Minister of Science Blaženka Divjak and State Secretary Tome Antičić presented the results of the New International Scholarships and Mobility Project for Experienced Researchers - NEWFELPRO on 8th of December 2017.
The NEWFELPRO project is the first and only MSCA COFUND project implemented in Croatia, but also in Southeast Europe, and the jubilee - 100th as part of the most prestigious program of the European Union, Marie Sklodowska Curie, which has become synonymous for the funding of scientific excellence in two decades of its existence, international mobility and mobility between different sectors, reminded Minister Divjak. She added that more than 145,000 researchers were funded over the period, including eight Nobel Prize winners and one Oscar-winning artist. For its implementation, the Ministry of Science and Education has been in charge for five years - from 1 January 2013 until the last day of this year when it will be officially closed. In this period, on the basis of three public calls, 76 projects were financed with a total value of 6.1 million euros. The project was financed through the Seventh Framework Program for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities (FP7). Its total value is seven million euros, and the national component finances 60 percent of the project's activities.
The Minister assessed that the NEWFELPRO project is in line with the Ministry of Science and Education development platform, in which are four major pillars - curricular reform, vocational education reform, relevant and high-quality higher education and excellence in science, including international recognition - have been specifically highlighted. One of the many project quality is also visible in the equitable participation of Croatian and foreign scientists, the minister pointed out, adding that 36 Croatian scientists have conducted research on 35 different scientific organizations around the world, with 34 researchers sitting on 21 Croatian scientific organization. That is why, assessed State Secretary Antičić, increased visibility of Croatian scientific organizations, new research networks have been created, and some foreign scientists have decided to continue their career in Croatia. The Secretary of State also believes that creating quality conditions for research is one of the ways to attract high-quality foreign scientists to Croatia.
The minister also summarized some facts about the almost completed project. She noted that more than 190 project proposals were received, more than 450 international evaluators were involved in a rigorous evaluation process in which the best projects were selected. Thanks to the experience gained, the Ministry of Science and Education, in cooperation with the Agency for Mobility and European Programs, has developed a new Action Plan for the scientific mobility for the period 2017 to 2020. She also announced that the ministry encourage more active participation in the Horizon 2020 programmes, thus envisaging the financing of short-term research visits by Croatian researchers to foreign institutions, financing of conferences and seminars, which allows, among other things, networking of researchers.
Minister Divjak argued that Croatia insists on concrete results and very 'tangible benefits' of implementing European programs in terms of people's circulation and ideas. This 'brain circulation' applies to different levels - the circulation between education, science and the economy, but also within the European Union and globally.