In October 2002, the Ministry started the preparation of a broad-based Technology Program to build on the earlier efforts and successes and to prioritize the economy’s needs in a systemic way. This work, supported through the World Bank Technical Assistance Project for Institutional and Regulatory Reform (TAL-2), resulted in the Science and Technology Project (STP). The Project is an integral part of an overall Knowledge Economy umbrella and will help improving sustainability of the government's efforts and programs in this area.
The Science and Technology Project supports elements of the following Country Assistance Strategy (CAS, approved by the Board on December 21, 2004) objectives: "Successful accession to the European Union, so that Croatia enters the EU as a dynamic and competitive economy that can rapidly achieve convergence to EU living standards. The strategy calls for a shift to private sector-driven growth through rationalization of the public sector and establishment of a supportive investment climate."
The Project supports Croatian industry through various programs including supporting the modernization of the S&T system to contribute to needs of the economy and maintaining high quality science infrastructure, upgrading of technological capabilities of firms, and development of non-traditional financing (venture capital) that would be of potential interest to domestic and foreign investors. Developing an appropriate business environment is instrumental in improving industry competitiveness. It targets industry as a whole, including domestic and export oriented firms, large firms and SMEs.
The high level of externalities which characterize these activities justifies public assistance in these areas. Once diffused, knowledge can be accessed by anyone (public good); thus firms invest at sub-optimal levels in R&D. At the same time, the social rate of return on R&D investments is often three times as large as the private rate of return. Many technology services follow rules of economies of scale, thereby making in-house provision of R&D development (which can be very expensive) prohibitive for all but the larger firms. Therefore, support through this Project is seen as an important step towards increasing the access of Croatian industry to better technology services. This would help improve the industry’s competitiveness thus accelerating realization of the benefits of economic integration. Better sustainability of institutions would also contribute to private sector participation in innovation activities and thus reducing the budget burden on scarce public sector resources.
Specific Project objectives
The major development objectives of the Project are to:
- strengthen and restructure selected research & development institutions to promote applied research and increase their self-sustainability, while maintaining their scientific excellence; and
- to increase the ability of enterprises to develop, use, adapt and commercialize technology.
An increased productivity and technological base and strengthened linkages between RDIs, scientific community and industry will help enterprises compete more effectively and facilitate Croatia’s economic integration with the global markets.
The Project consists of three main components:
- Restructuring of research and development institutions (RDIs)
- Business Innovation Center of Croatia (BICRO)
- Unity Through Knowledge Fund.
In addition, the Project provides support to establishment and operation of the National Innovation System Group (organized by MSES), operation of the newly established Croatian Accreditation Agency, as well as project implementation costs.
The Project intends to:
- Help create environment for applied R&D in Croatia in order to promote innovation and improve the quality of services and products by the industry, as well as promote synergies between the research community and industry.
- Provide means and build appropriate financial mechanisms to support development, use and adaptation of new industrial technologies, promote growth of technology-rich companies, improve quality and diversity of the products by industry, which, ultimately, will contribute to the improvement of competitiveness of Croatian firms.
- Engage Croatian Diaspora in the upgrading of the Croatian Innovation System.
After extensive preparation, the Project became effective as of May 11, 2006.
Additional information can be obtained by contacting addresses indicated below.
Ministry of Science, Education and Sports
Prof. dr. sc. Dražen Vikić Topić,
State Secretary for Science and Technology
Strossmayerov trg 4, Zagreb
Tel. +385 1 4594 341
Project Management Unit
Dragan Šoljan, Director
Planinska 1, Zagreb
Tel. +385 1 2352 654