The genesis of the conference idea goes back to the year 2009, when an intergovernmental meeting between delegations from Kazakhstan and Lithuania took place in Astana aiming to identify key areas in science and business where both states could find common ground for closer cooperation.
During the meeting, Minister of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania, D. Kreivys, offered to organize a conference in Klaipeda, where experts, scientists and business leaders from East and West could meet in Lithuania to share ideas, experience and knowledge. In the recent intergovernmental meeting in July, 2010, both states committed to support the event and promote “EastLink” conference helping to strengthen both states cooperation.
Gradually, the idea of the conference developed, not only to strengthen Lithuanian and Kazakhstan ties, but to broaden the cooperation idea to the wider East and West relations. Sharing knowledge, ideas, and experiences will become a natural process for those who are willing to take part in the new world economy, where business and science goes hand in hand aiming to generate competitive products and services, and enhance the wellbeing of society. Thus the conference notion was expanded to show the common cooperation sphere where regions able to work together and lead countries to the knowledge economy.
Klaipeda Science and Technology Park was asked to organize this unique event and, together with partners, take all responsibility for making “EastLink: the way to knowledge economy” a fruitful and a memorable event bringing sustainable outcomes even after the conference.
Concept of the conference
The concept of “EastLink: the way to knowledge economy” cooperation is based on EU Eastern partnership policy and the new Central Asian cooperation strategy.
The main goal of EastLink is to recreate and create new links of science, research and business cooperation in post-Soviet geopolitical area with the aim to strengthen competitive positions in the global economy:
- to rebuild science cooperation on the basis of previous mutual scientific projects;
- to create new scientific projects based on market accessibility and commercialization;
- to integrate science and research infrastructure;
- to explore mechanisms for financing scientific projects and commercializing innovation
Sharing of knowledge accelerates innovations for countries and regions
Euro-integration processes in the context of science and innovation development, have created two separate geographical areas:
- new EU members that have an opportunity to act in mutual EU research area with the use of open markets
- CIS and EU “Eastern Partnership” countries create more than 200 mln. consumer markets and have rich intellectual and natural resources, but limited access to the EU scientific and research structure.
The experience of the CEE countries in euro-integration processes and in EU scientific and research areas can create political, cultural, and social bridges between East and West scientific markets, thus help to expand and transfer technologies and avoid isolation of science/technology potential.
Building innovative capacity
The conference will focus on policies and programs on how to promote cross-border alliances, stimulate knowledge transfer to/from foreign markets, and attract skilled labor. We will also review how these challenges have and are currently being addressed in various countries.
Examination of these issues are placed within a broader conceptual framework that stresses the importance of building strong endogenous innovative capacity as a pre-requisite for successful participation in global knowledge economy.
Breaching of barriers
However, whilst there are benefits to be had from participation in global knowledge exchange, there are also many barriers that e.g. public authorities can help address to ensure participation at an optimal level. These include lack of information about potential partners, language and cultural barriers, governmental regulations on labor mobility, costs and difficulties obtaining specialist finance, as well as lack of capacity to adopt new technologies because of weakness in areas such as skilled labor, entrepreneurial vitality and networks.