Publish Date: 21.05.2015

Category: News from the University

Ljubljana, 21 May 2015 – A founding general meeting of the Slovenian Innovation Hub took place today at the rectorate of the University of Ljubljana, where 23 co-founders met together. The co-founders adopted the constitutional document, elected members of the Council and adopted the work programme and the annual budget. 

The Slovenian Innovation Hub was founded today by:AmCham Slovenija, BTC, DOBA Business School, ELES, EN – FIST Centre of Excellence, Gorenje, Institute Jožef Stefan, National Institute of Chemistry, Krka, Lek, City of Ljubljana, National Institute of Biology, Nova Ljubljana banka, Slovenian Tool and Die Development Centre, Riko, Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region, SID Bank, The Slovenian Business and Research Association, Špica International, Technology Park Ljubljana, Telekom Slovenije, Trimo, University of Ljubljana.

The co-founders of the Slovenian Innovation Hub elected the members of the Council, namely:  as director of the Institute Jožef Stefan, dr. Jadran Lenarčič, director of NIB, dr. Turnšek Lah, rector of the University of Ljubljana, dr. Ivan Svetlik, mayor of the City of Ljubljana, Zoran Jankovič, Chairman of the Board of SID Bank, mag. Sibil Svilan, director of the Regional Development Agency of the Ljubljana Urban Region, mag. Lilijana Madjar, Head of the Sector for Organisation, Development and New Media at BTC, Franc Malis, Executive Director for Development at Gorenje, Boštjan Pečnik, Head of Constant Improvements and Innovation at Lek, dr. Darja Ferčej Temeljotov.

In the work programme, the co-founders mainly undertook to prepare concrete development projects of partners or form value chains as well as to cooperate in the preparation of long-term programmes of the country. 

A comprehensive analysis of the state at the University as well as in companies and the country as a whole has shown that the size of the Slovenian economy and its distinctive fragmentation are some of the biggest challenges for successful transfer of knowledge and realisation of good ideas. Therefore, the idea of a Slovenian hub of innovations is primarily designed around integration; the integration of research and development groups of various institutions and companies into a group that reaches a critical mass, the integration of companies into a group that can organise and carry out a project and the integration of various sources of financing in a scope that ensures the performance of the project and the survival of the project during its most critical stage of formation.

The most successful countries are focusing all their efforts on strengthening their innovation capabilities, adopting suitable strategies and successfully carrying out measures that result in the achievement of the goal. The German government, for example, in December last year adopted a resolution to extend the “Excellence Initiative” even after 2017, for which it previously dedicated 4.6 billion Euros for a ten year period. In June 2013, the Japanese government adopted a directive that it must become “the most innovation-friendly country in the world”. With this goal, it undertook to achieve joint investments into research and development at the level of four percent of GDP (this is currently surpassed only by Israel, Nordic countries have around three percent, the European average is two percent). Korea, which according to many indicators is the most successful knowledge economy, also set as its goal to invest into research and development activities in the amount of four percent of GDP.

As is known, this percentage has been dropping in recent years in Slovenia; a big problem is also the fragmentation of our research and development capabilities, which is an impairment in achieving international excellence. Conditions for effective encouragement of creativity, innovations and entrepreneurship should be created.

Thus, the newly established Slovenian Innovation Hub will operate mainly as a facilitator and promoter of development and research teams in the academic and business sphere. As part of the priority areas of the Smart Specialisation Strategy, the Hub shall assist the crystallisation of the capabilities and forming of projects that shall build on the achieved and developing areas of excellent knowledge and technologies with the goal of developing and launching new products and services on Slovenian and foreign markets, enabling new job creation with high added value and encouraging the establishment of new companies. The basic goal is to contribute towards the development of knowledge-based economy and to raise our international competitiveness.

The Hub shall be the advocate for all innovation factors and shall strive to modernise and complete our support system (a consultation shall be organised in September) and to link similar innovation teams with centres of excellence in the wider region and across the world and also to assist in the search for financial resources for the realisation of individual projects.

The Hub is not just another institution but the core of efforts and integration. The Hub shall only engage 2-3 people, and their costs shall be covered by the members of the Hub with membership fees. Every project shall be managed by partners, who shall select a coordinator among themselves and shall make an independent decision whether and which services they need from the team at the Hub’s office.

Today’s general meeting shall be followed by the consent from the Government of the Republic of Slovenia (which is required for public research organisations and institutes) and the registration of an European Economic Interest Grouping.

During its first year of operation, the Hub shall operate as a virtual community of research, development and financial institutions and companies. Based on the already acquired knowledge and market interests of companies, initiatives for projects shall be created which after analyses shall form into independent projects with clearly defined goals, own management and finances. The Hub shall thus perform tasks best defined by its name; it shall be a catalyst for integration, defining common interests, a catalyst of the creation of independent projects, a mediator in the search for financial resources and an overcomer of unnecessary administrative or legislative obstacles.

Photos by Željko Stevanić, IFP d.o.o.