On 24th February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, generating Europe’s largest refugees’ crisis in decades, with over 6 million people fleeing the country. SPLORO, as a company supporting the innovation of a wide range of organisations, provides an analysis of the response in the Research and Development and startup ecosystem domains which has been activated by the European Union authorities.
At the same time, we provide a high-level insight of Ukrainian organisations in Horizon 2020 programmes and the areas which have been more prolific from an R&D point of view and underscoring top-performing startups in the past years.
The Ukrainian startup and innovation ecosystem has been witnessing its golden age for the last few years. Ukraine was positioned as one of the highest potential tech countries in Europe, being ranked in the top 30 globally startup ecosystems, becoming Kyiv an EU hub according to The Global Startup Ecosystem Index by StartupBlink.
“We want to transform Ukraine into a country of start-ups” president Volodymyr Zelensky said at the February 8 Kyiv-based Diia summit. According to Mr. Zelensky, the technology share of GDP was expected to grow from 4% to 10% by 2025, making Ukraine one of the largest tech hubs in Europe. Only two weeks after, on the 24th of February 2022, Ukrainian history dramatically changed as Russia unjustifiably invaded Ukraine, generating Europe’s largest refugee crisis in decades with over 6 million people fleeing the country. The worrying and unanswered question is how Ukraine and its innovative environments will look at the end of an increasingly devastating, destructive, and inhuman war.
The truth is that Ukraine and Ukrainian founders have been successful in the past years. Some examples:
- GitLab (now listed in NASDAQ) is the world-most known DevOps software package. One of the founders was Dmytro Zaporozhets.
- Grammarly. It’s the perfect assistant to review your texts while you write them. One of the best tools in the market to support your proposal writing process. Founders are Alex Shevchenko, Max Lytvyn, and Dmytro Lider.
- People.ai is one of the best revenue intelligence platforms for the sales team in the market. Oleg Rogynskyy is the founder.
Horizon 2020 and Ukraine
Ukraine was an eligible country and has been actively participating in the major R&D program from 2014 to 2020. According to the official stats by the European Commission at the Horizon Dashboard, the H2020 has invested over 44M€ in 230 signed grants.
Among the interesting number of organizations being supported, we can underscore the case of Enamine. This is a company that raised nearly 2M€ through a major ERC grant, and whose ambition is to expand the drug chemical space and generate patent-free analogs with improved physicochemical and biological properties.
Among the collaborative projects, AMBEC is the largest effort by Ukrainian partners. An investment of 1,7M€. The AMBEC project aims to develop a reliable experimentally validated methodology able to calculate heat transfer coefficients and fluid distribution in different zones of bearing chambers used in airplane engines.
The most prolific organizations in R&D of the country have been the National Academy of Sciences, National Aerospace University «Kharkiv Aviation Institute» and the Centre for Scientific and Technical Information and Innovation Promotion of Ukraine.
Actual collaboration between the European Union and Ukraine
So, what now? The EU has reacted firmly with different measures:
- Investing 20M€ in a project within Horizon Europe to financially support SMEs and startups. This is a major milestone in the collaboration of EU-UA launched by the EIC.
- Horizon for Ukraine: an initiative by the EC to provide a sort of marketplace in which different organizations offer their services to Ukrainian companies.
- ERC4Ukraine: job opportunities for Ukrainian researchers within the ERC initiative.
From Sploro we will be pleased to help our Ukrainian colleagues in their pursuit of funding to support their startups or research and innovation activities. Feel free to contact us.