Establishing a Competitive Research Environment

The cost of this component is €5,966,820 which covers the following:

  • Establishment of a Pilot Centre of Excellence;
  • Supporting Collaborative Research and Development Subprojects; and
  • Technical Assistance to Strengthen the Design and Implementation of the Research Grant Program.

Establishing Center of Excellence (CoEs) in scientific research is a core component of the Government of Montenegro science and innovation strategy, as articulated in the 2010 Law on Scientific Research Activity. The establishment of CoE will help to upgrade Montenegro’s science and technology infrastructure in the areas where the scientific and economic potential are the highest, thereby enhancing the quality and relevance of research and development (R&D) outputs and increasing cooperation with the private sector and foreign research institutions.

The pilot CoE is to be selected through a competitive process and the total grant amount will be €3,704,000.00. Existing licensed scientific research institutions are to compete in consortia to establish this CoE. The proposals are to be assessed by high level international reviewers coming from the appropriate scientific and thematic fields. The project grant for the pilot CoE will finance, inter alia, the upgrading of the facilities and the purchase of scientific equipment, provide technical assistance and training to the management and staff of the CoE to strengthen strategic areas (particularly project management, monitoring and evaluation, intellectual property rights and technology transfer, entrepreneurship promotion), and fund the development of partnerships with private sector and international research centers.

Additionally, to strengthen research and development capacity in the national innovation system, the HERIC Project will support the establishment of a competitive grants program funding larger, more impactful R&D activities that can lead to international collaboration and generate commercial innovations. The grants will be awarded to researchers in Montenegrin research institutions that apply to initiate Collaborative Research and Development Subprojects together with international and national partners. The allocation will take place through calls for proposals administered by the MoS. An Evaluation Committee of recognized international experts will evaluate the subproject proposals based on defined criteria, including the quality of the proposals, the capacity of the research teams and the expected scientific and technological results. The grant for each subproject will be between €150,000 and €400,000 for a period of up to three years, which will cover, inter alia, salaries for the subproject leaders, young researchers and technicians, materials and equipment, etc.

The new funding stream is expected to lead to an increase in the R&D-to-GDP ratio while raising the quality of public expenditure in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).