(i) The operational instruments of the Fund are activities carried out individually or combined in order for a project to be successfully realised. They build up programs – sets of projects with a clearly defined objective.
1. Research project
How? The Fund participates in financing of research project costs which are in accordance to the mission and the goals of the Fund. The Fund may finance specific aspect of some already existing project that is necessary for achieving the level of competitiveness for external investments. Fund can also finance launching of new, independent research projects that have potential to create new scientific results.
Why? The Fund will promote research projects as a basic instrument of cooperation between scientists and experts from Croatia and Diaspora. As a necessary condition for support, the presence of clear benefits for Croatian society is required, in the sense of the UKF goals.
2. Advancement of young researcher – Post-doctorate
How? Financing and including young researchers at post-doctorate level in research projects that realize the goals of the Fund.
Why? Fund will encourage post-doctorate projects that foster brain gain both by attracting young researchers with PhD from abroad and offering positions in industry or university/RDI in Croatia. Projects should enable transfer of knowledge and investments into Croatia.
3. Advancement of young researcher – Early-stage (PhD students)
How? Fund subsidises early-stage researchers on projects that create new scientific results according to the goals. These include work on projects led by members of Diaspora resulting in a system of mentorship and transfer of knowledge to Croatia. Special emphasis will be placed on supporting the work of young researchers on projects in the industry.
Why? Early-stage researchers’ work is basic strength of S&T system and has to be used more extensively in Croatia. The Fund supports the work of early-stage researchers on the prosperous scientific and industry projects, thus contributing to lower “brain drain”.
4. Short-term visit – Mobility
How? The Fund enables short-term visits (up to 6 months) that will be used for knowledge transfer and that fit in the research projects working towards the goals. The Fund will in particular support visits of young researchers to foreign institutions connected to the needs of the project. Visits of both early-stage and experienced researchers from Diaspora will be supported if they contribute to the development of local projects/firms, serve as mentors or instigate new investments.
Why? Short-term visits are an unavoidable way for transferring knowledge in modern S&T systems. Visits of young scientists which work on Croatian projects to centers of excellence abroad enable fast acquisition of experience. Visits from Diaspora enable leading and participating in local projects without necessity of permanent relocation to Croatian institutions.
5. Long-term visit – Appointment
How? The Fund supports long-term appointments of scientists/experts from Diaspora on projects that realize the goals of the Fund. That includes support of placement of experts in Croatian R&D companies and on universities and RDIs.
Why? Long-term visits and appointments serve for including Diaspora members in Croatian projects and can help as a preparation for their return.
6. Research equipment
How? Research equipment is financed only partly, and only as part of projects that fulfill conditions outlined in the Fund’s goals. The Fund will support a new, more economical usage of equipment through cooperation and renting.
Why? Research equipment is necessary condition for scientific work, but for the realization of Fund’s goals new models will be developed that ensure better return on investment than presently.
7. Conference / Lecture
How? The Fund supports participations at conferences where this is necessary for the transfer of knowledge to projects that seek international and/or economic affirmation.
Why? Participation at local conferences and lectures of participants from Diaspora enable an efficient way of cooperation and knowledge-transfer. Also, attending conferences abroad as a part of supported projects facilitates their development.
How? The Fund finances specific consulting services that are necessary for the reali-zation of supported projects such as: external administration of research project or consulting on commercialization of scientific result. The Fund will also approve consulting services for members of Diaspora who start a project/company in Croatia. Special attention will be given to the cases where the consulting services are provided by Diaspora members. Consulting services for some commercial projects may be co-financed by the BICRO program CONCro.
Why? Education and outsourcing of non-scientific components (finances, legal issues, intellectual property, PR, management...) are important for the success of scientific projects and they are underdeveloped in Croatia.
10. Development of human resources in S&T
How? Support is provided for some activities to Administering organization (Croatian organization responsible for the implementation of a project) that include non scientific staff, other non specific utilities, office services and overall support of Administering organization to UKF project team in project implementation as well as in other activities necessary for further sustainability of projects (e.g. provide support in project application for international funds)
Why? In order to raise institutional capacity in S&T system for attracting and implementing EU and international funds, there is a need to further develop procedures at institutional level as well as knowledge and skills of non scientific staff responsible for implementation of EU funds and international funds.
How? Support is provided for employment of new scientific personnel, especially early stage and young researchers as well as training in scientific and non scientific skills.
WHY? Human capital, especially in S&T, is of growing importance for innovation and technology-led economic growth. Croatia in that respect confronts a certain number of challenges. This gap could be bridged only through well-judged investments in the human resources.