One of Serbia’s first ‘open innovation’ projects is set to commence soon, offering scientific and research organizations a unique opportunity to participate. The initiative, named “PMInnovia,” has been launched by Philip Morris International (PMI) in collaboration with the National Alliance for Local Economic Development (NALED).
During the first half of 2024, scientists and innovators can apply to a public call to address a specific challenge. The most successful teams will receive financial support for further development and adaptation of their solutions to meet PMI’s needs.
This project not only provides additional funding for scientific research projects but also allows for practical application in the private sector. Participating teams will also benefit from mentorship by leading domestic and international experts from the private sector and academia.
The “PMInnovia” project was introduced to professionals in the presence of Jelena Begović, the Minister of Science, Technological Development, and Innovation.
Minister Begović emphasized the government’s commitment to fostering the synergy of science and industry. “Our aim is to make Serbia a center of excellence in science and innovation. PMInnovia contributes significantly to this goal, and we are grateful to PMI, which, in collaboration with the Serbian Government and NALED, has been supporting local innovators and startups for years. Now, they continue to invest in our researchers and scientists, helping their ideas reach the market,” she stated.
Since 2021, PMI has supported nearly 60 startups and innovative projects in Serbia with $2 million in grants, part of a $5 million project called Startech, aimed at developing the domestic innovation ecosystem.
“PMInnovia is an extension of this project, focusing on bridging the gap between science and industry and commercializing Serbian innovations for the global market,” said Luka Rossi, PMI’s Vice President of Product Development and Technology.
He further added, “Philip Morris International recognizes the value of external scientific innovations in finding sustainable solutions that fit into the development of new products. We chose Serbia for PMInnovia because of its energy, expertise, and capacity for modern scientific innovation.”
NALED reminds that, according to Serbia’s 2030 Industrial Policy Strategy, there is a lack of collaboration between state scientific research organizations and the private sector. Scientific-industrial cooperation in Serbia is sporadic and often based on personal contacts and initiatives. Survey findings indicate that only 3.5% of companies have developed an innovation in partnership with universities and scientific organizations.
PMInnovia aims to reverse this trend, encouraging the concept of open innovation in Serbia.