The Innovation Fund has marked the launching of a new Program today, intended for researchers, as well as the announcement of a public call for the award of Innovation vouchers.

On this occasion, the attendees at the Science Technology Park of Belgrade were addressed by: Prof. Vladimir Popovic, PhD, State Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and Mr. Stephen Ndegwa, World Bank Country Manager for Serbia.

As of today, researchers who require support to prove that there is a new product, emerged from research and for which there is a need in the market, have at their disposal a new program of the Innovation Fund - the Proof of Concept. Through the Proof of Concept Program, researchers from scientific research organizations can receive mentoring and financial support in the amount of up to RSD 2,400,000 in order to determine the technical characteristics and market application of a new product, process, or technology they are trying to develop from their research. All interested researchers can submit their applications by November 18th, 2019 via the web portal of the Innovation Fund. Applications for projects in all fields of science and technology, including social sciences and humanities, as well as the arts, may be submitted by scientific and research organizations as well as anyone accredited for this activity, including private organizations. The total budget for providing this support is RSD 60,000,000.

The Innovation Fund has also announced today a public call for the award of Innovation vouchers. Innovation vouchers are intended for small and medium-sized enterprises so as to be able to use the services of scientific-research organizations in order to solve a technical or technological problem they encounter in their business operations. An enterprise can use a maximum of RSD 800,000 per innovation voucher, which covers up to 80% of the total cost of the service. The public call is open until the allocated funds have been spent, since they are being awarded in the order of the applications received, in the amount of RSD 60 million for this public call. Otherwise, from the 2017 to this date, the Innovation Fund has approved 330 innovation vouchers for 296 companies, in total of RSD 210,000,000.

The further development of the innovation support system in Serbia was discussed by Prof. Viktor Nedovic PhD, State Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, Dr. Ivan Rakonjac, Director of the Innovation Fund, Dr. Milica Djuric-Jovicic, Acting Director of the Science Fund and Mr. Nikola Nikacevic, Professor at the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, University of Belgrade and founder of the company "EON plus" in the panel "From Research Towards The Market". The discussion was moderated by Mr. Mladjan Stojanovic, Coordinator of the Technology Transfer Program at the Innovation Fund.

In accordance with the Loan Agreement between the Republic of Serbia and the World Bank, funds for this Programs were provided from the budget of the Republic of Serbia through the budget line of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, within the Competitiveness and Jobs Project, in total the amount of RSD 120,000,000.