1. Final Report Summary - INCOMAT (Creating international cooperation teams of excellence in the field of emerging biomaterial surface research)
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Abstract: The field of medical biomaterials has recently developed a major growth potential as the demand for cardiovascular, orthopaedic as well as dental implant devices is tremendously increasing worldwide. The ageing of Europe's population will be a crucial challenge for the 21st century. Furthermore there are specific problems concerning Research technological development (RTD) resources and capabilities existing in the Third countries (Western Balkan, Newly Independent States) having been isolated and excluded from the cooperation with European Union (EU), their networking works rather on regional level. INCOMAT contributed to eliminate these deficiencies and create cooperation teams of excellence with experts from EU, third countries and the United States.
As a result of the project the regional analysis in the Third countries has shown some hidden knowledge in the field of biomaterial and health sector. The main results deal with the research sector, as almost all partners came from research institutes. The connections or collaboration with industry are rather low and underdeveloped.
The same result has been achieved in the regional workshops, made in Ukraine, Belarus, Croatia and Serbia / Montenegro: high interest of scientists, participants from industry.
All included regions such as Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Georgia, Croatia and Serbia have the same or similar structure: large research institutes with enormous knowledge, but no industry to use and implement this knowledge. Most research activities concerning biomaterials take place with clinics and hospitals, as clinical tests or trials only. The predominant medical device companies in above Third countries are subsidiaries of international groups or trade companies; both do not ask for or use local RTD capacities currently.
On the other hand the existing research institutes seem to be well-financed by public means; the necessity to acquire collaborative research contracts with the regional or national industry is not strong enough until now. This situation is not comparable with Europe, where research projects without industrial participation are inconceivable. There is a huge potential for the future to establish more medical companies in above regions. And it will be sure, that public means for research decrease in the next years. This will increase the pressure on institutes to collaborate more with the local industry.