The fifth meeting of “Higher Education and Research for Innovation and Competitiveness” project Steering Committee, coordinated by Ministry of Education and Ministry of Science, was held on Wednesday, 2 December 2015.

Minister of science, Sanja Vlahović, PhD, who chaired the meeting, expressed happiness about the pace of the implementation of this extremely significant project and commended efforts and results achieved so far. Furthermore, she particularly underlined the significance of support of all institutions included in project activities.

Project director, Mr. Darko Petrušić, presented the members of the Steering Committee with the activities which have been implemented to this point within the four components of the project, both in the area of science and the area of education. He pointed out that 8 student hostels on 4 locations have been funded through this project, specifically in: Podgorica, Nikšić, Cetinje and Kotor, with the total worth of 1.35 million euro; the first National Scholarships Programme for Master, PhD and Postdoctoral studies has been successfully implemented, funding 67 candidates, 38 on Master’s studies, 25 on PhD studies and 4 on Postdoctoral studies, who will receive education at prestigious foreign educational institutions. In addition, the first Centre of Excellence in Montenegro known as BIO-ICT, worth 3.4 million euro, is funded as a result of this project. The holder of this project is Faculty of Electrical Engineering of Montenegro, and it involves 8 partners, 2 research institutions from the country, 2 partners from the economy and 2 foreign partners. The renovation of 2 new laboratories is underway, as well as the procurement of scientific and research equipment for 6 laboratories (4 existing ones and 2 new ones). Through the HERIC Project, the Ministry of Science has funded 8 large collaboration research grants, having the total worth of 2.6 million euro. The project director underlined that it is very important that the selected and funded projects fall directly within the priority research areas for Montenegro, which include: medical science and people’s health, agriculture and food science, energy, information technology, sustainable development and tourism, and new materials, products and services.

Members of the Steering Committee agreed about the expressed interest to continue this project, bearing in mind the significant progress it has made, both in the area of raising the quality of higher education and in the area of science, thus they concluded that the announced visit of the World Bank, should be used to present the interest for prolonging this project and potential additional activities which would be implemented through it, in addition to presenting the results achieved so far.

Members of the Committee discussed and put forward their suggestions concerning the mentioned issues, after which they unanimously supported the plan for the period ahead.