ERKC

Energy Research Knowledge Centre

Croatia

Research themes and prioritisation

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According to the strategic priorities of the National Scientific Council, one of the nine long-term strategic research goals of Croatia falls under the heading  ‘energy, alternative and renewable energy sources (RES), transport and security’. Meanwhile, energy and materials are among the country’s short-term strategic priorities. To achieve energy development goals in line with the government’s Strategic Development Framework 2007–2013, the strategic plans of the National Science Foundation and the National Energy Efficiency Programme for 2008–2016, the following themes are priorities in R&D:

  • potential for biogas from organic waste;
  • sustainability of production and use of biofuels, and distribution of biofuels;
  • new technology for RES (solar, wind, waves, biomass, etc.); and
  • new and more efficient machinery, materials and construction technologies.

Organisation of research

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The Ministry of Science, Education and Sport (MSES); the Croatian Science Foundation (CSF); the National Scientific Council (NSC); and the Agency for Science and Higher Education (ASHE) are the key institutions in this sector. The Science and Higher Education Funding Council, administered within the ASHE and composed of representatives from science and business, proposes the criteria for budgetary financing of scientific activity to the NSC. The NSC, in turn, makes the crucial decisions on distribution of public research funding through MSES. National energy priorities – including for R&D – are defined by the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning. Scientific activity is performed by universities, public and private institutes and other legal entities in the Register of Scientific and Research Entities maintained by the MSES.

Fundamental scientific research dominates, with a high level of specialisation among institutions. As a result, energy efficiency is not fully covered by any single research institution, but is fragmented into specialised research under headings such as chemical engineering, earth sciences, hydropower and construction materials.


Figure 1: Organisation of science and technology R&D in Croatia.

ASHE: Agency for Science and Higher Education; BICRO: Business Innovation Agency of Croatia; CSF: Croatian Science Foundation; HIT:Croatian Institute of Technology; MCPP: Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning; MINGO: Ministry of Economy; NSC: National Science Council; SHEFC: Science and Higher Education Funding Council.

Programmes and budgets

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Budget overview

Financial support for scientific development comes primarily from the state budget, with constantly increasing allocations for the science sector. The key national funding instruments for R&D support in Croatia are the permanent funding programmes of the MSES and the National Science Foundation, both financed from the state budget. However, no specific funding quotas are established for separate research sectors. Spending is recorded according to scientific discipline (humanities, technological science, chemical science, etc.), not by sectors of activity, so the below data is based on analysing individual research projects/programmes through statistical reviews.

Table 1: Actual State Budget spending for energy research (in €).

Source: State Bureau of Statistics

The total national budget spent on energy research in the period 2009–2011 was €1 180 000. The budget for energy research in 2012 was planned at €1 306 000 (according to statistical reports), but exact expenditure figures are not yet available. Data on funding for individual energy sources such as wind and solar cannot be obtained since research funding records are not split according to these categories. Data on private funding for energy research within SMEs for their own use is not available.

Table 2: The main energy research programmes in Croatia.

* Estimate based on funding trends for energy research from the previous period.
** Allocated to energy-related research projects from the total funding pool.

Programmes and initiatives

Scientific Projects (S Projects)

Znanstveni Projekti (Z Projekti)

This is a permanent scheme for funding scientific research programmes and projects. In line with national research priorities, this programme also supports research in electrical energy and RES. All financing goes through public calls for grants, which are monitored and periodically evaluated.

Collaborative Research Programme (CRP)

Suradni Istraživački Programi (SIP)

This programme provides three-year funding for collaborative projects involving multiple research groups representing two or more different legal entities. They must have a history of previous collaboration. New energies, RES, materials and new production technologies are among the priorities for funding. The programme promotes joint research, applied research and interdisciplinary cooperation.

National govermment departments

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Ministry of Science, Education and Sport (MSES)

Ministarstvo Znanosti, Obrazovanja i Sporta

Within the science sector, the Ministry’s tasks include developing science and technology; supporting and supervising the work of scientific actors; coordinating funding for research programmes and projects; planning and coordinating the technological development of Croatia; and monitoring and coordinating international scientific exchange and cooperation, including Croatian participation in EU research funding programmes.

Ministry of Economy (MINGO)

Ministarstvo Gospodarstva (MINGO)

The Ministry of Economy sets energy policy and energy efficiency targets and monitors progress towards them. The Ministry also deals with the development and advancement of Croatian economic competitiveness; economic policy instruments and measures; industrial policy and infrastructure; innovation and new technologies; intellectual and industrial property rights; and facilitating and encouraging investment and export.

Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning (MCPP)

Ministarstvo Graditeljstva i Prostornoga Uređenja

One of the responsibilities of this ministry is energy efficiency in the building sector. This includes setting targets and monitoring progress towards national energy efficiency targets for both new buildings and retrofits. This ministry also manages the energy performance certification system.

National research programme management agencies

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Business Innovation Agency of Croatia (BICRO)

Poslovno Inovacijska Agencija Republike Hrvatske (PIARH)

This government agency implements support programmes for technology development and innovation. Its work focuses on two strands: financing R&D projects in the private sector, and financing competitive research and technological infrastructure development projects in public institutions. The Agency runs five permanent funding programmes, although none focuses specifically on energy. One programme, IRCRO, is oriented toward R&D.

Croatian Science Foundation (CSF)

Hrvatska Zaklada za Znanost (HZZ)

The CSF provides financial support to scientific, higher education and technology programmes and projects in two broad areas: scientific programmes of special interest in fundamental research, applied research or development; and matching funds for EU-funded research programmes. The CSF specifically focuses on research entities outside the state budget system. ‘New Energies and RES’ and ‘Materials and New Production Technologies’ are among the 10 funding priorities of the Foundation.

National Science Council (NSC)

Nacionalno Vijeće za Znanost (NVZ)

The National Science Council is the highest professional body responsible for the development and overall quality of science in Croatia. Among other tasks the NSC discusses issues of importance to science and proposes improvement measures, gives opinions on ordinances governing research organisation, and monitors the development of Croatian science.

Agency for Science and Higher Education (ASHE)

Agencije za Znanost i Visoko Obrazovanje (AZVO)

Established in 2005, the Agency for Science and Higher Education is responsible for quality assurance in higher education and science in Croatia. It administers the Science and Higher Education Funding Council, which proposes criteria for budgetary financing of scientific activity, including research on energy, to the NSC.

Funding organisations at national level

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Croatian Institute of Technology (HIT)

Hrvatski Institut za Tehnologiju (HIT)

This government institute, founded in 2006, provides financial, technical and advisory support for development and technology research in Croatia, monitors and anticipates global technological trends, provides advice and support in intellectual property and technology transfer issues, supports participation in European R&D projects, and promotes Croatian technological and research potential at international level.