Approximately 1.3 billion Estonian kroons from the European Regional Development Fund, EE (Enterprise Estonia), and Estonian enterprises will be invested into eight competence centres this year and over the next couple of years, resulting in new innovative products and services and an increase in the capabilities of researchers, stems and universities.
“The programme of competence centres which has been funded from the European Regional Development Fund is a EE programme which could best be described as one of the most ambitious, and one which is aimed at enterprises and researchers, offering them a huge future potential,” relates Mr Ilmar Pralla, the director for the Innovation Division of EE.
Competence centres (or CCs) have a great role to play in influencing the competitiveness of Estonian enterprises. Research that is required by Estonian enterprises for product development purposes is the main function of research institutions which have been established as the result of co-operation between enterprises and institutions of higher education.
Eight competence centres which are to be allocated more than 900 million Estonian kroons from the assets of the European Regional Development Fund were short-listed at the beginning of May from a total of fourteen applicants. The maximum amount to be allocated to each development centre is 120 million Estonian kroons. Enterprises which team up with the development centres will invest an additional 400 million Estonian kroons into these research institutions.
The main fields of three-field, four-field, and one-field short-listed enterprises are IT and electronics, bio-technology (food products and medicine), and materials, respectively. Estonia has strong enterprise and research bases in these fields.
Two types of enterprise have mainly been responsible for joining the competence centres, these being large-scale production enterprises or providers of services which are capable of selling products or services which themselves emerge as the result of research work, and smaller enterprises which offer them development work. “Such combinations work very well; several smaller development companies have also concentrated around Nokia, having brought success to Finland with this synergetic model,” Mr Pralla explains.
Eight of founders and partners of CCs are well-known enterprises which include the North Estonia Medical Centre, Leibur, Valio, Võru Cheese Factory, Estiko Plastar, Andrese Klaas, Evikon MCI, Webmedia, Regio, Skype, Swedbank, Delfi, East Tallinn Medical Centre, Dairy Co-operative E-Piim, the Animal Breeders Association of Estonia, etc.
Five of the competence centres have been ..... Read more