Slovak Organization for Research and Development Activities had successful engaged in the call for proposal Nr. OPVaV-2010/2.2./06-SORO and OPVaV-2010/4.2./06-SORO that were aimed at support of Centres of Competence for operational program Research and Development and State Aid Scheme.
A first-rate goal of every submitted project /that was prepared by SOVVA/ is to create an integrated Centre of Competence that connects business and academic sector. SOVVA used the best international patterns as a base of Centre of competence running.
In European Union, Centres of competence are a tool of support of collaborative applied research. The project applicant of the CoC is an academic institution and among partners there are business enterprises.
Concept of CoC consists of following partial goals:
- to support and improve long-term strategic cooperation between academic sector and business sector
- to stimulate competitiveness and applied industrial researc
- to support more efficient exchange of knowledge and technology transfer
- to create a sufficient quantity of excellent scientific outputs
- to introduce well-proven and effective management procedures in the field of research and education
Having used the best foreign practice, centres of competence with SOVVA participation are set in the following way:
- Centres of competence are established on strategic long-time research programmes that are based on mutual cooperation between academic and business sector,
- A selection of Centres of competence should be based on strict criteria and an emphasis should be put on science and management of the centre. The definitely decision of adjudication should be emerged on the basis of an international scientific board recommendation.
- Centres of competence have a strong scientific basis with a united vision,
- The existence of Centre of competence has to be long enough to reach concrete research results - it supposes regular financing from public sources in a time period 5 – 10 years at least,
- Academic institutions should offer simple, but effective support structure regarding IP, globalization, contractual forms etc.
In the frame of effective running of Centre of competence, the following principles were reflected:
- to ensure a close level of cooperation among all the partner institutions (using this way, it will be obtained an international credit of centre as a whole – not only individual research teams or single researchers),
- to build on excellent research outputs,
- a base part of research should be done by PhD students and young researchers,
- R&D activities should be shaped by market demands a perspective research results,
- to respect a principle of centre openness (integration of partner institutions should be adapted to actual demands and research plans),
- to integrate to international initiatives,
- to ensure a flexibility of adding new partners – in a dependence on research and commercialization demands,
- to create a management authorities of the centre and if necessary - to modified them during the project implementation,
- to ensure an periodical evaluation of the centre (by using an international commission) and to correct the other activities according to recommendations,
- to do an periodical revision of research plan and if necessary - to modified it,
- to create conditions for education in the frame of Centre of competence (diploma or PhD theses),
- to cooperate with research institutions and enterprises and to search for this cooperation,
- to establish spin-off companies on the basis of cooperation results and to create new products,
- to integrate maximum of workers/researchers of industrial partner into the research activities and in such a way - to ensure the research activities being aimed at demands of industry and market,
The centre of competence building is the first step to establish larger research infrastructures in the way the following scheme describes:
Scientific management of centre of competence and long-time goal – scientific-technological park
The foreign experience declare that although a centre of competence is based on qualitative fundamentals of excellent research and development at an international level, its building takes at least 10 years to build. If the centre was to grow into scientific – technological park, it will take 10 – 20 years, which is sufficient time to build all the necessary functions of the scientific park during this time period.
Therefore, the projects prepared by SOVVA are designed in a way to respect the project sustainability and the projects respect the above mentioned principles also.
The aim of SOVVA was:
All the projects of CoC prepared by SOVVA would become as an effective platform for an effective cooperation between academic sector (represented by excellent scientific groups) and business sector. Therefore, the principles of the all centres of competence prepared by SOVVA are the following:
- It means that there will be a principle of affiliated membership in the centre – for academic and industrial subjects that are not a part of project consortium. The aim is that the activities of the centre will exceed the previous consortium and based on the foreign practise - a cooperation of greater extent will be running between academic and business partners.
- In order to running the centre long-time, the research and development has to have a quality required by industry and by international scientific-technological cooperation. At first, the individual themes were defined and working packages were defined within the themes. Their definition reflected possibility of the centre to realize an excellent quality of R&D. This principle will be held by all the (and possibly new) themes that will be solved by the centre. The centre will focus on those activities and themes for which it has suitable human resources, established infrastructure and experience in international projects.
- The centre of competence is interested in solving research projects that are rather dynamic and that change over time. Therefore, in order to ensure centre´s sustainability, it should not follow exclusively those research themes defined at the start of project. The centre will be managed by using a principle of flexibility. It means that the demands of industry and trends in the world will be accepted and the research topics will be adapted to these factors. Having implemented these requirements, the centre will be solving themes that are interested for practice. In order to ensure a high level of this activity, it is necessary to use exact methods of technology foresight. These methods will be applied during the project implementation.
- International cooperation and multiregionality
- The centre has strong multiregional impact. In several cases, the industrial partners are multinational companies that are active in the field of R&D in the frame of European space. They are active in European technological platforms and creating Centres of competence have an ambition to join the European technological platforms. For example, The European technological platform for the electricity networks of the future (www.smartgrids.eu) – Enel, EON, Siemens are members within this platform and these companies are partners within one project of the Centre of competence also.
The above mentioned principles ensure that Centre of competence is a long-term initiative and the sustainability of the centre is a priority of all the project partners.
The potential of Centre of competence is to contribute to regional development, to education, to preparation of young researchers or high-tech experts, to increase of Slovak science credit and Slovak republic in the frame of different partnerships and to higher level of participation in R&D activities.