Open R&D Lithuania represents the largest network of excellence of innovation infrastructures, services and competencies within the Baltic States. The network is a cooperative platform of the open access R&D centres and laboratories of 14 Lithuanian Universities, 13 Public Research Institutes and seven Science and Technology Parks. Through this platform they have united their respective R&D intellectual potential, infrastructure and resources in order to provide scientifically based solutions to problems raised by both businesses and society. Collectively the network is able to offer over 2.500 services for scientific research and experimental R&D.
- Supporting businesses in R&D projects
- Covering operational costs of equipment
- Ease of access for businesses
- Diversity of industrial sectors covered by the platform
Lithuania is a small Member State within the EU, nevertheless is holds a vast amount of opportunities for businesses, R&D and scientific experimentation. This is reflected through its status as the most favourable state to invest in amongst the Baltic States, and Lithuania is ranked second according to the expected profitability of investments in Europe according to studies conducted in 2014. However, aligning this potential to generate the greatest impact, as well as the necessity to not only cover the maintenance costs of the R&D equipment but also to create an ecosystem which is capable of attracting business both nationally and internationally needs structural management and coordination.
The Open R&D Lithuania network not only connects the various R&D players across the country but also operates on an one-stop-shop principle, enabling customers to contact the network directly with a specific query enabling the network to find researchers or scientists from different fields who may be able to support the customers in meeting their needs. The drive to create a platform which is easy and practical to use by businesses was pushed even further through the creation of the e-science gateway platform (www.e-sciencegateway.eu). This gateway serves as the main access point to Lithuanian R&D infrastructures, Universities and Research Institutes which are all able to promote their facilities and know-how. This way, Open R&D Lithuania has created a system which will serve companies who know what they are looking for, enabling them to order services online via the gateway, or direct their queries to the network in the search of assistance and guidance in the right path. By linking the numerous centres throughout the country, Open R&D Lithuania is able to provide services to an array of industrial sectors such as Marine technologies, Chemical industries, ICT, Energy, Biotechnology, Health and Pharmaceutical industries, Food technology, Photonics, Nanotechnology, Electronics and Semiconductors and Civil engineering.
The Open R&D Lithuania network brand was created in 2014 by the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology, or MITA, in order to showcase the country’s scientific potential on the national and international scale. This branding allowed the Universities and Research Institutions to gain greater visibility as members of the same network in an international context. Further support towards this platform came in 2015, when a budget of 2.151.874 million euro of the European Social Fund was allocated to enhance the Open R&D Lithuania platform in a multiannual project. This project focussed on stimulating open access usage of scientific and research institution infrastructure and resources, the commercialisation of R&D outputs and the development of a common Lithuanian R&D marketing strategy using the Open R&D Lithuania brand. The project was not only limited to the connection of R&D infrastructure in Lithuania since it also addressed a gap of knowledge in the technology transfer process among scientists and researchers. By setting up training courses and internships, Open R&D Lithuania also addresses the development of skills for the workforce. This has resulted in an ecosystem in which modern operating R&D facilities, equipment, services and high-level intellectual R&D potential is easily accessible and concentrated in the laboratories of five integrated science and business valleys which operate like Open Access Centres.
The Results and Benefits
The platform has been able to attract huge interest from abroad and has resulted in business contacts in China, Israel, the United States of America, Germany, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. This international attraction has resulted in over 80 targeted visits and meetings with potential partners amongst which are some of the largest international companies such as Siemens, IBM and Microsoft. Between 2013 and 2015 alone, the R&D centres provided 56 services to customers generating just under 11 million euro in income, thus showcasing the power of collaboration. These figures are expected to rise of the coming years.