EU4Tech PoC

The flourishing ecosystem of technology transfer and innovation in the Western Balkans

EU4TECH PoC (Western Balkans Proof of Concept Scheme) is an EU-funded project supporting technology development and commercialisation in the Western Balkans. It helps progress exciting technologies by supporting teams at public research organisations and small and medium sized enterprises who have ideas at the Proof of Concept (PoC) stage including through prototyping and development of IPR strategies, aiming to reach regional and national markets. This fosters local entrepreneurial skills and, ultimately, economic development. 

One of the first EU4TECH PoC projects to receive support for prototyping was a ‘Mechanical Ventilator’ that can be manufactured rapidly from standard parts, but which incorporates novel approaches to the ventilation process. It is affordable and effective, and this project responds to the acute need for such devices due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, particularly from lower income countries whose health care systems are experiencing the devastating effects of this respiratory disease. 

The device is the work of a small team from the University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina”, in Kosovo* lead by Professor Arbnor Pajazit from the Laboratory of Mechatronics, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. Professor Pajazit has experience in developing technology needed in times of crisis, having previously designed an autonomous, programmable robotic arm, intended to negotiate difficult environments during rescue operations in mine fields. His team is currently working on the design and construction of robotic hands for patients that have been identified in the Orthopaedic Clinics and University Centre of Kosovo. 

EU4TECH PoC offers early-stage technical assistance (TA) in six main areas from both regional and EU experts who help to validate and protect new technology, generate a robust business model and propel projects towards the market. Experts are selected based on their experience and specialisations, and work on the projects using face-to-face team meetings, group workshops and through remote contact. Where relevant (for prototyping) specialised service providers have been engaged. The COVID-19 pandemic has created complications in this regard, but both project members and experts have risen to the challenge of finding new ways to effectively interact and continue developing the projects. 

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. 

PoC projects can come from Public Research Organisations (PROs) or from SMEs1. Today, 48 projects are being supported in total, split across two cohorts. Technical Assistance services include prototyping for commercial demonstration, entrepreneurship mentoring, intellectual property management, market analysis assistance and the development of a robust business model. Furthermore, work is being carried out to determine which kind of follow-on funding is most suitable, such as from national or EU grants, business angels, or venture capital investors. This will enable the ideas to progress to the next level. 

EU4TECH PoC Support  

EU4TECH PoC facilitates an exchange of knowledge across and beyond the region, as well as encouraging technology transfer growth. Particularly for projects emerging from public organisations, the experts are very focused on identifying a strong commercialisation strategy and a concrete route to market. 

The EU-funded EU4TECH PoC project and its support shows that the mobilisation of innovators across the EU and the region is crucial, and the Western Balkans are no exception. Horizon Europe, the EU’s new seven-year Framework Programme (2021-2027) for research and innovation, represents the most ambitious research and innovation programme ever and is also open to researchers and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) based in the Western Balkans. 

Previous EU4TECH Project 

EU4TECH PoC builds on the previous EU4TECH project that ran from 2017 to 2019 and was funded by the EU. The project supported the acceleration of technology transfer and the commercialisation of research results in the Western Balkans through the delivery of training and capacity building to technology transfer professionals, universities, research centres, , and start-up companies. It also intended to explore policy options in several related domains. 

The ultimate impact of the project was to unlock the economic benefits of research generated in universities and research centres by transforming it into actual services and products leading to the creation of new companies and employment opportunities, to increase the economic growth in the regions and to produce strong social impact on the local societies. 

Project type
  • IPA
EU4Tech PoC
Geographical focus
  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Kosovo*
  • Montenegro
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Serbia
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary
January 2020 - December 2021

Entry created by Admin on March 22, 2021
Modified on October 13, 2021