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OECD Presents Report on Slovenia's Innovation System

Ljubljana, 11 July (STA) - Economic Development and Technology Minister Radovan Žerjav stressed that the government will try to better exploit Slovenia's potential for innovation, as an OECD report on the country's innovation system was presented in Ljubljana on Wednesday.

Gernot Hutschenreiter of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) told the press that the report showed Slovenia as having a number of advantages as well as weaknesses in innovation.

However, the country has great potential for further development of innovation stemming from successful social and economic development in the past, he noted, adding that Slovenia was innovation leader among the East European countries.

Slovenia however suffers from lagging behind in GDP per capita and unbalanced results in innovation, Hutschenreiter explained, pointing to the low number of registered patents and export of high-tech products.

He also pointed to the unwillingness of universities and public research organisations to change and their diverging views about science and research.

OECD drafted a list of recommendations for improving Slovenia's performance in innovation, urging the country to restore and maintain sound macroeconomic conditions, foster vigorous competition and continue the efforts to cut red tape for companies.

The country should also "address aspects of financial system and related regulations that could constrain financing of innovative projects in the business sector", as well as other aspects that restrain SMEs'capabilities to step up innovation activities.

Apart from that, the OECD urges Slovenia to "examine and address aspects of the business environment which could hold back foreign direct investment".

The report moreover shows that Slovenian education system is an advantage of the innovation system, which is why the OECD recommends that Slovenia takes measures to increase the number of researchers and facilitates the moving of personnel between universities, public research organisations and companies.

Slovenia should also improve the governance of the innovation system, which includes giving a clear role to the new advisory council on innovation and research, continuing research and innovation strategy and streamlining the roster and agendas of agencies engaged in innovation system.

According to the OECD, the government should use the EU structural funds to foster critical mass, excellence and the importance of public research, while Slovenia should seize opportunities for cooperation in Central Europe, the Western Balkans and review the "broader enabling environment for foreign direct investment".

Žerjav meanwhile noted that the government was devoting its effort to encourage economic growth, adding that it was aware that innovation policies were a very important part of such measures.

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