Policy Background

The main policy programs that shaped R&D and innovation policy in Croatia include the following:

The Strategy for Education, Science and Technology was adopted by the Government of Croatia in October 2014. The Strategy is a comprehensive document, mainly focused on all levels of the educational system but the last part is devoted to science and technology and emphasises several R&I related objectives.

The Strategy for innovation encouragement of Croatia 2014 - 2020 was adopted in December 2014. Its main objective is to increase the level of competitiveness of the Croatian economy and increase social well-being. The document entails a list of around 40 guidelines structured around four thematic pillars:

  • Development of the innovation system and setting up a legal and fiscal framework to encourage innovation;
  • Strengthening the innovation potential of the economy;
  • Encouraging cooperation and knowledge flows between business and academia;
  • Strengthening of the human resources in innovation and creation of an attractive environment for world-class researchers.

The Croatian Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) was officially adopted in April 2016. The document sets out the priorities in a number of areas for the period 2016-2020. It was published together with the Action Plan for 2016 and 2017 which envisages a series of actions such as: mapping of R&I capacities in research and business sectors, establishment of Innovation networks for industry, creation of thematic innovation councils, etc. The strategy is one of the preconditions for withdrawing resources from EU funds, and it contains goals and priority activities linked to research, development, and innovation commercialization.

The Croatian Research and Innovation Infrastructures Roadmap was adopted in April 2014. The document has the purpose to identify research potential in Croatia in order to direct further development of research infrastructures. The Roadmap should reflect and ensure support for the implementation of measures included in the Strategy for Education, Science and Technology, the National Innovation Strategy and Smart Specialisation Strategy. The Roadmap is a living document which means it will be continuously updated, taking into account recent developments in the national R&I system and financial feasibility.

Strategy for Transport Development 2014 – 2030 presents a vision of upgrading Croatian economy and development through intermodal, sustainable, effective and safe transport system. It provides a framework for the development of Croatia's transport sector. The strategy defines 16 goals, 37 specific goals and 118 measures divided into six transport sectors - rail, road, air, sea and river, public city, local and regional transport.

Other important transport policy and planning documents are:

Maritime Development and Integrated Maritime Policy Strategy of the Republic of Croatia 2014 - 2020

Nautical tourism development strategy of The Republic of Croatia 2009 – 2019

Institutional framework of transport research

The Ministry of Science and Education (MSE) is a pillar institution of the science system in Croatia. It bears responsibility for all the stages of education, research and promotes research-based technology development and communication and information activities. Its main mission regarding scientific research is to create and implement national scientific research policy as a framework for overall development of science in Croatia. MSE takes decisions on allocation of the State budget resources to national scientific research organisations.

The National Council for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development is the highest advisory body for scientific research, higher education and technology in Croatia. Besides being the principal advisory body for the respective domains, the Council commonly performs other activities, such as: proposes budget for scientific and higher education activities; gives approval on the establishment of Centres of excellence; establishes requirements to be fulfilled by PROs and HEIs in order to obtain authorisation for selecting and awarding scientific titles and teaching positions in accordance with the Law on Science and Higher Education.

The Croatian Science Foundation was established in December 2001. Its mission is to promote science, higher education and technological development in Croatia in order to ensure the development of economy and to support employment. The Foundation provides support to scientific, higher education and technological programmes and projects, fosters international cooperation, and helps the realisation of scientific programmes of special interest in the fields of fundamental, applied and developmental research.

The Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure is the state administration body responsible for maritime, inland waterways, road, rail and air transport, cableways, postal services, electronic communications and pertaining infrastructure. The Ministry is also responsible for the protection of sea from pollution from ships and maritime domain. It prepares strategic documents and legislative proposals concerning the mentioned areas, monitors the implementation of the legislation in those areas and organises preparation of strategic infrastructure projects and programmes for all transport modes, that are considered of special importance for the Republic of Croatia.

Thematic areas/topics

Transport and mobility is one of the 5 thematic priority areas within S3 strategy with its 3 sub-thematic priority areas:

(1) Added value manufacturing of road and rail vehicles parts and systems

(2) Environment-friendly transport solutions

(3) Intelligent transport systems and logistics

Funding Sources and Support Initiatives

Funding for the transport-related RDI projects should be incorporated in the Croatian State Budget, and provided from the Croatian Science Foundation programmes, the European structural funds and programmes, and international research and innovation projects.

The financial framework of the ESIF for the transport sector is provided within the Operational Programme Competitiveness and cohesion for the period from 2014 to 2020 under Priority Axis 7 - Connectivity and mobility.