001 Img 20240404 Wa0003 We attended the 3rd Eutopia More Workshop dedicated to innovation and technology transfer on April 4 and 5. The meeting organised by University of Ljubljana and attended by all major technology transfer office (TTO) representatives from South East Europe – Western Balkans region came at the right time for the recently launched CTGCT. The main lesson learned was that the region is in a good position to quickly ascend in the global ranking of the most innovative regions.

The ascent requires several components, most of which seem to be present. These include knowledge, research infrastructure, ecosystem, focus and capital. Of these five some are very advanced; like technical knowledge especially in natural sciences, which could be greatly helped by more focus on the so-called soft skills, also plenty of excellent scientific research institutions, which again could do much better if they knew how to be more connected. One such answer is the ecosystem approach, strongly advocated by the organisers, in particular the UL TTO team, who need to be recognised for their leadership not just in this workshop, but in their work in the recent years. Points to be improved most seem to us to be focus and capital. Slovenia is leading the region in this for sure, especially in the direction of existing and growing support to R&I, including backing this with financing, with upwards of 500m€ per year available just form ARIS, the agency for research and innovation, along other sources of capital, public and private. Slovenia looks like it’s on the right track to join the club of countries who have a strategic approach to innovation.

CTGCT perspective of this is that translational medicine follows a very similar path to what SEE-WB region is now learing to do, just steeper. While CTGCT cannot compare with the scale of the region, both are on the same track, it goes steepest in the sense of the highest investment per product. SEE-WB and CTGCT need to understand that technical knowledge and theoretical ability don’t yet “make a customer”. In the case of CTGCT that’s healing the patient. What CTGCT needs to do in parallel to the findings of the workshop is also to foster an ecosystem approach, grow knowledge especially in the soft-skills area, network and infuse increasing amounts of capital yet all done with a laser focus the goals set out in the very start of the project.

For a detailed report of the Workshop please follow: https://www.uni-lj.si/study/rectors-forum-SEE-WB/innovation-TT.