Next stop on the SURE information campaign was Ljubljana, Slovenia, where ESA presented the opportunities that the SURE initiative offers to Slovenian Small Medium Enterprises and scientists.
The information meeting was hosted by the National Institute of Chemistry (KI), an internationally recognised research organisation in chemistry and related disciplines. Looking back on a tradition of 60 years, it is a public institution for research and development activities.
Focussing on applied research in areas such as biotechnology, environmental research and chemical engineering, it is in line with the complex needs of industries, e.g. in the food and pharmaceutical sector. Its research is oriented towards the development of new technologies and products, which is added to by international industrial and scientific partners. Through cooperation with industry, the Institute intends to increase the innovation potential of its researchers.
ESA’s SURE initiative was well received by the organisers as well as the audiences. 40 Slovenian scientists and representatives of Small Medium Enterprises attended the information meeting and showed some interest in the goal of SURE to facilitate the access to the unique research facilities the International Space Station has to offer. “The SURE Announcement of Opportunity is clearly a great opportunity for both Slovenian scientists and Small Medium Enterprises alike”, said Dr. Peter Venturini, director of the KI and organiser of the event.
ESA’s SURE event was supported by the Slovenian government: Raijo Sabo, representative of the Slovenian Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, presented possible ways of support for Slovenian Small Medium Enterprises in the frame of the SURE initiative. “It is well known that the most advanced industries in the world are: space, military and the automotive industry”, explains Sabo.
He pointed out that some firms might ask themselves how a small country like Slovenia can possibly participate in space programmes; and that the same hesitation was also to be found some years ago when thinking about participation in the most advanced automotive industry: Formula 1. “And guess what we have today? Yes, there are Slovenian companies that are involved into the Formula 1 business.” Sabo encouraged Slovenian SMEs to grasp the chance of the SURE initiative: “Here ESA is offering a really unique opportunity for high-tech companies.”