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Aušrinė Armonaitė: Lithuania has a goal to get established among life sciences leaders

Date

2021 08 25

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On Tuesday, Minister of Economy and Innovation Aušrinė Armonaitė discussed with representatives of the life sciences sector the actions currently planned to promote the growth of the life sciences industry.

‘Lithuania has an ambitious goal to get establishing among the leaders of life sciences and achieving a 5 % GDP share of the sector in 2030, which is a fivefold increase. We have a huge potential to develop advanced life science technologies; yet, to achieve this ambitious goal, the mobilised Government efforts will be needed,’ says Minister Armonaitė.

The Ministry of the  Economy and Innovation seeks to enhance a long-term strategy for the development of this sector, which will include commitments by the Government and businesses alike to promote talents, innovation and export, attract investment, improve the business environment and infrastructure, etc.

The focus is now on the implementation of the New Generation Lithuania plan, which provides for more than EUR 200 million to stimulate innovation demand and ecosystem transformation. Of these, EUR 63 million is earmarked for joint business and scientific missions. To make a meaningful use of these funds, by 6 September, the eCitizen system awaits the views and proposals of science, business and society representatives about the most pressing societal challenges that can be addressed by mobilising funding, scientific and business resources and potential.

‘We talk to businesses and we hear that to reach 5 % of GDP by 2030 we will have to increase investments  considerably more than planned for today.  EUR 63 million is a lot of money, but the life sciences sector needs much bigger investments. The business considers that EUR 300 million of public investment is needed and a further EUR 300 million of their own contribution will be required. These funds will have to be found in the EU structural funds’, said Minister Armonaitė.

At the meeting with life sciences representatives, it was suggested that to achieve a breakthrough in the life sciences sector we need to think about separating funding for fundamental and applied research. The issue of the Innovation Agency, which is in the process of establishment now, was also talked about. Business representatives said a breakthrough might only be possible if the Agency administered the money from the EU structural funds.

The life sciences sector is among the fastest developing industrial sectors in Lithuania; also, it is among the most advanced industries in Central and Eastern Europe. At present, the sector’s contribution to the national GDP is around 2 %.

In 2019, 571 companies operated in the Lithuanian life sciences sector employing around 7.5 thousand employees. Last year, the sector’s exports of Lithuania-made products were worth EUR 627 million, an increase of 62% compared to 2019. 

90 % of Lithuanian biotechnology products is exported to more than 100 countries. The largest Lithuanian life sciences  export markets in 2020 were the US (29 %), Germany (14 %) and China (6.3 %).