Excellence as standard

Professor Anton Anton, President of the NASR in Romania, details the progress on Research and Development and Innovation.

We are glad to share the satisfaction of Romania's accession to the EU, which, fortunately for the policies in the Research and Development and Innovation field, coincides with the phase of finalising and launching the National Strategy and the associated Plan for R&D and Innovation for 2007-2013.

The two documents represent the pillars for RDI policy planning during 2007-2010. They are the main outcomes of the project for the 'Elaboration of the national R&D and innovation strategy for 2007-2013', launched by the National Authority for Scientific Research (NASR) in 2005, with the aim to re-evaluate and reconsider the priorities and objectives for the R&D and innovation field, in order to improve its contribution to ensuring sustainable economic and social development.

The 'Romanian Delphi'
The project for the 'Elaboration of the national R&D and innovation strategy for 2007-2013' entailed a large-scale consultation process, the 'Romanian Delphi', that involved for the first time the participation of the greatest part of the scientific community, representatives of undertakers, as well as significant personalities, which were invited to express their views, and to define plausible road maps about the perspective on economic and social development and the particular evolution in the RDI field.

The project was launched at the end of the second term of 2005 and took 18 months. It was achieved by a consortium of 32 R&D institutions and universities. The project co-ordinator was the National Council of University Research (CNCSIS) and the operational management was ensured by the Executive Unit for Financing Research in Universities (UEFISCSU).

The main project phases were the following:
The analysis of the current organisation and management of RDI activities and the evaluation of their present performances;
The evaluation of internal/external factors influence on the RDI system and activities, and the selection of those with strategic importance;
Reviewing the vision, mission and strategic objectives, producing alternatives for the development of the RDI system and the selection of the most adequate strategy;
Elaboration of strategy implementation instruments and procedures;
Defining the system of performance and achievement indicators, and the elaboration of monitoring instruments and procedures.

The project entailed the use of specialised systems and instruments for public consultation, for developing medium and long-term prognoses (including forecast and foresight tools), and for strategic planning.

The process of interogation, consultation and analysis involved the following categories of institutions and/or experts:
R&D institutions, representative for the respective S&T fields: R&D institutes and research centres, universities;
Scientific personalities, prestigious researchers and specialists, with unanimously recognised competences, in the respective S&T fields;
Government authorities and enterprises representative for the envisaged domains and sectors;
Reference/representative bodies, including civil society organisations (industrial associations, professional associations, etc.) of the envisaged domains and sectors.

The consultation and analysis process involved a wide range of institutions and specialists: more than 800 representatives of research institutes, firms, NGOs, policy-makers and 4,000 persons consulted online.

The National Strategy for R&D and Innovation for 2007-2013
The Strategy document elaborated within the project includes the following key elements for the development of the RDI system in Romania during 2007-2013:

Strategic objectives:
Promoting the creation and development of S&T knowledge, with a view on obtaining high level, internationally competitive, S&T results;
Increasing the competitiveness of the Romanian economy by promoting the diffusion and transfer of S&T knowledge, and the innovation processes with strong economic impact;
Increasing the quality of life through the development of S&T solutions with high benefits for society.

Specific objectives:
Promotion of research excellence;
Focusing public investment in RDI towards advanced research and lead technologies in key areas of application;
Increasing the RDI system capacity: reducing fragmentation, developing performant infrastructures, increasing the number of researchers, improving the management of RDI activities;
Stimulating private sector participation in RDI activities: development of public private S&T partenerships and technology platforms and S&T parks;
Increasing private sector expenditure for RDI to 1.5% of GDP till 2013;
Fiscal incentives and simplified access to RDI finance for innovative firms;
Extending international co-operation.

Priority RDI fields:
Advanced technologies and innovative products, including new materials, bio- and eco-technologies, in industry, agriculture and food safety, health, energy, environment and transportation;
Frontier sciences;
Socio-economic research.

The Strategy provides the following main action lines for promoting innovation:
Co-financing pre-competitive research projects;
Development of technology transfer centres;
Support for innovation-based entrepreneurship:
Development of technology and innovation incubators;
Development of the legal framework supporting spin-offs;
Setting up a public risk capital fund;
Support for the development of human resources for research within firms;
Development of mechanisms and instruments for monitoring private investment for research;
Fiscal incentives for investments in innovation.

The Strategy objectives are going to be achieved within the new framework for strategy implementation monitoring and in the context of a more transparent research market, based on a competitional system that promotes excellence.

The National Plan for R&D and Innovation for 2007-2013
The objectives and priorities established by the Strategy document were taken into account as reference elements for the elaboration of the main strategy implementation instrument: the National Plan for R&D and Innovation for 2007-2013 (NPRDI II).

The construction of the National Plan for RDI for 2007-2013 plans to ensure the conditions for fulfilling the strategic role of the national RDI system, that of developing science and technology in order to increase economic competitiveness and to improve the quality of life, and to develop and enhance the reservoir of potentially applicable S&T knowledge.

The structure of the National Plan for RDI for 2007-2013, ellaborated within the Strategy project, includes six programmes, with the following objectives:
Human resources, supporting the increase in the number of researchers and the improvement of their professional performances;
Capacities, supporting the development of RDI infrastructures, and their better connection and use at national and international level;
Ideas, promoting the generation of high level S&T results, contributing to a higher international visibility and recognition for Romanian research. The programme specifically supports research in frontier sciences, with the particular view of enhancing the Romanian participation in the similar EU FP7 specific Programme Ideas. The main scientific fields envisaged for basic research include: biology, genetics and medicine; chemistry and materials sciences; mathematics; physics, including technological physics; geonomy and environment;
Partnerships in RDI priority fields, promoting S&T partnerships leading to innovative technologies, products and services in key application areas. The RDI priority fields envisaged by the 'Partnerships' programme are those specified in the Strategy document;
Innovation, promoting industry led research and innovation based on the absorption of research results;
Institutional performance, promoting development strategies at the level of R&D institutions, in accordance with the National RDI Strategy.

A wide range of 28 indicators are associated with the National Plan for RDI for 2007-2013, in order to monitor and evaluate the achievement of objectives during its implementation. They cover the main aspects reflecting the evolution of the whole RDI system, including:
The number of researchers and PhDs, and their participation in national and international projects;
S&T productivity, including the number of publications, and of national and international (EPO, USTPO) patents;
The level of investments in RDI infrastructures, including for S&T parks;
The development of RDI activities in enterprises, in particular in SMEs, and their impact on increasing high technology production and exports.

The State budget funds allocated for the whole duration of the Plan is of 15,000 million lei (approximately 4.4bn).

The National Plan for RDI for 2007-2013 will allow the RDI system to attain the level of excellence necessary for international recognition and, also, to promote innovation-based performance in all the fields that contribute to ensuring the wellbeing of citizens.

The two documents The National Strategy and the associated Plan for R&D and Innovation for 2007-2013, which also include the corresponding performance monitoring and evaluation system, finalised by NASR are legally approved by government.

inserted by Florian GRUBER on 2007-06-04 13:49:06