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The European Regional Development Fund has given Latvia a considerable boost in science, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Under the cohesion policy 2007-13 for Latvia, the Operational Programme ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation’ will pump EUR 1.08 billion into enterprises and research, aiming to bring Latvia in line with Lisbon Strategy objectives. Currently, Research and Development only account for 0.42% of GDP in Latvia (2004).
The investment will aim to create knowledge based and technology intensive enterprises, enhancing their productivity and export capacity. Concrete objectives are to create 50 jobs in the research area, 800 internationally recognised publications a year, 43 patent registrations a year, and support 82 economically active enterprises. 60% of the budget is committed to Science and Innovation, investing in equipment for research centres, promoting research, and eventually attracting a high-skilled workforce.
Signs that this may be money well spent? ACA reported in May of this year on Eurostat figures indicating that the Baltic States have had the European Union’s fastest growing rates of research spending and have developed into one of the most dynamic regions in Europe (ACA Newsletter – Education Europe May 2007).