The Institute of Physics, Belgrade, along with five other institutes, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, to provide support to the process of transformation of institutes that conduct scientific research activities. The ceremony of document signing was organized at the headquarters of the Government of the Republic of Serbia on 28 December 2021. ’The Ministry of Science, Education and Technological Development gives its wholehearted support to the excellence in science and has been dedicated to the long-term maintaining of the quality of scientific work’, stated Branko Ružić, the first vice-president of the Government of Serbia and minister of education, science and technological development, on the occasion of the ceremony.
The sum of about 13 million euros has been allocated for the transformation of institutes, through the Serbia Accelerating Innovation and Growth Entrepreneurship Project (SAIGE), which is funded and realized through a solid partnership of the Republic of Serbia, the World Bank and the European Union for the purpose of providing additional investment into science, technological development, innovations and innovative entrepreneurship.
‘Through cooperation on similar projects of capacity building, particularly with the World Bank, the Institute has transformed itself in recent years, and has become a national institute of the Republic of Serbia. This project will help us to face an essential question: how to use ample creative energy in science to strengthen the economy and society in general in the Republic of Serbia’, affirmed Aleksandar Bogojević, director of the Institute of Physics, Belgrade.
Concerning the significance of the project, whose realization commenced in May 2020, Prof. Viktor Nedović, director of SAIGE project, pointed out that the realization of the project unfolded through three components encompassing: further reform of the scientific sector, support for the programmes of the Science Fund and strengthening cooperation with the Serbian diaspora, as well as the support for the new programme of the Innovation Fund i.e. the programme of acceleration.
The goal of the SAIGE project is to improve the relevance and excellence of scientific research; expand the capacity of scientific research organizations, as well as to boost innovative entrepreneurship and access to financial resources for enterprise growth, as a way of contributing to Serbia’s economy competitiveness.
The SAIGE project is significant not just to the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering, but to all participants including the scientific community of Serbia itself, since, in terms of the transformation of scientific institutes, we stand a better chance of hopping on global trend train both of science and economy’, said Dr Jelena Begović, director if the IMGGE. This institute and the Institute of Physics, Belgrade are the only ones that participated in a similar project, which has had an impact on both institutions.
In the year 2020, the Ministry conducted a process of evaluation of institutes that engage in scientific research activities utilizing a survey in which the institutes themselves assessed the current state and key opportunities for improvements. The institutes also declared whether they wanted to continue further voluntary participation in a process involving external international expert assessment and the preparation of a transformation plan. After the declaration, the selection followed and the first group of six institutes was selected, which continued to participate in the further process.