EU STRUCTURAL FUND INVESTMENT IN R&D AND ITS INFLUENCE ON INNOVATION DEVELOPMENT – THE CASE OF UNIVERSITY OF LATVIA

Lauma Muižniece, Līga Peiseniece

Abstract


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of the support of European Union (EU) structural funds (SF) investment in research and development (R&D) on innovation development in a research institution in Latvia. The current programming period 2007-2013 of EU SF is soon ending and this kind of study is needed to plan strategies for the upcoming period. University of Latvia (LU) was chosen for the study due to several factors, one of them being the large amount of implemented EU SF projects that are related to R&D.

The following tasks were addressed:

1) To characterize the existing innovation and R&D environment, including available funding options in Latvia;

2) To analyze the changes in the LU research capacity including several innovation indicators in period of 2000 - 2010;

3) To analyze and evaluate the sources and amount of R&D funding in LU;

4) To evaluate the changes in innovation indicators since 2004, after the EU SF investment was made available.

The following methods were used to carry out the tasks:

1) Study of periodical publications and legislation;

2) Interviews of both research and administrative personnel – 8 interviews were held by the authors;

3) Analysis and evaluation of statistical data.

EU SF is the most important source of R&D funding at LU. The availability of EU SF has established an innovation-friendly environment, most essentially, it has provided necessary infrastructure, financial support for fundamental and applied research and extra work places for researchers. However, EU SF investment has not yet promoted an increase in the number of patent applications, licensing and developed proposals for the commercial use of inventions. These indicators are low due to conditions of EU SF project implementation and to an insufficient demand from the private sector for the inventions made by researchers at LU.

Upcoming project applications should be evaluated, first of all, according to their capacity of innovation development. Cooperation with the private sector should be strengthened to promote increase in innovation output indicators on the basis of discoveries and inventions made by researchers at LU and to increase the proportion of other sources of funding for R&D and innovation.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5755/j01.eis.0.6.1478


Keywords


Innovation; Research and Development; EU Structural Funds; University of Latvia; Innovation Indicators

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Print ISSN: 1822-8402
Online ISSN: 2335-8831