criteria was level of export in overall sales which is hard to reach for new companies and some complementary partners like energy providers etc.).
Short term public co financing (with only three years of public support it is hard to follow.
Potential for learning or transfer
The competence centers are defined as development and research centers that are managed by partners from industrial sector and link partners from the industry and public research sector; they focus on the promotion of the development capability and the application of new technologies in manufacturing new competitive products, services and processes at priority areas of technological development.
The external evaluation showed different elements of success after the initial phase (4 years of public funding):
- Concentration of critical mass of competences for selected sectors
- Higher level of trust between partners
- Better cooperation between research and business
- Strategic cooperation of partners for long term results
- Flow of information and competences improved in both directions
- Development of new products/services for the market
- Multidimensional cooperation of partners (better than usual)
- High inclusion of young researchers …
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