The successfully completed EUR 8.4 million Innovation Serbia Project (ISP) was financed by the European Union through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA 2011) funds for Serbia. It was implemented by the Innovation Fund and administered by the World Bank in the period 2011-2016.
The objectives of the ISP included encouraging innovative entrepreneurship, addressing the missing elements of the Serbian innovation system likely to be vital for improving the competitiveness of the enterprise sector and Serbia’s long-term growth prospects, boosting awareness regarding technological development and innovation in the economy, and facilitating capacity building of the Innovation Fund to stimulate enterprise innovation.
Under the Project, the Innovation Fund developed and implemented two financial instruments – Mini Grants Program and Matching Grants Program – for stimulating research and development (R&D) in small private-sector enterprises, startups and spinoffs. The Project also provided technical assistance to selected research and development institutes (RDIs). This component was implemented by the World Bank.
Through the Innovation Serbia Project, the Innovation Fund has successfully supported 48 technology-intensive enterprises, from which 38 innovative start-ups, in the period 2012-2015 by providing financing for 52 R&D projects, thus sponsoring more than 300 high-end jobs and enabling engagement of around 90 highly qualified mainly domestic R&D advisors.
More than 30 national and 20 international patent applications have been filled and numerous international collaborations established by the ISP beneficiaries.
Four Calls for Proposals (CFP) were successfully conducted and EUR 6 million committed for financing 41 Mini Grants (approximately EUR 3 million) and 11 Matching Grant projects (approximately EUR 3 million).
The Project provided the impetus for a number of follow-on initiatives that will continue to support reform-oriented activities in the research sector, including the IPA 2013 Serbia Research, Innovation and Technology Transfer Project, and the World Bank Competitiveness and Jobs project.