Investments in research and development promote innovation, growth and thus the value creation of products. In the last three years, Primorska Technology Park has connected companies in the periphery with the best research centers in Slovenia and Austria, where free research has been carried out for them in the framework of the project Retina: Interreg Slovenia – Austria. We asked Professor Dr. Giovanni de Ninno, a representative of the leading project partner – the University Nova Gorica, what the experience was like.

The project Retina is completed. What do you think is his most important contribution?

This was the first important step towards a continuous and effective cooperation between research and industry. Of course, this is not easy: RETINA was the first INTERREG project (at least as far as I know) to promote such cooperation. Now that RETINA is coming to an end, this mission will be continued by the project Interreg Italy-Slovenia NANAREGION (https://www.ita-slo.eu/en/nano-region).

How do you assess the cooperation between research institutions and the economy in Slovenia and in the wider region Central European? What are we doing well? Is there room for improvement?

There is still a great distance between the two spheres. This is not surprising, because scientists do research for the sake of research; money and power are not part of this equation. The economy, on the other hand, lives for profit. The situation can improve if we all understand that “poetry and bread can be one and the same”.

What do you see as the biggest challenge in connecting researchers and entrepreneurs?

The biggest challenge, as everywhere else, is to build a common language. When I say “electron wavelength”, what does an entrepreneur understand? When an entrepreneur mentions the “double entry method”, what do I understand?

The activity is financed by European Regional Development Fund within the framework of the Interreg V-A Slovenia – Austria cooperation program within the RETINA project: Opening of research laboratories for innovative industrial applications