Commission publishes brochure of Croatian science and technology
As part of its international scientific cooperation policy activities, the Commission has published a new brochure providing an overview of Croatia's science and technology (S&T) activities and policies. The brochure follows confirmation of the country's EU candidate country status in June.
The report states that, in the field of research, Croatia's accession to the EU will not require the adoption of legal provisions, but rather the existence of the necessary conditions for effective participation in the Framework Programmes. According to the 'Strategy for development of science in the Republic of Croatia in the 21st century', radical changes to the Croatian science base are required in order to introduce an S&T system based on the EU model.
'Full participation in the Framework Programmes should be the first step towards the implementation of the aquis [communautaire] in the field of research, and requires the development of research policy, infrastructure and the appropriate institutional set-up,' states the brochure.
Croatia's national science and research programme for 1996 to 2000 defined a number of specific and general priorities within six scientific fields: natural sciences, technical sciences, biomedicine, biotechnology, social sciences and humanities. However, the Commission points out that the programme was never fully implemented, and suggests that priorities should be redefined 'in a more rational and systematic manner.'
Science and research fall under the responsibility of the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sport (MSES). In 2002, the Ministry financed 1,702 projects, the majority of which were curiosity-driven initiatives in the fields of biomedicine, technical and natural sciences.
However, the brochure warns that the funding of research and development (R&D) in the country is becoming increasingly restrictive: 'The decline in investment in science, which took place in Croatia particularly during the 1990s, has multiple consequences. [...] Equipment still needs to be modernised further and the inadequate material conditions make [...] research work in some fields difficult. The number of scholars and scientists is also [in] decline.'
On a more positive note though, the report states that in terms of international cooperation, 'S&T indicators show that [the] Croatian academic community has [the] potential for larger participation in international programmes.'
Progress has also been made in diversifying the sources of research funding in the country, so that in addition to the MSES budget (18.5 million euro in 2002), resources are also made available by regional authorities, municipalities, private companies and other legal entities. Increased links between research institutes, universities and industry are also a new feature of the Croatian S&T landscape, according to the brochure.
But if Croatia is to fulfil its potential and become fully integrated into the European Research Area, research investments will have to be spent in a far more efficient manner. In 2003, for example, only 15 per cent of the Ministry's total budget was spent on funding research projects, with the majority being spent on salaries, according to the report.
To download the brochure, please consult the following web address:
Data Source Provider: European Commission
Document Reference: Based on the brochure 'A new Candidate to EU accession: Croatia S&T developments'
Programme or Service Acronym: FRAMEWORK 6C; ERA
Subject Index : Scientific Research; Policies; Coordination, Cooperation; Economic Aspects