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Minister of Science, Technological Development and Innovation

Jelena Begović

She was born in Belgrade in 1970, where she completed her primary and secondary education. She initially enrolled the Chemistry for Research and Development program at the Faculty of Chemistry but switched to the Faculty of Biology at the University of Belgrade after her first year.

During the course of her studies, she spent two years at the University of British Columbia in Canada, after which she returned to Serbia and graduated from the Faculty of Biology at the University of Belgrade.

She has been employed at the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering at the University of Belgrade since 1998. She obtained her master's degree in 2002 and defended her doctoral dissertation in the field of molecular genetics at the Faculty of Biology in 2008. Since 2018, she holds the title of a Scientific Advisor.

Ms. Begović holds the position of director of the Institute of Molecular Genetics and Genetic Engineering since 2014. She also served as the Laboratory for Molecular Microbiology chief at the Institute. For more than 20 years, she has been involved in research in the fields of molecular genetics and biotechnology, applying her research in various sectors, including the food and pharmaceutical industries.

She has published more than 60 scientific papers in leading international journals and is being an active member of numerous scientific associations.

She has been representing the Republic of Serbia on the Board of Governors since 2011, which is the governing body of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, established by the United Nations, having its centers in Italy, India, and the Republic of South Africa. Significant financial resources have been secured through this organization over the years, and for scientific projects, conferences, and student education support in Serbia.

Through numerous projects, she actively participates in technology transfer processes implementation and the introduction of the concept of innovation in research in Serbia and the region. Over the years, she has gained experience and knowledge about the entire innovation process and its commercialization – from the laboratory to the market.

She has led and participated in various national and international scientific projects throughout her scientific career, and led collaborations with industry, including domestic and foreign companies as well.

In recent years, Ms. Begović has been dedicated to mentoring and providing assistance to researchers in innovation development projects. As an expert, she has been involved in state strategies development and writing, including Serbia's Smart Specialization Strategy.

At the pandemic onset in 2020, the Government of the Republic of Serbia appointed her as the coordinator for the development and construction of the FireEye laboratories in Belgrade and Niš, which began operating in 2020, contributing to strengthening Serbia's testing capacities during the pandemic.

With the support of the state, she established the Center for Sequencing and Bioinformatics at the Institute in 2021, enabling Serbia to begin forming a national genomic data bank.

She is one of the conceptual creators of the BIO4 Campus project, supported by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which aims to bringing together research entrepreneurs and companies around the idea of developing Serbia through advances in biomedicine and biotechnology.