Why is the programme needed?
Although Croatia has made some progress, the country’s transition to a knowledge-based economy remains hampered by a low level of spending on research and development. At 0.73% of GDP, this is well below the 3% target set out in the Europe 2020 strategy – the EU’s overarching strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The country’s national economic structure is dominated by low-tech industry. And despite some reforms, the education system is still in transition - struggling to keep the pace with labour market demands as well as improve equity of access to education for all national minorities. In the long term, these challenges may lead to higher levels of unemployment and even greater segregation between the majority population and the ethnic minority groups.
What will the programme achieve?
The programme has two main aims:
Firstly, it will support the City of Šibenik in its ambition to become the Centre of Green Innovation and Industries in the Adriatic Region by 2030 by i) contributing to better specialisation in the area of green innovation and green industry and ii) contributing to improvements in education to better connect skills to the needs of the job market.
Secondly, it will contribute to post-conflict recovery by improving understanding, mutual respect and cooperation between the ethnic groups in the multi-ethnic communities of Vukovar and Knin.
How will it be achieved?
Two projects are planned under the programme:
•Establishment of the iNavis Centre for Research and Innovation and, based on a feasibility study, developing and strengthening linkages between research, higher education, technology transfer and business development;
•Establishing an integrated school in the multi-ethnic area of Vukovar and conducting a feasibility study to evaluate existing curricula and educational needs in Knin.
How will bilateral relations be strengthened?
Once the iNavis Centre for Research and Innovation has been established, efforts to develop business-to-business contacts and cooperation between the donor and beneficiary countries will be put in place and developed.
Who can apply for funding under this programme?
There will be no calls under this programme, as the support will be channelled exclusively through two pre-defined projects implemented by the City of Šibenik and by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports.
What are the partnership opportunities?
The Programme Operator will facilitate the establishment of several partnerships between the project promoters and relevant institutions in the donor countries, in particular within the iNavis project.