A total of 11 project applications were submitted to the public call "Challenge for establishing production laboratories FAB LABS - Young people create", implemented by the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development.
Out of the 11 submitted project proposals, eight project proposals were submitted by higher education institutions. Nine of the proposed production laboratories are in Skopje, while the other two are planned to be located in other cities.
"The realization of this Challenge is of great importance because the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development for the first time invests in the development of innovation infrastructure and access to modern technologies for high school students and youth. The received project applications show a clear tendency of networking between innovative companies and higher education institutions, as well as active involvement of the civil sector, which leads to the establishment of a four-helix system” said Kosta Petrov, director of the Fund for Innovation and Technological Development.
The total budget is 9,000,000 mkd, of which 90% is provided by the Fund, in a maximum amount of 4.5 million mkd for a project proposal, while the remaining 10% should be provided by the applicant. Project duration is up to 12 months.
The received project applications include collaborations with the private sector and professional associations, public institutions and other educational institutions, as well as collaborations with international partners. Some of the applicants also provided co-financing from private investors.
The project applications are followed by an administrative check, after which those who meet the eligibility criteria will be evaluated by a Commission that will include representatives of the academic community, the business sector and the civil society.
In the production laboratories "FAB LABS", it is planned for young people from 15 to 29 years old, to be provided with free access to modern technologies such as 3D printers and laser machines, with which they will be able to materialize their innovative ideas. In addition, they will be provided with mentoring support, space and technical conditions to construct a prototype or small production of an innovative solution, which they can test in a laboratory, industrial or market environment.
The two laboratories that will be established at the beginning of the upcoming school / academic year will be pilot projects. Based on this experience, in the coming period FITD plans to create a mechanism for establishing and supporting this type of laboratories and ensuring their sustainability.
The challenge was open from May 17 to July 20, 2021.