On May 28, at the initiative of President Gitanas Nausėdos a high-level video conference was held “Strengthening Lithuanian science and innovation policies for the implementation of Horizon Europe”. The event discussed the EU and Lithuanian science and innovation policies, the experience of Lithuanian science and business participation in the EU programs, as well as recommendations based on the insights of Lithuanian experts for possible policy decisions to change the current science and innovation policy.
In his opening address, the President emphasized that Lithuania‘s science and innovation policy needed a breakthrough. “Business as usual” is no longer relevant. Year after year, various international innovation scoreboards display the same indicators. The Commission keeps on issuing the same recommendations to Lithuania on the need for change in this area”, said the President.
The President highlighted that the newly launched political cycle in the European Union, the EU strategic agenda, negotiations on the MFF as well as fight against COVID-19 and its consequences provided us with an excellent opportunity in Lithuania to reassess our priorities, streamline our efforts and make the necessary political decisions.
Following the good practice of other countries and seeking consistency in the development of research and innovation policies, better coordination, stronger links between policy makers and policy implementers, the President proposed to consider the appointment of the State Chief Officer for Research and Innovation and to create a network of representatives responsible for research and innovation across state institutions, and to redesign the structure of science and innovation policy implementing agencies in order to consolidate their activities following the recommendations of the European Commission.
“We have to be ambitious and find niches for Lithuania: to be the first to come up with new business models, products and services and also to create a legal environment for their development. Innovation and creativity, tolerance to failure and readiness to manage risks should become part of daily life for each and every politician, civil servant, businessman, and scientist”, the President said.
“Lithuania boasts of development of life sciences and information technologies, we are rated fourth on the Global Fintech Index (following the USA, Singapore and the UK) as well as its leading position in scientific lasers, cyber security and green energy. By further focusing on these sectors, we will not only get back on the path to sustainable growth faster, but also gain a competitive advantage over other countries”, said the President after the conference.
“I am confident that this discussion and the package of recommendations will serve as a sound basis for future engagement. Our politicians, civil servants, business and science communities could make the necessary decisions in order to achieve a breakthrough in research and innovation policies and speed up the transformation of the Lithuanian economy”, said the President.
The conference focusing on the promotion of the Lithuanian innovation market is a follow-up event aimed at strengthening Lithuanian science and innovation policy. In October 2019, the President initiated a debate with representatives of science and business, political scientists and public administration experts on science and innovation policy priorities, activities, improvement of decision-making in this field, as well as promotion of participation in the European Commission’s Horizon programme. On the basis of the comments and suggestions received, recommendations were made setting out the directions for political decisions in Lithuania. A video conference with Lithuanian and international experts is one more step towards the guidelines for the development of competitive Lithuanian science and innovation.
The high-level video conference was attended by the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel, Chief Scientific Officer of the United Kingdom Department of Foreign Affairs Professor Carole Mundell, Lithuanian political, scientific and business leaders: Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius, Chairman of the European Affairs Committee of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania Gediminas Kirkilas, Minister of Education and Science Dr. Algirdas Monkevičius, Minister of Finance Vilius Šapoka, Deputy Minister of Economy and Innovation Žygimantas Vaičiūnas, Head of the Lithuanian RDI Liaison Office in Brussels LINO Dr. Brigita Serafinavičiūtė, heads of the Research Council of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, the Lithuanian Innovation Center, Vilnius University, Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology, and business representatives.
In Lithuania, R&D spending is lower by almost 2.5 times than the EU average (0.84 percent of GDP in Lithuania compared to 2.04 percent of GDP in the EU). Lithuania’s budget expenditure stands at half the EU average, while the level of private investment is four times lower.