Czech science centre buys Estonian exhibition

The Ahhaa science centre based in Estonia’s second-largest city Tartu has sold its exhibition “Sail or Sink?” for 300,000 euros to a science centre in the Czech Republic from where it will be rented forward to Poland, the daily Eesti Päevaleht reports.

This is the first time for an Estonian exhibition to be sold, the paper notes.

Ahhaa started lobbying for selling or renting the exhibition last November when directors of 50 European science centres gathered in Tartu for a conference, Eesti Päevaleht says. Board member of Ahhaa Andres Juur told the paper that then a spontaneous auction was mounted which was won by a large British science centre. However, the British eventually changed their mind. After that the Czech Techmania showed interest and the agreement was signed at the end of June.

Juur declined to disclose the exact value of the agreement but said it was around 300,000 euros. However, this does not mean a big profit. “We earned back about as much as we put in with the sale,” he said but added that selling rather than renting was the right decision.

It is planned to open the exhibition in the Czech Republic already on Aug. 20.

“Sail or Sink?” that cost over 200,000 euros to mount was on display at both Ahhaa and the Seaplane Harbour in Tallinn for half a year, attracting around 275,000 visitors. It features 14 hands-on exhibits installed in large containers, where visitors can see, read and experiment with how the forces of nature act at sea and how they have influenced maritime history.

Source: Baltic News Service via Estonian Review

Estonian company to produce vaccine against colorectal cancer

The Tallinn-based company Cellin Technologies LLC has started the production of a personal cancer drug MelCancerVac that may become world’s first vaccine against colorectal cancer.

The vaccine was developed by DanDrit Biotech of Denmark. It uses the patients own cells, is non-toxic and so doesn’t have the side-effects associated with chemo- and radiotherapy.

The technology behind the new vaccine is based on the Nobel prize winning work on dendritic cells, and works by programming the immune system to identify and destroy cancer cells. The treatment has so far been tested on colorectal cancer and non-small-cell lung cancer in Denmark and Singapore. If the tests following the manufacture in Estonia are successful, MelCancerVac may become the world’s first vaccine against colorectal cancer.

Mart Raik, CEO of Cellin Technologies, said that the company was chosen for the production of the drug for it’s state-of-the-art facilities and reasonable manufacturing costs.

“About 12 months ago, we signed a contract to produce single components of MelCancerVac; today, we take care of the entire manufacturing process of the vaccine,” Raik said. The manufacture cycle for one personal vaccine is 8 days and Cellin Technologies has been contracted for production until 2017.

Source: ERR News

University of Tartu and Samsung developing new materials for LED lighting

The joint research project between the Samsung R&D Institute in Japan and the Institute of Physics at the University of Tartu aims to find more efficient materials for white light emitting diodes (LEDs).

“This is one of the hot topics of modern materials science, which can be emphasized by the fact that this year the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to a group of Japanese-American scientists for a discovery of blue light-emitting diodes. This invention has changed the vision of lighting industry and plays a significant role in limiting hunger for energy used by the world’s population,” said University of Tartu professor Mikhail G. Brik.

Marco Kirm, a vice rector for research of the University of Tartu, and Kazushige Mori, the executive vice president of the Samsung R&D Institute, signed a bilateral cooperation on October 14.

“This cooperation agreement shows how competitive our research groups can be internationally, even if we do not have corresponding industry in Estonia,” Kirm said.

Brik has been working on theoretical studies of the materials with a potential for the lighting industry for more than a decade, the last four years as a professor at the University of Tartu, financed through an Estonian program on Internationalization of Higher Education (DoRa).

Contact with Samsung was triggered at the academic conference in March, where academia traditionally meets with industries all over the world.

Source: Estonian Review via ERR

Estonia had the biggest fall in R&D expenditure in the EU

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2013 the expenditure on research and development (R&D) in Estonia equalled 326 million euros, which is 14% less than in 2012.

Despite the negative nature of this piece of news, there is no reason to raise the alarm. The peculiarity of the statistics of a small country lies in the fact that the start or termination of a single large-scale project can significantly influence a concrete statistical indicator. In 2010–2012 substantial investments in new technology were made in the Estonian oil industry, which boosted Estonia’s R&D expenditure to a significantly higher level than before. In 2013 the pilot factory reached the production phase and the resultant decrease in new investments was the cause of the downward trend in R&D expenditure.

The ratio of R&D expenditure to the gross domestic product (GDP), also known as R&D intensity, declined from 2.16% in 2012 to 1.74% in 2013. This was the biggest drop – 19% – among the EU member states, as the decrease in R&D expenditure was amplified by the 6% increase in the GDP. Nevertheless, Estonia was placed just outside the top ten in the R&D intensity ranking of the member states.

Diagram: Research and development intensity, 2002–2013

The diagram shows clearly that, in the shadow of the intermediary boom caused by the oil industry, the long-term trend for Estonia has not changed and the convergence to the EU mean is continuing. In 2002 the Estonian R&D expenditure per inhabitant amounted to just 11% of the EU mean, whereas in 2013 it reached already 46%.

47% of Estonia’s R&D expenditure was financed by the government in 2013 and this financing increased by 6% compared to 2012. The share of R&D financing in the general government expenditure was higher than ever – 2.13%.

Source: Statistics Estonia

PM: e-residency will be Estonia’s next success story

Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said in his presentation speech held at Slush – the biggest event of start-ups and technology – that e-residency enables Europeans to start their business anywhere in the world and Estonia will be a landmark in this field.

“Both Estonia and Finland are offering excellent environment for launching innovative events and introducing them to the world, “ noted Prime Minister encouraging investors and entrepreneurs to come to Estonia.

“Estonia and Finland are the first countries in the world linking their e-services at state level and creating joint digital economic space, “said Prime Minister Rõivas performing with Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb and Hiroshi Mikitani, Chairman of Japanese Corporation Rakuten. E-residency will be our next success story.”

This morning Prime Minister Rõivas met also the Estonian companies attending Slush. Approximately 100 Estonian companies are attending Slush this year.

Slush is the biggest regional event for start-ups, investors and technology. This year it brought together 14,000 attendees, including a vast number of Estonian companies, in addition to the participants from Nordic countries and Asia.

Source: Ave Tampere, Information Officer to the Government via Estonian Review

Estonia is 24th in innovation index

In an annual survey co-published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, ISEAD and the Johnson MBA program at Cornell University, the Global Innovation Index, Estonia placed 24th – one better than last year.

The country was just behind Belgium and one spot ahead of Malta.

Estonia’s index score was 51.4 points of 100. Switzerland garnered 64.8 points and placed first, followed by the UK and Sweden; Finland was fourth. Of other neighbors, Latvia was 34th and Lithuania, 39th.

Source: ERR News

Crisis decreased the innovativeness of enterprises

According to Statistics Estonia, the data of the Innovation Survey show that 47.6% of enterprises were innovative in 2012. Compared to the previous, 2010 Survey, the rate of innovativeness decreased by 9.2 percentage points.

An enterprise was considered innovative in the Survey if in the last three years it had put into practise an organisational or marketing innovation, introduced to the market a new or significantly improved product, implemented a new or significantly improved process, or had expenditure on activities specifically undertaken to develop and/or implement a product or process innovation.

The share of innovative enterprises, 2008–2012

Diagram: The share of innovative enterprises, 2008–2012

The decrease in innovativeness varied slightly by type of innovation. While the share of enterprises with organisation or marketing innovations declined in 2012 compared to 2010 by 2.0 and 3.7 percentage points, respectively, the share of those having introduced a product innovation decreased by 4.8 and the share of those having implemented a process innovation by 7.4 percentage points. In other words, while in 2010 every fourth enterprise was product-innovative, then in 2012 – only every fifth.

Innovativeness was in decline practically for all economic activities. Among major ones, for example, in the textile industry, it fell from 70% to 35%, and in the timber industry from 64% to 41%. At the same time, the innovativeness of the food industry remained at the level of 64%, and for enterprises engaged in water collection, treatment and supply, innovativeness even rose from 45% to 66%.

The supplemental module of the Survey dealt with the enterprises’ strategy. Certain differences between innovative and non-innovative enterprises became evident. Innovative enterprises declared the increase of profit margins to be their most important strategic goal, while non-innovative enterprises were focusing on turnover increase. Increasing flexibility and responsiveness was considered the most valuable mean to reach the goals by innovative enterprises, reducing in-house costs of operation by non-innovative enterprises. However, there was an agreement about the most important factor that obstructs meeting an enterprise’s goal – both groups considered strong price competition to be that factor.

The data from other countries will be published in Eurostat’s database only in the autumn of 2014, but it is already possible to compare our results to the Finnish ones. That kind of a decline in innovativeness was not observed in Finland and it remained at the level of 53% both in 2010 and in 2012. It means that while in 2010 our enterprises outpaced the Finnish ones in terms of innovativeness, then in 2012 we were already lagging behind.

The innovation survey is conducted biannually across Europe, and in 2012 the frame of the survey consisted of 1,779 industrial and 1,706 service enterprises with at least 10 employees. Compared to earlier surveys, the coverage of service industries was extended to the economic activities with EMTAK codes 59 (motion picture, video and television programme production, sound recording and music publishing activities), 60 (programming and broadcasting activities), 72 (scientific research and development), and 73 (advertising and market research). Enterprises operating in the listed activities made up only 3% of the survey frame, so comparability is not danger major issue. Especially because, among the listed economic activities, only scientific research and development had an exceptionally high rate of innovativeness, reaching 94%.

Source: Statistics Estonia


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.