Romanian authorities have announced the completion of the feasibility study for Magurele Science Park, a socio-economic platform that will serve as a business incubator and research facility with the purpose of offering development opportunities for the entrepreneurial environment in the Bucharest and Ilfov area.
The first phase of the project will be built on a 5-hectare space in Magurele town, located on the south-western edge of Bucharest, close to the ELI-NP (Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Power) research center, which is the home of the well-known “Magurele laser”. The laser at Magurele is the most powerful of its kind in the world and it could help in areas like discovering new radioactive isotopes to treat cancer or test materials used in space missions. ELI-NP is the most important scientific research center in Romania and in the region, with a total investment of EUR 300 million.
The project’s website reads: “Magurele Science Park will encourage the convergence between the most competitive sectors of Romanian research and innovative entrepreneurship. It will contribute to the development of an attractive ecosystem for national and international knowledge-based companies and institutions, and as a result it will bring an important contribution to the regional and national economic development.”
Marian Petrache, president of the Ilfov County Council, told BR that the MSP is modelled after the Science Parks in Barcelona and Malaga, which both initially started with 5 hectares and developed into major innovation and technology centers as big as 200 and 400 hectares respectively. He says that the main objectives of the Science Park is to put a stop to the talent exodus that Romania is experiencing as educated young people keep leaving the country, as well as to encourage a culture of innovative entrepreneurship. Ultimately, Petrache says, “MSP will allow us to compete with the world of tomorrow.”
Current general plans for MSP’s initial phase include:
- A business incubator, where start-ups will be able to access financial support, resources and expertise in order to develop into strong businesses – Marian Petrache tells BR that one of the benefits for start-ups coming to MSP is that they won’t have to pay rent for the first few months;
- Technological Transfer Center
- Center for Excellence in Research, Diagnostics and Treatment for Health
- A technology, information and communications centre
- Advanced Materials Research Center
- Innovation centre
- Future Museum
- Conference and Offices Center
- Social space
The president of the Ilfov Council told BR that in about a week a decision will be made regarding the auction procedure for the projection and execution of the first phase of MSP, which will be built on the initial available space of 5 hectares using the current available budget of EUR 17 million from the Ilfov Council.
“A realistic estimation for the completion of this first phase of MSP would be at least two years, since the project is quite complex,” says Petrache. However, the timely delivery also depends on the quality of the contracted companies. The Ilfov Council president hopes that the World Bank will agree to hold the auction for both projection and execution, as it can attract more trustworthy companies than the Council, because an institution like the World Bank can impose stricter criteria for the companies participating in auctions and can thus ensure more efficiency from contractors.
“We’re building a platform that will be able to open up a dialogue between research, academia, the economic sector and society. It will be open to everyone, to companies and researchers in Romania and abroad, who can take part in creating things we can’t even imagine right now,” said Marian Petrache about the Magurele Science Park.
During the launching event for MSP, President Klaus Iohannis congratulated the local authorities involved in the project and said it is an important step for increasing connectivity between the academic and private sectors, and that it will allow the development of an attractive environment for the type of interdisciplinary research that contributes more and more to the transfer of good practices and innovative methods between various branches of sciences.
However, Klaus Iohannis also noted that a project like MSP also needs to be supported by good road and rail transport and infrastructure, which are currently lacking in the Magurele area.
Marian Petrache told BR that there are many ways in which the infrastructure issue could be resolved, and that authorities just need to understand the importance of the Science Park and how much value it can bring to the community. “Of course the platform will be even more competitive if there’s a motorway nearby, as well as if there’s a transport corridor between Otopeni and Magurele,” he said.