Ljajić: Investing in science should be the pillar of the country’s development

Opening the International Fair of Technique and Technical Achievements, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications Rasim Ljajić said today in Belgrade that Serbia is facing the threat of brain drain if it does not increase its investment in research and development, which at the moment makes only for 0.3% of the annual GDP.

He noted that the average annual investment in research and development in EU countries equals 2% of the GDP.

Ljajić noted that in terms of “brain drain”, Serbia is ranked 141 out of 144 countries.

According to him, a big problem in Serbia is that the education system is not in correlation with the needs of the economy and the job market, therefore there is a weak link between science and the economy.

“Serbia has great intellectual and human potential, but this potential is not used sufficiently nor transformed into everyday life because it is not sufficiently recognized,” said Ljajić.

The Minister of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications added that the Government of Serbia is thinking about encouraging potential investors in research and development through tax incentives, and about creating an investment fund to invest in research and development.

He added that according to the World Economic Forum, Serbia is ranked 112 out of 148 countries in terms of the level of innovation, and that there are 5,000 PhDs from Serbia in the world, and almost as many young researchers.

“I expect that this fair will send a clear message that knowledge should be the pillar of the economic development of the country,” said Ljajić.

He recalled that Serbia exports software valued at 200 million euros annually, noting that a software company from Serbia was named the most innovative at the recently held IT Fair in Las Vegas.

The International Fair of Technique and Technical Achievements in which 500 exhibitors from 17 countries are presenting more than 100 technical and technological innovations runs until May 16.