The Riigikogu, 15 December 2015 – Today in the Riigikogu, while giving an overview of the state of research and development activities and the Government’s policy in that field, Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said that the systems of research and development and that of innovation should not be dealt with in isolation, instead, more attention should be paid to international competitiveness.
“Research is international in its nature. Estonian entrepreneurship is also international and increasingly integrated into global value chains. Therefore, we have to take into consideration the state’s shortcomings in internationalisation, when conducting research and development activities,” said Rõivas.
According to the Prime Minister, an open and tolerant society will create preconditions so that scientists from other countries and culture environments will want to come to Estonia, stay and work here.
“Intolerance and anger towards people with different backgrounds is detrimental to the development of Estonian science, economy and society.”
According to Rõivas, one of the main obstacles for the development of Estonian entrepreneurship is the lack of qualified workers, adding more foreign students to our labour market could help alleviate this problem to some extent.
The Prime Minister emphasised that the role of the state is to facilitate funding of projects that entrepreneurs cannot finance all by themselves due to market failures. “However, the state cannot be the sole donor of research and development activities in the enterprise sector. The contributions from entrepreneurs help ensure the effectiveness of these investments and an improved cohesion with the actual needs of the economy,” said the Prime Minister.
“The main role of the state in supporting development activities is far greater than mere funding,” said Rõivas. “Above all, the state can create and its obligation is to create framework conditions that enable the development of enterprises and the creation of motivation for investing into research and development activities in the private sector.”
The Prime Minister used the example of Estonia becoming a space country when it joined the European Space Agency on 1 September. “The Estonian accession to the European Space Agency supports Estonian scientific bodies and enterprises by creating opportunities for cooperation amongst themselves and with cross-European networks of scientific organisations. I am delighted that Estonia has become a space country thanks to the contributions of Estonian scientists, entrepreneurs and officials.”
According to the Prime Minister, the new financial period will focus more on comprehensive solutions of supporting new innovative entrepreneurship models, and not as much on investments in technology and infrastructure.
“Science is not driven solely by science itself, in terms of scientists’ activities, they should be able to make a contribution to the general society and economy of Estonia. Increasing cooperation between entrepreneurs and scientists is crucial for the development of knowledge-based economy. Technology and knowledge transfer have to be encouraged,” said the Prime Minister and noted that in order to achieve this, financing models and rules have to be altered, as well as the thought patterns of all participants.
Full text of the speech: https://valitsus.ee/et/uudised/peaministri-kone-riigikogule-ulevaade-teadus-ja-arendustegevuse-olukorrast-ning-valitsuse