Former Minister of Research and Innovation, now Secretary of State in the same Ministry, Lucian Georgescu is a professor at University of Lower Danube in Galati and previously visiting professor for two years in the U.S and for short periods in Western countries such as France, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium. He worked in more than 25 international projects as an expert or manager and also he published more than 50 papers in ISI journals and other 130 articles in international databases indexed journals.
Global Research: What is the general strategy of the Ministry of Research and Innovation regarding the development of the RDI sector in Romania?
Lucian Georgescu: Our strategy is to use the available governmental funds to encourage research and development and innovation (RDI) structures such as institutes and universities and other public or private structures to participate in European and international competitions. This will provide a larger international experience and access to opportunities for new partnerships and develop interesting research areas.
Generally, the Romanian strategy for RDI is focused on strategic directions and national priorities. The strategic directions are corresponding generally to the Horizon 2020 strategies and priorities. We have other national priorities too, such as health, culture and history. Practically, all these priority directions are covered by very good institutions and research teams distributed on almost all of the Romanian territory. In most cases the human resources and material resources are located in two types of institutions. One is formed by national R&D institutes, which are coordinated by our Ministry, and the other pole is consisting of universities. Lately we also have SMEs getting involved in RDI, focusing mainly on engineering, IT and other technological ways of development, most of them having great results. Romanian RDI sector is blessed to have very enthusiastic people with a lot of experience and competences, as well as many young people, with plenty interesting ideas and results, people that passed very difficult times. They resisted and now they are increasing their capacities and opening their horizons.
Regarding the choice between fundamental vs applied research, in principle we encourage the distribution of funds corelated to the international distribution, approximately 75 percent of the funds are allocated to the applied sciences and 25 percent for the fundamental research. The percentage is difficult to establish because of the fine line between fundamental and applied research. Taking into account the specificity of the Romanian society, Romanian industry and the general economy, we encourage the repartition of 75 and 25 percent.
Global Research: What are some of the most important international RDI projects Romania is part of currently?
Lucian Georgescu: The most important is of course the historical Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) project developed by IFIN-HH in Magurele, just outside Bucharest. There will be the most powerful laser in the world and we have a mandate from the Government to develop a scientific and technological park called the Laser Valley – City of Lights. The idea is to have a science and technology core developed by IFIN-HH and attract SMEs and international partners that are interested in investing there. Other than the laser, there is a Gamma generator and these two powerful tools will make a new instrument which will be able to do new things regarding materials, so not just in fundamental but also in applied research, especially in materials.
Another large international project managed in and by Romania is DANUBIUS-RI a very complex project related to lagoons, deltas, rivers and seas. We will have all the components here in Romania. There will be one base in Danube Delta, one in Constanta, and another base here in Bucharest. The Romanian consortium is now working with a large international consortium. This is a totally different research. It is environmental, it is sustainable development but it is also related to many societal needs, because everywhere where there are seas, rivers, deltas, there are people, communities and enterprises, there is also history, geology, chemistry, physics and a lot of biology.
A third important project for Romania is The Advanced Lead Fast Reactor European Demonstrator (ALFRED), developed under an EU initiative, an experimental nuclear reactor of the fourth generation. A memorandum of cooperation has been signed between Italy’s National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and the Environment (ENEA) and Ansaldo Nucleare, as well as Romania’s Nuclear Research Institute (Institutul de Cercetari Nucleare, ICN) and many people want to participate in this big project.
There are some other European projects which Romania is a member of, for example ACTRIS, which is a European project designed for atmosphere research, related to many things such as validation of satellite measurements and there is also AROMAT-I, which was founded by the European Space Agency.
Global Research: How do you plan to improve international cooperation of Romanian RDI sector?
Lucian Georgescu: Firstly, I think it would be a great idea to organize on-site visits of teams of specialists and decision makers from different institutions and companies from all over the world that could come meet the people, see the results of machines, instruments, technologies, competences, experiences which are developed here. They can define some priorities in which we can make a difference, for example in nano-technologies, environment or medical sciences. We will invite them here and organize visits in labs or meetings with research teams so they see with their own eyes what we can do.
Furthermore, a very good example is the Renault Technologie Roumanie, the largest research center of Renault outside France. There are many companies from all over the world that chose to develop in Romania the production phase only. I would recommend those companies to also try to set-up the development and research phase here for all types of technologies. We are now developing projects in which we encourage people from universities and institutes to team up with people from the industry. The industry has to define their problems and seek solutions within the research labs. Sometimes the solutions are here, at the national level.
Global Research: What is your final message to the readers of The Global Research?
Lucian Georgescu: Recently, I visited a very interesting nuclear lab in Mioveni, nearby Pitesti. There was an international conference and one of the very good researchers in Romania working in his own private company came there with his daughter who is an assistant in his company. He said: this is my daughter, a very intelligent person, she’s hard working, she has a PhD, she’s very good, I love her very much. I’m very proud of her, but sometimes, I have to give her proof that I love her, which means that I have to give her some money. She is a young woman, she needs things. And the same goes for research. Everybody says “we love research”, but sometimes caring for something deeply is not enough, we have to prove it by giving it some money.