“Innovation Week is not just a conference” – Dr Milica Đurić- Jovičić

Innovation Center of School of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade is an organization that combines concepts of imagination and realization inside modern technology implementation that will create innovation, new products, technologies and services in accordance with the needs of a market, because of all the above, we are proud that ICEF is the partner of the AFA Association for the Innovation Week conference.

Therefore, we spoke with the Dr Milica Đurić- Jovičić, director of the Innovation Center, about the current state of science in Serbia, importance of implementing the innovations, and about the Innovation Week itself that will be held from 28th of May until 1st of June.

You are the director of Innovation Center of School of Electrical Engineering, that will be the organizer of Innovation Week alongside with AFA Association. In what ways will the conference such as this one help entrepreneurs and investors?

Innovation Week is not just a conference. Whole agenda is designed to connect different areas of innovative ecosystem, that haven’t been a part of joint collaboration yet.

The program consists of various visits to prominent high tech research laboratories, companies, startups and organizations with examples of good practice regarding innovations, that are willing to open their doors and share their ideas. Part of the agenda are the Science- to- Business dialogues, they will provide scientists and startups with the opportunity to present their ideas, while companies and investors will find an inspiration for future projects and investments.

During the course of your career you’ve collaborated with the countries that are considered as leaders in IT industry, such as China, France, Israel and USA. Have you witnessed any examples of good practice that are applicable here in Serbia?

Yes, and that is the great thing about IT industry. It is applicable anywhere, it is global, it requires knowledge, great team and creativity, all the things that Serbia, without a doubt, has. That is the reason why IT industry is blooming here, and why so many companies are opening their offices and development centers here in Serbia.

One of the most rewarding things for me, is the fact that there are so many projects going on here in Serbia, which are on the same level as the ones that are being conducted in high end institutions around the world. And we want to present that to people during the innovation week.

Nevertheless, I need to point out two aspects in which we are lacking behind leading countries- courage and self- confidence to execute our own ideas (in both entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship), and resources when it comes to projects that require specialized equipment and laboratories. On the other hand, it is possible to find a solution through mentorship, cross-sector dialogue, collaborations and partnerships.

Your specialization is in the field of biomedical researches. What are the ways that modern technologies will shape medicine in future?

International collaborations and scientific work have opened many doors prestigious clinics for me. And I’ve had an opportunity to talk with doctors, patients, administrative workers, engineers and technicians. Interesting part is that nobody was contended with medical system. Sometimes it is too slow, other times too expensive, complicated, somewhere it doesn’t methodologically fits with the needs of doctors and patients.

New technologies and digitalization do bring changes, but not fast enough. Telemedicine is an concept that has been part of conversations for years, but it still is just a concept. In the meantime, with the constant growth of emerging technologies, especially smartphone devices. Many medical services have become available on a long distance. Also, by combining these devices with additional sensors and AI algorithms it is possible to completely personalize patient approach and to objectify process of diagnosis, therapy and anticipation of phases to follow. All of this can be automatized with small ballast on doctors and health system. And this not only about people with issues, but about healthy people who understand the importance of prevention and the quality of life.

Also, around the world, medical databases are being digitalized, unified and available, “data science” provides us with an opportunity to look into to the small details over the various aspects of illness on the large amount of data, and to point out the parameters that will help us predict illness development.

Besides AI and medical or fitness devices that are constantly getting smaller and cheaper, while acquiring more functions, I need to point out the progress that has been made in the analysis of genotypes. Quality and pace of the analysis is getting higher with the significant price reductions. All that has been mentioned is going in favor of development of personalized medicine, that will increase the quality of life.

These things are already part of the present and there are numerous international and domestic projects, in which I’m participating, regarding these technologies . Innovation Week will have a topic dedicated to e- Health and the quality of life, those sessions will present us the projects that are currently in progress inside science institutions, startups and companies. I think that participants will be surprised when they find out what is being done in our country and how progressive those technologies are.

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