Mihnea Cosmin Costoiu, Rector of Politehnica University, discusses the government’s emphasis on innovation and R&D.
What are some current trends in R&D in Romania?
Mihnea Cosmin Costoiu: I share with other leaders the objective to align Romanian education and research with European models and to make our education and research activities more effective and international. The universities in Romania already have very well developed research activities. Now we are working to integrate higher education and research more closely with the economic environment. We are focusing on applied research and partnerships with the private sector. In 2013 Romania invested €100 million from our EU funds to support applied research and this attracted the same amount in matching funds from our private-sector partners.
How is the Romanian ICT sector performing?
Mihnea Cosmin Costoiu: Back in 2002 I insisted that the government provide incentives to keep our talented computer-science graduates in Romania. In 2003, Romania adopted a full tax exemption for ICT employees and now the country is a hub for the ICT sector. Multinationals like Oracle, IBM, Continental, Intel and many others have thousands of employees in Romania, and successful Romanian ICT enterprises include award-winning Siveco and MB Telecom. Romania is now in a position to take the next step and invest in innovation. The potential in this sector is huge and in 2013 the government implemented new incentives for investors in innovation, including a 50% tax deduction for investments in R&D.
Can you comment on the ELI-NP (Extreme Light Infrastructure–Nuclear Physics) project?
Mihnea Cosmin Costoiu: This is the biggest research project that Romania has seen in the past 50 years. Romania has a long history of innovation regarding lasers and the ELI-NP will host two 10-petawatt lasers – the biggest in the world – as well as a gamma-ray facility. The project will create over 13,000 jobs in Romania and attract over €2 billion in investments.
What is your personal message to potential investors?
Mihnea Cosmin Costoiu: Romania has extraordinary innovation potential thanks to a long research tradition and our educated and qualified workforce. Romania needs an infusion of capital in order to transform all this potential into products and services.