SECURE-R2I consortium partners Intelligentsia and Georgian Technical University, in collaboration with the other EU projects ener2i and InnoverEast, organised a two-day event during 1st - 2nd June in Tbilisi, Georgia.

The first day was a brokerage event to facilitate networking between South-Caucasus countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) and European countries for professionals in the field of secure society technologies. After a welcome speech involving the organisers and Mrs. Irma Kavtaradze, Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, the new Georgian Innovation Agency (GITA) presented their actions to support innovation in the country. The panel, also comprising Prof. Paata Kervalishvili from the Georgian Technical University, discussed the opportunities for EU-Georgia collaboration in the frame of Horizon 2020. Then the 75 participants engaged in one-to-one discussions on business or research opportunities.

The second day started with a policy debate organised by SECURE-R2I consortium partners TII and Intelligentsia in the frame of the SECURE-R2I project. This debate opened with a presentation of the innovation policy evaluation conducted by TII and was followed by a keynote presentation by Prof. Gert Jervan, Dean at the Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia, who gave a very interesting overview of how Estonia managed its innovation policy after the fall of the Soviet Union. The panellists engaged then in a discussion about how to remove the barriers to innovation in Georgia. The panel included Mrs. Mariam Lashkhi from GITA and Mr Oliver Reisner from the EU delegation in Georgia and was open to the public. A fruitful exchange took place between the panellists and the audience.
The key barriers to technology transfer identified were:

• the low absorption capacity of local SMEs (low demand and low investment in R&D),
• a weak innovation /entrepreneurial culture,
• a fragmentated and incomplete innovation support chain in a context of scarcity of resources, brain drain and increasing societal divide.

Different policy options were discussed among which the development of human capital (awareness raising, education, skills enhancement for entrepreneurship, innovation and TT support) was recognized as the key cornerstone of a holistic policy intervention which could have an effect on framework conditions (regulation and governance) as well as promote supply (creation of the eco-system) and demand-side (enhancing absorption) measures to address the identified gaps.
The second day finished with several presentations including one from Prof. Alexey Kavokin, co-founder of the Mediteranean Institute of Fundamental Physics (MIFP) and professor at the University of Southampton, who talked about scientific collaboration through MIFP and how Georgia could be inspired by such an initiative.

This event was the first of three events planned during the SECURE-R2I project, the next ones will be in Belarus in November 2015 and in Ukraine in Spring 2016.

SUAFRI-EPC
Ener2i
Inco-Net EaP
Innover-East
No-Gap
RERAM

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 609534.