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High quality research network on nanosciences, material and energy research in Lithuania

Final Report Summary - NENNET (High Quality Research Network on Nanosciences, Material and Energy research in Lithuania)

The ultimate goal of the project NENNET was the development of a sustainable, application driven high-level research network bundling competences in materials sciences, nano-applications and self formation in Lithuania and contributing effectively to European Research Area (ERA) activities.

Lithuanian research was strong in the fields addressed by the proposed network. This had been confirmed by an evaluation of the Research Council of Norway. However, links between research and industry continued to be rather weak and there were continue to be potentials for a further integration of the Lithuanian research sector into the European research community.

The integration process into the European Union (EU) constituted a strong incentive for Lithuanian research centres to engage in networking activities both inside the countries and with European partners. Lithuanian Centres of Excellence understood that they play a key role in making Lithuania an attractive Research and development (R&D) location having its place in ERA.

Through the bundling of competences, the integration of industry and society, and the exchange with European partners, the network contributed to the development of a critical mass able to mobilise the resources needed for outstanding R&D and innovation-based growth in Lithuania. This ensured that Lithuania would become an attractive and highly-performing partner in ERA.

Reaching the 3 % Gross domestic product (GDP) goal was an ambitious task that, as one main precondition, required high public awareness concerning the role of R&D for competitiveness, growth and development. The proposed NENNET aimed at increasing this awareness through the initiation and moderation of a societal dialogue, for example within the framework of foresight studies or through a web-based communication platform. Policy makers and public actors were directly addressed by and involved into the activities of NENNET.

In order to reach its ambitious goals, the concept of NENNET was based upon four pillars:
(1) bundling and integration of scattered R&D activities in Lithuania;
(2) development of a cross-disciplinary and application-oriented R&D environment;
(3) increasing the application-orientation and the links to industry of Lithuanian research; and
(4) stimulating framework conditions conducive to reaching the above-mentioned goals and creating synergies.

The strategic objectives of the project were:
- integration through networking R&D resources on national level to achieve critical mass for generation of new knowledge and participate in ERA activities;
- achieving synergy of R&D and industry by focusing on application driven approach for R&D efforts and contributing to 3 % GDP target.

The overall actions to undertake were foreseen and results of the project expected:
- evaluation of R&D resources in Lithuania and development of work programme for mobilisation of the human and material sources;
- networking through personnel exchange between research centres to facilitate cross-disciplinary research that includes visiting Lithuanian R&D institutions by leading researchers and visits of young researchers to EU research centres;
- creating virtual environment for exchange and dissemination of research results through web-based communication platform presenting NENNET research results, market place for technology applications, newsletter for wider social environment and integrated database on research capacities available;
- transfer of best practices on network management through coaching activities: training workshops on network management and intensive coaching course;
- dissemination of results achieved for Industry partners and wider social environment;
- raising awareness of public authorities and policy makers by: 1. evaluation of impact through foresight study and 2. presentation of study results for targeted audience;
- training seminars on project preparation and project management for identified partners from R&D community, industry and Small and medium enterprises (SMEs);
- assisting SMEs in proposal preparation;
- developing partner search capacities through Contact Broker covering R&D, industry and SME resources capable participate in Sixth Framework Program (FP6) projects.

The results of the project were evaluated in terms of achieved main objectives of the project:
- integration of the R&D human and material resources on national level;
- contribution to European Union (EU) research activities;
- involvement of SMEs and industry partners to R&D intensive activities;
- impact on social environment.