Science and technology parks – a promising part of the Lithuanian innovation ecosystem
In today’s knowledge-based economy, competitive advantage in the technology area has an increasing impact on the country’s competitiveness. Therefore, counties are engaged in the creation and development of efficient innovation systems, and seek to devote most resources for the investment into research and development as well as innovation. After all, the application of the latest technology and innovative ideas for the benefit of the country may lead to the achievement of astounding results.
According to global trends, being active innovation system participants, science and technology parks (hereinafter – STP) are one of the key factors promoting the creation and use of competitive technologies. Activities and infrastructure of these organizations must be focused on the transfer of technologies, activation of innovative part nerships, development of international networking, promotion of the establishment of start-ups and innovative culture education, which will ensure sustainable operation of the innovation system and modern technology dissemination in all modern production and service areas.
Physical STP structure has been systematically created and developed in Lithuania for over a decade now. In recent years, huge investments were allocated for funding STP activities. Since 2002, Lithuania has already invested into the STP infrastructure and activities more than €46 million. Such a period of time already allows expecting return on investment, however, new challenges emerge as well, i.e. an emerged need for STP specialization, initiation of the additional infrastructure and of the development of skills of STP employees, allowing STP to actively contribute to smart specialization strategy.
The concept of smart specialization has led to some fundamental changes, when the development of the regional innovation policy was started in Europe. Large goals are set based on the smart specialization guidelines, thus joint efforts of innovation representatives are necessary in order to achieve them. This requires a “bottom-up” principle. Being regional innovation policy implementation tools, STPs have good prospects for the promotion of regional partnership in innovation area. However, they do not automatically become a part of the implementation of smart specialization goals. STPs have to win this position by showing that they are prepared for that and properly contribute to the achievement of smart specialization goals. In order to be full-fledged participants of the implementation of smart specialization goals, STPs must be pioneers at the following levels:
• at the domestic level by promoting unique and innovative coop-eration forms of business entities set up in STPs and transferring such experience to the entire region in which they operate;
• at the regional and international level, by activating their international relations in order to contribute to the implementation ofsmart specialization goals;
• at the sectoral level by promoting a close cooperation of clusters and those sectors where the critical mass of companies has already formed.
These actions will also require for STP strategic management chang-
• the approach based on the creation of high value added and innovation ecosystems; in such a case, STPs would act as innovation creation and implementation intermediaries instead of being real estate managers only;
• the ability to plan a long-term perspective setting priorities anddefining the services provided;
• the ability to improve the monitoring and process of evaluation of STP activities focusing on the improvement of ecosystems related to STP activities, the value added created for the entire region, long-term sustainability of STP activities and an ability to attract private funding sources to STPs.
Only having fulfilled these conditions, STPs will be able to strongly say that they contribute not only to the transformation of the Lithuanian economy but also of the economy of the entire Baltic Sea region, and are active participants in the implementation of the smart specialization strategy.
In confirmation of its systematic approach to the development of STPs, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania will in the nearest future approve an updated concept for the development of Science and Technology Parks aimed at creating a purposeful STP activity policy focused on greater value-added services: transfer of knowledge and technologies, promotion of clusterization processes, commercialization of ideas, promotion of innovative entrepreneurship and performance of technologic audits. Especially we strive for STP activities and the created infrastructure to be more focused on experimental, demonstration and production activity processes – they should ensure sustainable functioning of the innovation system.
STPs must provide environment for the intensive development of innovation to be implemented by new generation commercial companies.
Lithuania is one of the few countries, where the state is participating in the management of as many as 4 STPs (under the shareholder’s rights), indicating a particularly high attention to these innovation ecosystem participants.
Seeking not only for the optimization of STP activities, but also for a greater STP impact on the development of the region, the Government of the Republic of Lithuania made a decision back in 2012 to establish an STP by combining the competencies, activities and infrastructure of three currently operating organizations.
The new Kaunas Science and Technology Park will start its operations this year, and it will be one of the strongest and largest STPs in the Baltic countries.
[divider]About Kaunas STP [/divider]
Business starts here!
Established 16 years ago in Kaunas, KTU Business Incubator was the first business support programme of this kind in Lithuania. Today Kaunas Science and Technology Park is the largest partner of science and business cooperation in this Baltic country. More than 200 companies have been incubated here with a success rate exceeding 90%.
Today, hier integrate more than 70 companies from IT sector, high tech sector, consultancies, advertisement & publishing companies and associated members.
More than 90% employees of Kaunas Science and Technology Park companies are graduates, students or current academic staff of Kaunas University of Technology.
The Kaunas Science and Technology Park is an experienced & qualified partner to more than 50 science institutions and business associations from 23 countries.
International partnership (more than 2000 companies) is realised via participation in European and world wide networks and associations: IASP, BASTIC, SPICE group, WAINOVA. National partnership accounts the partnering with business support network, Kaunas Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts, Kaunas Regional Development Agency as well as Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists.
The further steps into promotion of the Creativity culture are taken: cooperation with EU universities, initiation of EU-scale projects, funding of Kaunas Science Valley SANTAKA.
Welcome to Kaunas, the city of fast internet and creative startups!