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Journal number 1 ∘ Mariam Bitsadze
Development level and challenges of the fabrication laboratory in Georgia

Expanded Summary 

The first part of the work - "Development level and challenges of the fabrication laboratory in Georgia" shows how important is fabrication laboratory for a development oriented country. The laboratory is one of the main participant of the national innovation system, which is perceived as an important tool for the creation of innovations. Special attention is paid to those fab labs, which are hosted by universities.

The laboratory stimulates technological and innovative ideas, creates an environment for transforming ideas into a prototype. In the process of idea development, fab lab provides: sharing of knowledge and technical skills, developing of human capital, creating of digital designs. It is a space where stakeholders learn how to create prototypes by using a modern technologies and test them on a small scale without making large investments.

For the existence of the fab lab, it is important to fulfill four conditions: technology and equipment; digital space; tools and procedures; membership of the global community. Fab labs include: A laser cutter; A 3D printer, A CNC (computer numerical control), electronic components and tools.

The second part of the work discusses foreign experience: through the study of Fab lab Oulu. Its main target audience is the university community, also it is available to those outside the university. The laboratory depends on the resources of the host university and uses external funds too. Its service becomes paid when the goal is not to create a prototype but to produce. The university innovation center acts in accordance with the inventor decision - protect or sell the prototype and/or product. There are courses, workshops, public events and projects related to digital production for stakeholders. The importance of the 6-month international program within the Fab Academy is shown. It helps to identify, develop and improve skills and knowledge of human capital. The faculty of the university offers students scholarships that can partially or fully cover the cost of the program.

There is an appropriate space for receiving information about the prototype which was created within the laboratory. All interested parties have the opportunity to receive information about the inventor and the idea development process.

The third part of the work shows the results of the research, which was carried out in three Georgian universities: Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Technical University and Akaki Tsereteli State University; LEPL College "Gldani Vocational Education and Training Center".

The research questionnaire focused on three main areas: budget; team and projects. Fab labs are mostly dependent on university funds. Also, Fab labs are involved in various projects, which are carried out with a budget independent of the university. Laboratories are trying to increase awareness and establish collaborative relationships to the local and international space through the implementation of joint master classes, trainings, projects, programs and workshops. However, most of the activities have one-time nature.

In this part, attention is focused on the problematic issues that hinder the successful functioning of fab labs in Georgia. There are suggested recommendations on how to solve the problems. Most important is to strengthen the ties between Fab lab and the university through the formation of joint training courses; to Format of appropriate programs and video instructions on the use of technologies available in the laboratory to expand the possibilities of using Fab lab technology by individuals and legal entities; to Support the ideas of university students, as well as individuals and legal entities (not connected to the university) by forming trainings and long-term programs within the laboratory; to Cooperate with the knowledge and/or technology transfer center; to Provide further development of the design and/or process developed within the laboratory.