International experts are discussing how to improve the state of innovation in Estonia

An international innovation conference in Tallinn is bringing together almost 200 experts today. The conference will focus on promoting innovation in Estonia, ways for creating an environment that supports innovation, and analysing Estonia’s opportunities for improving the effectiveness of the innovation policy.

The main focus of the conference is on how to create an environment that supports innovation for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies, and on the experiences of technology transfer in different countries. The Head of the Foresight Centre Tea Danilov said that a number of programmes and activities have been set up in Estonia to support innovation, and that now is the time to discuss whether something needs to be done differently. “In order to glean more benefits from research and development both from the point of view of Estonia’s exports and our GDP, we need two sides – the demand in businesses for R&D, and an appropriate motivation system in the universities that would increase the value of working on solving the technological problems in Estonian businesses,” Danilov explained.

The initiator of the conference, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian parliament Anne Sulling explained that Estonia’s innovation system has not been particularly effective in bringing new knowledge-based and high-tech products or services on the market. She said that Estonia ranks the last among the OECD countries in bringing new innovative products on the market. “This is not a position that we could ever be happy with. This is why the purpose of the conference is to discuss how the innovation policy can be made more efficient, what are the preconditions for creating innovation, what support structures are needed for this, how to convert R&D into an economic asset, and what is the role of the government in all this,” Sulling said.

Renowned international experts are sharing their experiences and practical advice at the innovation conference today. The speakers include representatives of the International Monetary Fund Fuad Hasanov and Reda Cherif, the Executive Director of Corporate Strategy at the Stanford Research Institute Dennis Tsu, and Consultant in Innovation and Entrepreneurship with a background in the US National Science Foundation Rathindra DasGupta. Also sharing their experiences are the manager of the Brainport International Programme in the Netherlands Naomie Verstraeten and the Head of the Estonian Parliament’s Foresight Centre Tea Danilov.

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