New projects launched for returnees and cooperation with Croatian Diaspora totaling to HRK 8.5 million
In July this year the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports has signed the agreements for implementation of nine scientific and technological projects of the Unity Through Knowledge Fund (UKF), to be financed under the Scientific Cooperation Program.
The funds are aimed to support outstanding Croatian scientists and professionals working and living abroad (Diaspora) in establishing scientific cooperation with local scientists, as well as to foster Croatian institutions and enterprises to use the potential of Croatian scientific and professional Diaspora.
Within the Scientific Cooperation Program by now 26 projects have been financed in the total amount of HRK 29,3 mil.
Under this call for Scientific Cooperation Program, 36 project applications have been received, out of which 9 projects have been selected for financing with assistance of over 120 outstanding specialists in a particular area, with 97% of them are coming from abroad. Apart from reviewers, two committees of the Fund participated in selection of projects eligible for financing as well. This will allow for the scientific and technological excellence of the project, and conform with the Fund’s goals, such as supporting research competitive at the international level, research generating new values in the Croatian economy and contributing to the development of the Croatian scientific system. The approval rate in this call for proposals amounted to 25%.
Projects will attract promising scientific and technological research projects to Croatian companies and institutions together with additional financing both from international sources and from the industry, their accompanying knowledge, technology and potential research results.
Since December 2007. until July 2010. 67 scientific and technological research projects were launched, out of which 53 projects are still ongoing and the funds contracted amount to HRK 37 mil provided from the World Bank loan. 9 scientists, both young and experienced ones, have returned to Croatia, and an even more important result was achieved by developing joint scientific and technological projects of the institutions and companies in Croatia with the established Croatian scientists from the world renowned international institutions (Yale University, ETH, Zürich-a, Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden). Through those collaborations, additional financing both from international sources (for instance FP7) and the industry (HRK 11 mil) was enabled.
The Programs of the Fund are especially aimed at young scientists to enable and encourage them to improve their knowledge and skills, to make new contacts and networks, in cooperation with the Diaspora but also with the intenational scientific community. Out of 389 scientists and experts who participate in the projects of UKF Fund, 107 are foreign scientists, while there are 110 phD students and 32 postdoc students.
This kind of financing enabled 21 young scientist from Croatia to visit the excellent research and development facilities abroad, and opened opportunities for 20 young scientists to lead their research programs for the first time autonomously in order to acquire new skills necessary for advancing S&T competitiveness in Croatia.
In May last year „Unity Through Knowledge Fund" was chosen to be presented as a Success Story at Regional and National Level at the European Regional Economic forum '09, an organization whose activity is aimed at raising awareness on the strategic importance of the implementation of Lisabon agenda, with the programme title „Developing human capital and managing migration for more competitive European regions“. Also, "Unity Through Knowledge Fund" was elected by the International Labor Organization as an example of good practice in promoting the linkages between migration and development.