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Biotechnology Foresight in Estonia

The project "Biotechnology Foresight in Estonia" (2002-2003) concentrates on developing innovation and industrial policy measures and elements in order to create long-term (10-20 years) possibilities of sustainable growth and development in biotechnology and related industrial sectors in Estonia. It will focus on the development of institutional, economic and legal measures which enable to create and sustain biotechnology as a new paradigm leading industry as well as to manage various economic, developmental and social 'side-effects' due to the development of biotechnology within and without Estonia.

In particular, the project aims at:

  • Developing policy instruments, which enable growth in biotechnology as industrial activity in Estonia taking into account her particular economic, political, and social situation. In economic and market terms, Estonia represents a small and peripheral country. This brings with it both disadvantages as well as advantages - Estonia can equally loose out or win in the biotechnology revolution. Thus, it is pivotal to develop 'made-to-measure' yet flexible policy instruments, which enable catching-up, re-orientation and re-allocation of human and market resources. This includes necessary changes in various fields from education to tax policy and financial capital as well as concentrated legislative efforts.
  • Developing policy instruments, which avoid possible lock-in and crowding-out effects inherent to a small economy via enforcing increasing internationalization of academic as well as industrial activities. This means both bringing in researchers and companies from other countries as well as strengthening Estonian ties to European Research Area.
  • Creating awareness of chances and dangers of biotechnology in economic sectors related - and even remotely related - to biotechnology. This includes touching upon ethical and social issues as well as developing industrial policy measures, both horizontal and activity-specific, in order to prepare the economy and its social base as a whole for the biotechnology revolution as well to enable embedding of biotechnology industry into Estonian economic landscape without large-scale social irruption.

The outcome of the project contributes to development and implementation of specific action plans adopted by the Government of Estonia (with strong involvement of Estonian Research and Development Council, Ministries of Education and Economic Affairs).

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