OP "Competitiveness and Cohesion" 2014 - 2020

Allocation from European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) for Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion (OPCC) 2014 - 2020 is 6.8bn EUR, presenting significant means of addressing the needs and opportunities within critical policy sectors of Croatia's socio-economic development. Allocation from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is around 4.3bn EUR, combined with 2.5bn EUR of Cohesion fund (CF).

These commitments per each Priority Axis (PA) respectively, are consistent with the foreseen thematic concentration on a limited number of thematic objectives (TOs) and investment priorities (IPs), with focus on achieving set specific objectives (SOs), in order to maximise the contribution to Cohesion policy and Europe2020's goals and reach critical mass of support.

The required financial resources at Investment priority (IP) level are driven not only by applicable provisions on thematic concentration, regarding both of Croatia's less developed regions, but also by strategic objectives of the national development plans, regional development policies and sectoral strategies. The decisions on the funding priorities have also been shaped on the results achieved during 2007 - 2013 and the challenging financial and economic context. Estimates of the costs of implementation and administration of proposed activities have also been taken into account. Under OPCC, about 57% of ERDF resources are allocated to supporting Research and development (R&D), technological development and innovation, the digital agenda, the competitiveness of Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and the shift to low-carbon economy, which presents about 12% of SF allocation to Croatia. Under PA1, 15.4% of total ERDF funding under OPCC will be allocated to respectively TO1 IPs: la and lb. Spending will contribute to the achievement of the national Research, development and innovation (RDI) headline target, increase the investments in R&D to 1.4% of Gross domestic product  (GDP) by 2020 and will be aligned with strategic objectives to improve R&D rate of return and innovation performance and achieve measured productivity growth.

In OPCC Ministry of Science and Education is acting as Intermediary body level 1 for Priority Axis 1 (PA1) - Strengthening the Economy through Application of Research and Innovation; Thematic objective 01 - Strengthening research, technological development and innovation; Investment priority 1a - Enhancing research and innovation (R&I) infrastructure and capacities to develop R&I excellence, and promoting centres of competence, in particular those of European interest;  Specific objective 1a1 - Increased R&D capacities of R&D sector to perform excellent research and to serve the needs of economy. Financial allocation from ERDF for Specific objective 1a1 Increased R&D capacities of R&D sector to perform excellent research and to serve the needs of economy is 334.321,739 EUR.

Some actions to be supported under Investment Priority 1a:

  • Investments into R&D&I infrastructure (construction of new, renovation and development of existing R&D&I infrastructure, including equipment needed) which will enable organizational reform (well defined research agenda, mission and governance), thereby boosting their capabilities. It is also planned to invest into e-infrastructure due to the fact that information and communication technologies (ICT) became inevitable asset in development of R&D&I capacities and capabilities, and their cohesion with education. Main beneficiaries identified within this action are Research Organization (ROs), science-technology parks and regional and local self-government units. The support will be directed to projects of strategic importance that implement priorities set in Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3), having the national and international character identified in the Croatian Research and Innovation Infrastructures Roadmap, and which present a committed research agenda.
  • Development of all project documentation needed for the successful application and further implementation of R&D&I infrastructural projects which were first pre-selected based on pre-selection criteria.

Beneficiaries of this action will also be ROs, science technology parks and regional and local self-government units.

  • Science and technology foresight (STF) with the aim to enable the systematic analysis of science and technology potentials of the Republic of Croatia. Support will be provided for further mapping and assessing the capacities of R&D&I sector. This will be developed by investing into integrated, coherent and permanently updated database which compiles set of statistical data and an indicator which is fundamental for evidence based policy development. STF needs to be implemented in close cooperation with ˝Technology platforms˝ (IP1b). The beneficiary of this action will be the Ministry of Science and Education.
  • Support to R&D&I projects of Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE), of national and European importance, in particular research projects undertaken on the frontier of the particular scientific field. This will include activities such as cooperation between partners, knowledge transfer, development of human potential in related areas and the purchase of equipment necessary to carry out individual projects. Financing will be provided for a long term resources for carrying out ambitious, complex research projects. Priority will be given to the projects developing the international cooperation. Beneficiaries: national CoREs.
  • Grant schemes for R&D&I projects, where ROs work together or with business entity. The aim is to build capacities of ROs by enhancing the impact of R&D&I on economic growth and improving the R&D&I productivity and technological dissemination. The successful projects will have to demonstrate that there is a demand for project results in the business sector and/or society. Beneficiaries: ROs. Partners: ROs or enterprises.
  • •Support to Technology Transfer Offices (TTOs) projects, implementation of complex knowledge and technology transfer services, this includes activities such as: improving access and knowledge of business sector in the area of technology and business development services, upgrade of technology transfer activities from Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Public Research Organization (PROs) towards industry/business, improvement of the Intellectual Property (IP) strategic management, and improvement of HEIs and PROs capacities related to knowledge and transfer activities. With these activities TTOs will encourage public ROs and private sector to work together in the process of converting scientific results into useful products and/or services for society.

Beneficiaries: Technology transfer offices

The interventions foreseen under this SO are complementary to Croatian priorities within Horizon 2020 and other initiatives focused on research infrastructure and spreading excellence. In order to enable synergies between actions envisaged through SO 1.a.1 and HORIZON 2020 three scenarios are envisaged under this SO: (i) to ensure needed equipment for projects financed under initiatives for spreading excellence (ii) to build stairway to research excellence by financing projects that did not receive funding under European Research Council (ERC) but were shortlisted (positively evaluated in second stage of evaluation process) (iii) to introduce in the selection procedure additional scores for projects that were evaluated positively but were not financed under standard collaborative R&I actions for societal challenges. The effects of actions taken under this Investment Priority should be perceived not only in the context of creating conditions for better functioning of the R&D sector, but also as contribution to the process of building knowledge-based economy in Croatia that uses its resources efficiently, i.e. from the perspective of benefits to enterprises and the society in general.

Target groups: students, scientists, researchers, and enterprises (business sector).

All relevant documents and information needed are available on internet site specialized for EU funds.