Minister Begović visits New York and Boston: Focus on BIO4, taking steps towards new scientific partnerships

04/03/2024

Photo: Zoran Petrović / NITRA

The United States of America is rightfully considered the "biotechnology center of the world", and the delegation of the Republic of Serbia, led by the Minister of Science, Technological Development and Innovation, Dr. Jelena Begović, visited New York and Boston at the beginning of February

During this visit, the delegation met with representatives of the world's leading companies and universities.

During her visit, Minister Begović demonstrated what Serbia has to offer in the field of science and innovation, and the BIO4 Campus project, a new bio-economic center in Europe that is currently being built in Belgrade, was particularly emphasized. Meetings with the founders of large biotechnology companies such as Regeneron and Gingko Bioworks further confirmed the value of BIO4 Campus's ambition to become one of the recognized world centers based on quality science and innovation in Serbia. At the global headquarters of Pfizer, the minister met with high-ranking representatives of the company and visited a museum dedicated to the development and application of the COVID-19 vaccine. On this occasion, the interest in continuing successful cooperation established during the pandemic has been confirmed. Meetings were also organized with representatives of American investment (venture capital) companies, where the BIO4 Campus was presented along with the opportunities that artificial intelligence can create in Serbia, and Minister Begović stated that "our ultimate goal is to bring them to the Republic of Serbia and let them see what we have to offer."

In addition to representatives of the economy, the delegation also met with representatives of Harvard Medical School, the best medical school in the world, the Dean of the School of Engineering of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which represents a perfect combination of science and entrepreneurship, as well as the Vice Provost of Columbia University, and in the following for months, we will be working actively on the development of cooperation with these institutions.

Minister Begović also had the honor of giving an opening address at the panel "Women in Science Rising: Leadership in Business and Economics" during the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, on the occasion of the 9th International Day of Women and Girls in Science, where she pointed out that "one of the most significant effects of women in leading roles in science is inspiration and motivation for future generations". The Republic of Serbia is particularly proud of the position of women in science, with Serbia as one of the leading countries in the world in terms of the percentage of women working on major scientific projects as well as in leading positions in scientific institutes and faculties.

The participation of Minister Begović at the 10th European Conference at Harvard University was of particular importance for the BIO4 Campus and the Republic of Serbia, and the Minister, along with Joe Johnson, the former UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation and the head of the Department for general medicine at Sanofi, Olivier Bogillot, spoke on the panel "What is the future of science and innovation in Europe?". Strategies that will enable Europe to remain competitive in the field of scientific innovation in the world were discussed, with the BIO4 Campus being presented as one of the currently most important projects on the European continent.

Although there may have been a lack of awareness among the American public about the excellence of science in the Republic of Serbia, the vision of merging biotechnology, natural sciences and information technologies via the BIO4 Campus was met with full support and approval. This experience has not only provided opportunities for new partnerships but also opened the door for further development of the scientific and innovation sector in Serbia.