2019 02 08

Lithuanian Innovation Met with Open Arms in Ukraine

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The search for new business partners led by the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) in March of this year found success in Ukraine. The initiative drummed up interest for Lithuanian research and development services as well as possibilities for joint projects in the field of cyber security. Cooperation agreements were signed with IT clusters from Chernihiv and Kiev, Chernihiv Technological University and the Ukrainian Defence and Security Industry Association.

“We are trying to promote our R&D services in foreign markets, and a collaborative relationship with Ukraine is crucial here,” emphasised Mantas Našlėnas, a facilitator of the MITA-run research and development network known as Open R&D Lithuania. Ukraine is currently going through a period of hardship and so far generates little innovation itself.  However, the demand for innovation is great. Businesses cannot survive without innovative services and products as well as solutions, and the services that Lithuania can provide are affordable and attractive with respect to their quality. Ukraine has shown a good deal of interest in the opportunities we offer and is exploring what it can apply to its own industries”.

In Chernihiv and Kiev

On the first day of the mission in Ukraine, a meeting was hosted at the State Enterprise for Innovation, Finances and Credit under the Ukrainian Ministry of Development and Commerce, which coordinates efforts to promote innovation and funding nationwide. Participants were presented with success stories of cooperation between Lithuanian science and business, while the Digital Technology Cluster shared its experience in the area of applied innovation. The delegation came to an agreement with Volodymyr Stavniuk, the head of the State Enterprise for Innovation, Finances and Credit, regarding the promotion of joint international projects in innovation.

During a meeting with Roman Boiarchuk, head of the National Cyber Security Centre, Open R&D Lithuania presented the cyber security services available in its network as well as various possibilities for cooperation with the Digital Technology Cluster in training and certifying cyber security specialists of the highest qualification and developing as well as implementing joint cyber security solutions.

At Chernihiv Technological University, which operates in close collaboration with the Chernihiv IT Cluster, a letter of intent was signed for the purpose of submitting joint grant proposals with representatives of Lithuanian business and science to the Horizon 2020 programme offered by the European Union (EU).

TheICT Innovation Forum: Lithuania-Ukrainehosted in Kiev was attended by representatives of various businesses operating in the fields of artificial intelligence, cloud technology, big data, cyber security and data virtualisation as well as Lithuanian academic and research institutions that provide R&D services in the said fields.

The aim of the forum was to promote partnership between Lithuania and Ukraine in innovation, facilitate networking between science and business for joint projects in the future as well as joint applications to EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Eurostars-2.

Conference members were welcomed by Marius Janukonis, Lithuanian ambassador to Ukraine, the Ukrainian vice-minister of Energy and Coal, Nataliya Boyko, and representatives of the Ukrainian Defence and Security Industry Association. The MITA expert in international programmes and national representative of the Horizon 2020 security programme Viktorija Bražiūnaitė read a presentation on the topic of EU Financial MechanismHorizon 2020: Liberating Opportunities for Cooperation Between Lithuania and Ukraine. Scientists and business representatives from Vilnius University (VU), the Lithuanian Energy Institute (LEI), and Kaunas University of Technology presented their innovations.

In Quest of Cyber Security

“The main focus of the forum was cyber security. The topic is especially relevant to Ukrainian energy because its old systems are not protected from hacking. Complex consequences require lots of time to fix and result in major losses. However, Lithuanian scientists are working on the issue from a number of angles: studying the consequences of hacking, analysing how to deal with such incidents if they happen and researching how to prevent hacking incidents in the first place. Considerable savings are made with regard to financial, time and human resources. This way less damage is done,” elaborated Open R&D Lithuania network facilitator Mantas Našlėnas.

For example, Doc. Saulius Japertas from KTU presented an early detection method for hacking incidents. He uses logical filter blocks set to certain parameters based on which actions are formulated, and the resulting combination points to the stage of the attack.

LEI scientist Vitoldas Kavaliauskas introduced attendees to the problematics of cyber security in electrical networks and various approaches to address them.

VU representatives Eduardas Kutka and Raminta Rupeikienė gave a presentation on the services and resources offered by the VU Information Technology Open-Access Centre, how to order these services and the virtual cyberspace dedicated to simulating cyber attacks and developing competencies for overcoming them.

“Our scientific and business solutions for securing energy systems and preventing hacking have already attracted the attention of companies such as Haфтогаз Украины,  ISSP, Банкомзв’язок, СОЛiТОН, SOFTPROM, Укрaинформсвязъ and quite a few others. Some of the companies interested in cooperation also expressed a desire to join the Digital Technology Cluster in Lithuania. One of its main focuses is cyber security,” explained Našlėnas.

The Open R&D Lithuania network facilitator was delighted to discover that the mission even brought Lithuanians together with new compatriot partners. For example, members of the Digital Technology Cluster and various companies showed an interest in Lithuanian scientific achievements and technology. Soon they will be sitting down to negotiate on how to implement the technology both in Ukraine and in Lithuania. Possibilities for cooperation have already been discussed, as was the joint submission of applications for Horizon 2020.

The eScience Gateway Is Open

The conference also gave attendees the opportunity to find out about the Open R&D Lithuania network.  Mantas Našlėnas gave the audience an overview of Lithuania’s strongest research areas, explained the core principles of how the Contact Centre of the Open R&D Lithuania network operates and counselled local businesses on possibilities for collaboration and ordering services.

OPEN R&D Lithuania is an open-access network for research and development that has brought together 14 national universities, 13 national research institutes, seven science and technology parks as well as 25 open access centres. As the largest innovation infrastructure, service and competence network in the Baltic states, it facilitates the meeting of Lithuanian researchers developing advanced technologies and entrepreneurs from Lithuania and beyond, encouraging their cooperation.

Members of the network provide services in the fields of engineering, IT, biomedicine, biotechnology, material science, physical and chemical technology, natural resources and agriculture. They are involved in developing new products based on the very latest scientific research. Employees of member organisations are given access to available equipment. Training events and professional consultation is provided to address all aspects of scientific research, development and transfer of technology and innovation. New technology is created and existing technology is developed. Research, experiments, analysis and various measurements are conducted. Prototypes are developed and manufactured.

In order to make it easier for businesses to find their way through the myriad R&D services available and to select what best suits their needs, MITA set up the OPEN R&D Lithuania Contact Centre. It helps companies find the shortest route to a suitable partner from a research institution, gather information about where they can order the services they need and sets up individual meetings. An emailed enquiry is enough to solicit an answer as to where a business should refer to next. The Contact Centre will help businesses get in touch with the right people and, if necessary, arouse their interest and convince them to become partners.

“The conference in Kiev gave us the opportunity to present available scientific services in cyber security and other fields, as well as present examples of how to find these services in our eScience Gateway. How we have developed their presentation, how they are added and how they can be ordered. It’s all very simple because scientific services are all concentrated in one database. Already, we’ve got more than 3 thousand and counting,” emphasised network facilitator Našlėnas, “When you can see the interests of a research or business enterprise, you can make a concentrated and well-directed effort to identify the services that you need and find a suitable partner.”

The forum for innovation in IT and communications technology is already the fourth event hosted by Open R&D Lithuania in Ukraine in the past half year. Crucial contributors in the organisation of the event were the Lithuanian Embassy in Ukraine, the event partner – the Ukrainian Defence and Security Industry Association, the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy and Coal, the Kiev Chamber of Commerce, the Chernihiv IT Cluster and Chernihiv Technological University.

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