6 - Financing

6.6 -Leasing technological infrastructure from universities


It is quite common for companies, especially SMEs, to decide not to continue investing resources in innovative projects due to the lack of adequate scientific and technical infrastructure to achieve the required results. On the other hand, universities often have highly developed scientific infrastructures which are not used to their maximum potential. Therefore, it is recommended that companies study the possibility of hiring university facilities and research materials at reasonable prices. In this way, in addition to increasing the number of innovative business projects, there are additional reasons for companies to collaborate with universities. One of the more interesting recommendations is that of combining a fixed or variable utilisation or leasing of facilities, which is conditional on results.


Centre of Excellence for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Ljubljana (Slovenia)

This centre, which brings together researchers from the public and private sectors, was co-financed from 2004-2007 with ERDF European Community funds. It offers first class scientific facilities, allowing researchers to achieve optimum results on specific projects which are conducted jointly with local companies, and so far, six research institutes and more than 26 companies have used the resources. In addition, students from the local Jozef Stefan International Postgraduate School can also make use of the sophisticated equipment for their research.

By offering businesses access to the equipment necessary for research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, new opportunities have emerged for applied research with companies as well as for development projects, analysis and testing. The projects are coordinated by research institutes, and the companies operate as potential end users whilst providing finance. In some cases, companies are also actively involved in the research itself.

According to Dragan Mihailovic, Professor at the Jozef Stefan International Institute, there are two key factors to the centre’s success. Firstly, the fact that facilities are shared with public institutions and businesses, and secondly, that the institution has a strong public profile.

Implementation process

Agents required for implementation

It is necessary to establish an agreement between universities / research centres and companies to make use of technological installations. This initiative must be supported by universities and research centres, and the option of renting facilities should be seen as a way of raising additional funding.

If the desired facilities do not exist, companies should combine forces to put pressure on public institutions and universities to co-finance their construction.

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  1. http://nin.ijs.si/nano.htm - Center of Excellence: Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Ljubljana (Eslovenia).