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  • Periodic Report Summary 2 - POLINNOVA (Strengthening the research capacity and innovation potential of the Institute of Polymers at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for further intergration into the ERA)
FP7

POLINNOVA Streszczenie raportu

Project ID: 316086
Źródło dofinansowania: FP7-REGPOT
Kraj: Bulgaria

Periodic Report Summary 2 - POLINNOVA (Strengthening the research capacity and innovation potential of the Institute of Polymers at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for further intergration into the ERA)

Project Context and Objectives:
Innovations and technology progress are the main drivers of the economy in overcoming the societal challenges. Chemistry and polymer science as its integral part, has been always offering solutions to meet the new occurring needs. Many of these solutions are related to novel functional materials. Polymers being an extremely large class of materials are used for energy storage materials, in electronics, communication and transportation, in medicine, pharmacy, agriculture, food industry, etc. Nanotechnology in combination with polymer materials engineering is expected to give new impetus for an innovative materials design and expanded applications and thus to contribute to economic growth and wellbeing.
The Institute of Polymers, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (IP-BAS) is an autonomous research unit and has been the leading center of polymer research in Bulgaria. Being coherent with the vanguard trends in polymer science and technology its research policy has always been oriented to meet the requirements set by society needs. The Institute having developed a world-class level of expertise in polymer synthesis has become a Centre of Excellence for new polymer materials for medicine and pharmacy. IP-BAS has been putting much effort to keep itself well integrated in the national, regional, and European research communities. The research policy of the Institute is also coherent with the key objectives for sustainable development of Bulgaria as an EU member state formulated in a number policy documents. IP-BAS achievements as well as its development objectives clearly match the goals of the work program and the call FP7-REGPOT-2012-2013-1.
The main goal of the POLINNOVA project is: to strengthen IP-BAS research and innovation potential in the field of advanced polymer materials and to build its capacity of a regional leader participating successfully in activities at European Union level.
The key concept of the project is to implement the Action Plan derived from a complete SWOT analysis. The Action Plan is being realized by mobilizing the entire IP-BAS human and material resources in close cooperation and networking with the eight twinning organizations. The specific objectives of the project to be achieved by implementation of the Action Plan are to:
- strengthen the research capacity and to develop the innovation potential of IP-BAS through building strategic partnerships with leading European research organizations - exchange of know-how and experience with them.
- increase the human potential by attracting, recruiting and retaining the experienced researchers and technicians
- upgrade and extend the S&T equipment to ensure a scientific infrastructure for world class research and innovation
- unlock the Institute’s innovation potential through a plan for innovation capacity building and measures for increasing the Intellectual Property awareness of the staff;
- stimulate the partnership with targeted industries, including SME, and comprehensive dialogue with policy makers to identifying the specific societal demands
- promote IP-BAS participation in research and innovation activities at EU level;
- increase the visibility of IP-BAS excellence through dissemination and networking at national, regional and European level
The activities undertaken within the Action Plan include: (i) transnational twoway secondments between IP-BAS and 6 more experienced and outstanding research partnering organizations, (ii) recruitment of experienced scientists and technicians, as well as of an Intellectual Property and innovation managers, (iii) upgrading of the available and acquisition of new equipment in the context of the research objectives of the Institute, (iv) training in Intellectual Property rights and innovation capacity development, (v) organization of scientific forums and other promotional activities. The specific objectives also involve evaluation of IP-BAS overall research performance and innovation potential.

Project Results:
The results achieved are summarised below.
Long-term secondments to the partnering organizations were realized by 13 researchers from Institute of Polymers (IP-BAS). The short-term visits were 24 by the IP-BAS staff and 13 by the twinning organizations. Twinning activities covered in total 26.5 months and ensured exchange of knowledge and expertise in the field of polymer materials and their applications, discussions on the ongoing topics and their augmentation, delivering of lectures, planning joint project applications. The twinning resulted into 3 new research topics, 10 joint papers and 10 conference presentations and two joint proposal initiatives to HORIZON 2020 programme.
The recruited in the first period 7 experienced researchers and 2 experienced technicians have been working at IP-BAS to increase the human potential and to contribute to reinforcement of S&T competitiveness of the staff and upgrading its RTD capability and IPI potential. Corrective actions to fully use the non-utilized person-months were taken and 2 more experienced researchers were appointed.
The existing equipment at IP-BAS was upgraded with (i) a combined GPC/MALLS apparatus for determination of molecular weight characteristics of polymers and polymer materials purchased in the first period; (ii) a mass spectrometer connected through a GC module to the available TGA instrument for determining materials structure, decomposition or oxidation products or impurities under heating; (iii) a DMTA instrument to obtain materials modulus information under sample deformation. IP-BAS researchers received adequate training on the operation of the new equipment.
The knowledge and culture of IP-BAS staff on IPR issues as a key factor in the innovation performance have been increased through participation in training events organized by the European Patent Academy, World Intellectual Property Organization and the Patent Office of the Republic of Bulgaria, as well as by lectures on the technology transfer. The workshop “Bulgaria 2020 Innovation Strategy – Challenges for Academia and Industry“ (7 November 2014, Sofia) was a genuine forum for exchanging ideas, networking and facilitating the dialogue between state and local authorities, universities, business. A strategic plan for innovation capacity building was elaborated including Research Priority Areas of IP-BAS; Rules for protection and management of the Intellectual Property and Strategy for increasing the innovation potential of the Institute of Polymers. The innovation activities have marked a notable increase – 3 patents and utility model applications were filed.
The international conference “Challenges in Science and Technology of Polymer Materials” and two poster sessions “Young scientists in the world of polymers” were organized by IP-BAS. The conference was attended by scientists from 18 countries from Europe, USA and Asia. Benefiting from POLINNOVA, 32 scientists from IP-BAS made 108 presentations at 43 international and 3 Bulgarian scientific forums. The number of publications and conference contributions increased in the second project period. The general public and business community have been addressed by issue and dissemination of the annual IP-BAS booklets, organization of Open days, media interviews, meetings with Bulgarian companies, etc.
The management of the project was conducted according to the established principles and procedures for efficient organization of the activities and dealing with the finance. It resulted in the fact that everybody from IP-BAS, in particular young scientists, have been contributing to the realization of the project. The Management Group held regular meetings to steer the implementation of the project and took necessary measures for keeping the schedule. The POLINNOVA Advisory Board supported the decision making process in key issues of project implementation. The progress of the project has been revealed to the public by its duly updated website.

Potential Impact:
The implementation of the project and the results obtained so far is convincing that the expected impacts as described in the proposal are achievable. The effects are considered in different directions:
Upgraded RTD capacity and quality of research carried out by the IP-BAS staff
The recruited highly experienced researchers have contributed much to enhancing RTD potential and achieving the strategic research and innovation objectives of IP-BAS. The increased human potential, broadened research scopes and competence have put the research quality of IP-BAS at a higher level. The recruitment of four Bulgarians - two experienced researchers and two experienced technicians - who used opportunities to apply for the opened positions within the project contributed to obtain ‘brain gain’ effect and encourage young specialists to plan their career at home.
The secondment program and exchange visits with the partnering organizations contribute to the development and widening of research expertise and gaining new experience. The knowledge exchange and transfer resulted in initiation of new research lines and plans for joint project applications. The upgraded and acquired advanced scientific equipment has become a prerequisite platform for frontier investigations and increased competiveness of the research results.
Improved research capacity for effective contribution to regional economic and social development
The modernized IP-BAS scientific infrastructure, its efficient exploitation and adequate visibility policy, and activities promote intensive co-operation with related academia and industries. With regard to the key role of polymer materials for driving technology progress in many sectors such as pharmacy and medicine, electronics, energy storage, environment protection, etc., the improved research capacity of IP-BAS will contribute to the national and regional economic growth. The increased IP-BAS research potential will have impact on the better quality of life viewing the wide applications of polymers and polymer materials in everyday life.
Improvement of the Institute’s innovation potential
The organized training courses on the intellectual property rights raised the awareness on the exploitation and protection of the research results and boosted the innovation activities. The recruitment of an IPI manager and patent specialist has been an important step towards enhancing of the innovation activities at the Institute.
The developed strategic plan for innovation capacity building including Research Priority Areas of IP-BAS; Rules for protection and management of the Intellectual Property and Strategy for increasing the innovation potential of the IP-BAS will expand the possibilities for commercialization of the research products, services, and technologies and will widen the circle of potential users of our innovations. It has already yielded notable increase of the innovation activities at IP-BAS.
The Institute received encouragement and complete support from the twinning organizations for its endeavors to reinforce the research excellence and innovation performance. The collaboration with our outstanding partners turned to be very fruitful in terms of mutual research activities and complementary knowledge, expertise, and experience of the researchers. The intensive networking and exchange of know-how and expertise open prospects for achieving cutting edge scientific results and better integration of IP-BAS in the European Research Area.

List of Websites:
polinnova.polymer.bas.bg

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Neli KOSEVA, (Director)
Tel.: +359 2 979 6630
Faks: +359 2 870 03 09
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Numer rekordu: 182548 / Ostatnia aktualizacja: 2016-05-19
Źródło informacji: SESAM