AmCham Macedonia Summer 2013 (issue 38) - Page 23

ANALYSIS Macedonia’s Innovation Policy for a New Era Authors: Bratislav Stankovic, Science & Technology Advisor to the President of Macedonia and Vice-Rector at the University for Information Science & Technology in Ohrid; and and spin-offs), to help with commercialization of innovation, technology transfer, and general technical assistance. The Law further promotes the establishment of new entities for rendering infrastructural support to innovation activity, such as business and technology incubators, accelerators, science & technology parks, and technology transfer centers. Public universities will be required to establish technology transfer offices, which will help commercialize the fruits of university research. These measures should help raise public awareness of intellectual property rights and invigorate the entrepreneurial spirit of university professors and researchers in the public sector. Mirjana Stankovic, Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Macedonia For the first time in Macedonia, a law resembling the U.S. Bayh-Dole Act (Pub. L. 96-517, December 12, 1980) will regulate the ownership of intellectual property created with public funds (e.g., in State universities, public research institutes, and NGOs). The Law on Innovation Activity is likely to be adopted this month and will broadly regulate inventions and innovation activities related to State funding and institutions. It will also provide a legal framework for the establishment of an “Innovation and Technological Development Fund” administered by the Ministry of Education and Science. Specifically, the Law will provide: • A definition of and regulations for “innovation activities”; • Regulation of measures designed to foster research and development (R&D), application and commercialization of research activities, establishment and cultivation of university start-ups and spin-offs, including incentives to stimulate these activities; and • Formalization of the Government’s Entrepreneurship and Innovations Committee, an interinstitutional coordinative body which has existed for more than a year and will now monitor projects fostered by the State’s Innovation and Technological Development Fund. The Prime Minister presides over this committee. The Innovations and Technological Development Fund will sponsor the preparation, execution and development of programs foreseen by the innovation policy (including public-private partnerships). Co-financed grants and loans should also be offered to newly established innovative companies (start-ups Emerging Macedonia Summer 2013 Issue 38 Low Government and private sector funding for R&D has been a great weakness in Macedonia. Budgetary constraints and weak institutional capacity remain major impediments to developments in this area. Hopefully, the new Law will help remedy this deficiency and provide an enabling environment to grow the country’s economy from within as successfully as it has been in attracting foreign investors. Being fairly ambitious, the Law is complex and is likely to undergo changes over time; however, it is a good step in the right direction. 23