A regional leader attracting investors in innovative fields, Lithuania has all the right attributes to support dynamic MedTech companies in growing rapidly. It boasts a deep pool of STEM talent, and support for research is ongoing and future-focused.
“The MedTech industry is playing a key role in Lithuania’s economy. We are committed to fostering strong partnership in the field of scientific research between universities and businesses, and to the continued development of Lithuania’s talent pool. This will allow us to create not only medical technologies that are used worldwide, but also to develop systems that will become the future of the healthcare industry,” says Mindaugas Sinkevičius, Economy Minister of the Republic of Lithuania.
From early schooling, right through to postgraduate level, STEM subjects sit at the heart of education in Lithuania. This means Lithuania has a rich pool of highly skilled talent available for MedTech companies. At the research end, there are now over 21,000 top researchers working across academia, the private and the public sector. And in terms of fresh talent, 8,300 specialists graduate every year in innovation related fields thanks in part to a 50 percent increase in STEM funding in 2016.
And for Lukas Jankauskas, Director of Shared Services at Intermedix, Lithuania’s MedTech talent is about much more than just the bare numbers. “We were looking for a dynamic, innovative and talented workforce to foster international growth,” explains Mr Jankaukas. “We encountered that and much more in Lithuania.”
Quality talent needs a fertile environment within which to flourish, and that is what Lithuania provides. Lithuanian policymakers have shown a sustained commitment to providing quality research spaces. The country’s 5 science valleys, spread across its 3 main cities, offer state of the art facilities. Additional to this are two University Hospitals located in Vilnius and Kaunas. The Global Competitiveness Report ranks Lithuania’s innovation capacity second in the CEE region.
And international investors will find themselves well-supported by Lithuania’s government. Lithuania leads the EU for investment in open R&D infrastructure, plus companies can fully deduct their R&D expenses 3 times and benefit from 50% lower corporate tax if they are operating innovative fields including MedTech. Lithuania is also ranked 1st globally for fulfilling business needs for ICT in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2016, and it’s ahead of the pack when it comes to connectivity. It is 1st in Europe for 4G coverage, 3rdin the EU for fibre-optic networks, and boasts the fastest public WiFi in the world.
As leader of the CEE region for attracting investment in innovative fields according to FDi Markets, Lithuania is growing a thriving MedTech community which is having a global impact. This community includes a number of international investors. Intermedix, a US company that provides tech-enabled services to healthcare providers, governments and companies, chose Lithuania for its first European office in 2013. The almost 700 employees in its Kaunas office work on IT Applications Management, Master Data Management, Medical Coding and much more. Then there is Thermo Fisher Scientific, which just won Shingo prize for world’s highest standards for operational excellence.
This international presence bolsters Lithuania’s domestic talent in the MedTech field. This talent includes Arminas Ragauskas, a researcher at Kaunas University of Technology who was a finalist in the European Inventor Award 2016. He has invented ultrasound scanners that provide precise and instant pressure measurements used to detect strokes, glaucoma and brain tumours.
As the presence of international investors grows, so does the desire to train more specialists in the MedTech field. Lithuania ranks number 1 in CEE for University-business collaboration, a fact highlighted in the development of a bespoke Health Informatics undergraduate program to support the MedTech sector. Offered by Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) together with the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LSMU), this program focuses on preparing professionals in the fields of biomedical engineering and welfare technologies.
So, with a region leading innovation ecosystem and a thriving MedTech sector, plus a deep pool of talent still available for international investors, further strong growth in Lithuania’s MedTech sector is expected.
The first Baltic MedTech conference will be held on 19 September in Kaunas, Lithuania. The conference will focus on the trends in medical technology sector worldwide inspired by mobile technologies, bio-banking etc. Please find more information here. Please apply to register here.
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