Lithuanian science valleys – science and business are acting in cooperation
Nowadays, in Lithuania, there is being implemented an idea of 5 integrated scientific studios and business centers, so called the science valleys. This is the largest science-and-business project implemented in Lithuania upon its scale and financing. One of the most important aims of this project is related to intense cooperation between Lithuanian scientists and local and foreign companies, aimed at creating and developing of new technologies and products.
The Lisbon strategy foresees that each member state and candidate to the European Union members up to 2010 is to allocate 3 per cent of GDP for scientific research activities. It is planned to allocate for creation and development of Lithuanian science valleys the sum in amount of over Litas 2 billion. These funds shall be received from the EU structural funds, state budget and private investments.
It is expected to establish 5 valleys in Lithuania. The range of scientific research activity of the three centers mentioned will be expanded.
In the Vilnius „Saulëtekis Technology Valley“ it is planned to develop 4 scientific research trends as follows: laser and light technologies; materials science and nanotechnologies; semiconductor physics, electronics and organic electronics, civil engineering.
The „Santara Valley“ is under establishment in Vilnius. The following 4 trends shall be developed in it: biotechnology and large molecular mass materials; molecular medicine and biopharmacy; ecosystems and safe environment research; modeling, informatics and communication technologies. ICT sector‘s companies and scientists shall work in the Visoriai Information Technologies Park (VITP).
The similar trends shall be developed by the „Santaka Valley“ to be established in Kaunas: sustainable chemistry; mechatronics and relevant electronic technologies; future energetics; information and communications technologies. The ICT technologies and business shall be developed in the Science and Technology Park (CTP) ,„Technopolis“ which is a partner of the „Santaka Valley“.
The „Santaka Valley“ in Kaunas and „Jűrinis“ („Sea“ in English) in Klaipëda shall be specialized ones. The development trends of „Nemunas Valley“ are related to agriculture: agrobiotechnology, bioenergetics and forestry; food technologies, safety and health. The „Sea Valley“ shall be developing 2 trends: the sea environment and sea technologies. Less investment amounts shall be allocated for these special-purpose valleys.
The „Saulëtekis Valley“ – the future engine of the biggest Vilnius universities
The vision of public enterprise, the „Saulëtekis Valley“, situated at Saulëtekis parkway, next to the University of Vilnius and the Vilnius Gediminas Technical University is related to formation of favourable environment for innovations and business based on dynamic partnership of scientific and study institutions, high technology enterprises and local authorities for purpose of creation of high added value, products and services to be competitive on the world markets. In order to develop the „Saulëtekis Valley“ business support infrastructure there was reserved the breakthrough territory of 2,4 ha (two plots of land of 1,8 ha and 0,6 ha). Also, there were approved detailed territorial plans of 62 ha area (including breakthrough plots of land). At present, the first complex of business enterprises and incubator covering 6300 sq m operates, where 20 companies are functioning.
According to the director of the Public Enterprise, the „Saulëtekis Valley“ Andrius Bagdonas it is expected the technology park to be distinguished not only by relations and proximity to the biggest Lithuanian universities, but also by the wide range of professional services which shall be provided by Saulëtekis School of Entrepreneurship, Technology Transfer Center, and public and private partners. Issues related to technology transfer, intellectual property management, risk capital sponsorship, establishment and development of consulting companies and applied research result commercialization are the most relevant.
Public Enterprise the „Saulëtekis Valley“ is one of the initiators and developers of integrated science, studies and business center – the „Saulëtekis“ Technology Valley. The enterprise is responsible for development of services related to business support infrastructure (science and technology park, business incubator, technology demonstration and testing center, etc.), as well as entrepreneurship and innovation promotion. Following the Valley development program approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania, dated 24 November 2008, it is planned to develop laser and light technologies; materials science and nanotechnologies; semiconductor physics, electronics and civil engineering. To this end, in the Valley there will be established a National Center of Physical and Technology Sciences, the Science and Technology Park shall be developed further. A company „Teltonika“, involved in creation of telecommunications solutions, has established there special laboratories for experimental works, where it arranges training for scientists and students, creates conditions for experimental activities and takes part in preparation of new employees and improvement of new products. This is an excellent example of successful cooperation between business and academic community based on the use of knowledge accumulated by each party,“ Andrius Bagdonas, the director of public enterprise the „Saulëtekis Valley“ says.
According to him, the main advantages, offered by the „Saulëtekis Valley“ for Lithuanian and foreign companies include convenient location, qualified labour force and wide range of constantly developing services provided for business.
„Foreign companies are looking for the right country and city to run business to be situated close to the main markets of the Eastern Europe region, such as Russian, Byelorussian and markets of the Baltic States. We have the opportunity for development depending on the pace of the valley growth. Some years ago we were noticed by the IT market leaders, such as „Oracle“, „Siemens“, IBM. At that time we had no any acceptable proposals for them, nowadays – we do have them. However, slowdown of the world economics makes them consider the development plans more carefully. Although tax privileges and price are not the most important factors for strong foreign investors, however, Lithuania can attract international capital based on favourable financial system. I think that after some years of intense work it would be possible to attract foreign investors as well,“ A. Bagdonas states optimistically.
The „Saulëtekis Valley“ already now is distinguished by almost the biggest concentration of science and studies in the Baltic States (app. 20 thousand students, scientists, researchers) which will become even more impressing, when the most faculties and scientific research institutes of the Vilnius University and the Vilnius Gediminas Technical University which currently are distributed in different locations of Vilnius will be relocated.
The “Santara Valley“ – the ICT sector‘s core, IT professionals and business services
In Vilnius, Visoriai-Santariskes area there is being constructed the „Santara Valley“, where the Visoriai Information Technologies Park (VITP) will be further developed and become one of the main attraction centers for IT business. Today in Visoriai there operate 10 IT companies and organizations employing app. 700 information technology specialists (including more than 200 researchers and PhD students of the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics) – the highest number comparing with other high technology representatives working in Visoriai. 20% of IT services developed are being exported to EU countries and USA. Nearby, in Baltupiai the Institute of Mathematics and Informatics of the Vilnius University concentrates IT related studies.
Planning further development and preparing its study of possibilities, 700 ICT business entities were interrogated. 69 companies were interested in becoming park members and intended to fully or partly relocate their activities to Visoriai. The area of 60 thousand m2 will be required for the core of ICT companies.
„We can offer for foreign ICT companies a developed infrastructure, investment possibilities and sufficient concentration of competencies in Visoriai. Lithuania can‘t offer as many ICT specialists as for example India, so we have to think about work culture and speed, fast transition of a business idea to products and services, environment promoting creative attitude, innovative IT application in other economic branches and social sector. One should remember support from EU structural funds for research and experimental development executed by business. It makes Lithuanian business activities more attractive for foreign partners,“ Saulius Arelis, the director for VITP development, stresses out.
The VITP research centre is planned to be created with participation of the only company in Baltic States involved in production of CDs and DVDs – „Baltic Optical Disc“ (BOD). In the research center BOD in cooperation with scientists shall be improving „Blu-ray“ and other format information carriers trying to become a patented producer of these discs.
„I think that Visoriai is a suitable place for such kind research center. We shall be together with the main ICT technology companies and the strongest scientists of Lithuania. Working in cooperation, we shall be improving the disc production technologies. We hope to be successful to completely use the opportunities provided by the IT park,“ the leader of „BOD Group“ Vidmantas Janulevičius says.
One of the VITP incorporators is the scientific periodicals publishing company VTEX that exports the most of its products. „VITP provides wide working opportunities for the ICT companies to be established. Based on sufficient investments, Lithuanian scientists shall be able to create ICT innovations in a fast and high quality way,“ the VTEX president Rimas Maliukevičius states. VTEX partners in implementation of IT projects are German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Jacobs University Bremen, Cambridge University, The University of Bath, Unilever, European Patent Office, the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (USA), American Association of Statistics.
VITP development 2009 to 2013 shall cover equipment of ICT business incubator and technology center (app. 10,600 sq m; 200 workplaces for companies being established and 500 workplaces for technological companies already anchored in the market), as well as public research, trial production and training center for ICT core business being established (app. 7000 sq m).
2012 to 2013 the third stage of the VITP development shall start within plots of land of 6,1 and 0,8 ha: the area of premises equipped for further business development shall be 40 000 m2. The main objectives of the ICT core development in Visoriai shall be related to attraction of new companies involved in expansion of new activity trends and contribute to technological renovation of products and services produced by the core and creation of new products. It is also tried to create conditions for development of the core members and create favourable conditions for foreign technological companies to join the core.
The „Santaka Valley“ is a center of applied scientific researches and innovations.
The Kaunas University of Technology in cooperation with the Kaunas University of Medicine and the Lithuanian Energy Institute are establishing an integrated center of science, studies and business – the „Santaka Valley“ (hereinafter referred to as the Valley), seeking to concentrate the potential of scientific researches, studies and knowledge-receptive business at one place, to establish a public infrastructure and to purposefully perform work related to scientific researches and experimental development topical for Lithuanian economy (SR&ED) in the following trends:
The Valley establishment initiative joins the strongest Lithuanian business entity groups: Concern Achema Group UAB, AB „Kauno tiltai“ (AB „Tiltra Group“), UAB „MG Baltic Investment“. After development of the Valley activities there is foreseen close cooperation with other interested economic entities. Currently the following large Lithuanian manufacturers are interested in the activities of the Valley: AB „Sanitas“, UAB „Putokđnis“, AB „Klaipëdos kartonas“, UAB „Arvi ir ko“, UAB „Biotechpharma“, etc.
It is planned to establish the „Santaka Valley“ in the territory surrounded by the Kaunas University of Technology, the Kaunas University of Medicine and the Lithuanian Energy Institute with their rich experience in science and studies. These science and studies institutions develop the trends of activities which are in compliance with country development priorities oriented towards expansion of the current potential for high technology manufacturing. The resources of institutions participating in the Valley establishment for science and studies related to Valley development trends are satisfactory for assurance of proper development of the Valley expansion trends, satisfaction of the need for harmonious society development and creation of added value.
The integrated science, studies and business center being established – the „Santaka Valley“ – shall be the biggest center of applied researches and innovations in Lithuania.
In the Valley there will be developed an infrastructure required for transfer of technologies, spin off, development of closer science and business relations, establishment of MTEP divisions of business enterprises, development of industry‘s abilities to apply scientific knowledge and technologies.
It is expected that after implementation of the foreseen activities there will be formed favourable assumptions in compliance with the vision of the „Santaka Valley“ – to concentrate intellectual, administrative and financial potential of Lithuania and to establish the biggest park of applied scientific researches and innovations in Lithuania.
„Technopolis“ – a technologies centre in Central Lithuania
In the Science and Technology Park (MTP) „Technopolis“ which is a partner of the Kaunas „Santaka Valley“ there are currently established nine technological companies working in the fields of IT („Microsoft“ Innovation Center, UAB „Agmis“, UAB „Internet Studio“, etc.), mechatronics (UAB „Aksonas“), renewable energy sources (UAB „Santaviltë“) and other. The first building of „Technopolis“ was opened at the end of 2008, in one year it is planned to start the construction of the second building, where a significantly bigger number of innovative companies will be able to develop their activities.
The second in size Lithuanian city, Kaunas, from ancient times is famous for highly qualified scientists and specialists in the area of technological and engineering qualification graduated from the Kaunas Technological University (KTU), the largest this kind university in the Baltic States.
The main MTP advantages to be as follows: excellent geographic location (close to the Baltic transport artery, VIA Baltica), the airport of Karmëlava and spacious area of 15 ha for development. Also, academic community of the Kaunas Technological University mentioned is actively participating in the ICT and other technologies research.
„The best universities of Europe are snapping up the KTU students, therefore, we hope that expansion of „Technopolis“ and „Santaka Valley” and companies established and to be established in future allow the best brains stay and successfully work in Lithuania,“ the director of „Technopolis“ Eugenijus Mačikënas says with hope. - We shall try to create the most favourable conditions to work in a dynamic IT environment for all the companies and investors; we shall also participate in various projects. We invite you to create the future together with us.“
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