News archive - Draft of science and technological development strategy of the Republic of Serbia 2009-2014 published

The draft, which is prepared for public debate has been published at the end of June 2009 by the Ministry for Science and Technological Development. has compiled an extract of this draft version. The strategy addresses current key callenges of the local R&D community and proposes measures to resolve the issues which were identified. Public debate will take place until the end of September. Comments can be given at The strategy is expected to be adopted in the first quarter of 2010.

"Although public R&D expenditures have been rising since 2001, to reach 100 MEUR in 2008, its percentage of GDP stagnated (0.35% in 2003, 0.28% in 2008), to one of the lowest in the developed world, according to OECD Science Scoreboard for 2007. However, when other sources of income (other than budgetary) are taken into account, 1.3% of GDP is reached.

Higher-education institutions received 23 billion dinars of budgetary financing in 2008 and earned about 12 billion apart from that, which makes up intotal 1,3% of GDP

Budgetary funding for R&D is predominantly spent on basic research (50.2% in 2008), followed by technological development (39.2%). Three of the most funded disciplines of the basic research are chemistry (9.3 MEUR), social sciences (8.7 MEUR) and biology (8.4 MEUR), followed by physics, history, medicine, etc. In technological development, great most of the budgetary funds are invested in biotechnics (14.1 MEUR), followed by energy and EE (4 MEUR), electronics, transport and others.

Besides funding, two of the most threatening issues of Serbian R&D landscape are ageing and intellectual property importance unawareness.

Science and technology as basis for sustainable economy and society

Ultimate goal is to create effective and efficient national innovation system, implementing a synergy between knowledge users and knowledge creators, at national, regional and international level. Innovation system will be implemented through a partnership between institutes and universities, ministry of education and other ministries, industry, scientific diaspora, international R&D institutions and society, in general.

New system on intellectual property, which will include R&D based intellctual property is expected to motivate both researchers and industry to apply for patents and share both risk and royalties of joint research outcomes. By a new law on intellectual property, innovation will belong to institution, where royalty revenues will be regulated with contract with condition that at least 20% of royalties will go to the institution and at least 30%, to inventor and team members.

Focus at national priorities

While it is proposed to maintain the existing level of basic research in all disciplines, it is strategically decided that investment in applied and development research should be increased, with a clear and measurable goal. Also, future development system should based upon selected national priorities. Priorities are selected on basis of different criterias, such as: being in line with other national strategies, improved chances on succesful participation in ERA, number and quality of current human resources (including scientific diaspora), required level of future investments needed to reach relevant success, applicability in industry (Serbian and abroad), international cooperation potential, importance for polivy making capacity and affirmation of national identity.

Seven national R&D priorities are proposed:

  •   Biomedicine and human health
  •   New materials and nanosciences
  •   Environment protection and climate change
  •   Agriculture and food
  •   Energy and energy efficiency
  •   Information and communication technologies
  •   Improvement of public policy making processes and affirmation of national identity

For each of the priorities, priority topics are defined. Also, a strong message to those who are not listed in national priorities is issued, enclosing continuing support, equal judgement criteria, equal access to infrastructure and equipment. However, it is found that already half of Serbian R&D capacity is involved in research of some of the defined priorities.

Strategy implementation

Main concepts for strategy implementation are: system improvement and partnership.

Identification, development and support for talented young researchers is of crucial importance. Besides moving more focus to existing focal points, such as science competitions, science centers, scholarships and non-commerical housing, strategy foresees implementing legal changes to stabilize employment status and solving the problem of social and health insurance for PhD students and more financial support. Specifically, beside Petnica science center, strategy announce building of new science center in Belgrade, with activities throughout Serbia. With goal to popularize science and improve recruitment of young researchers, strategy calls for closer collaboration with media.

By next year, a mid term plan for enrollment to higher education will be quantitatively determined. A plan will follow the concepts of increasing the number of students in natural sciences in engineering, public agreement of 5-year funding plan and matching the number of PhD students with priorities.

The evaluation of scientists will continue to focus on the quality of publications but will be complemented with more qualitative measures and will match national priorities. Specific evaluation system will be introduced for social sciences and humanities, within developed network of qualified referees. Also, strategy emphasize the need to valorize researchers involvement in science promotion. For the purpose of evaluation, an international refereeing system will be established where the capacity of our research diaspora will also be used.

System of financing will be more flexible and will gradually reflect the national priorities. From 2010, Ministry will be announcing calls specifically for projects in priority fields. All financing contracts, where appropriate, will provide career and monetary incentives to deposit and register patents, as well as funding. Similarly to FP7, funds for results dissemination will be provided in each project. Multidisciplinary projects will be initiated, a part of the funding will be awarded to an industry for joint projects with academia, evaluation system will be adapted to support the initiatives of individuals and teams, as well as to introduced more flexibility regarding deadlines, team size, project duration, etc. Although it is foreseen that more financing for field work in social sciences and humanities will be introduced, with additional benefits for finalizing major national projects, social sciences institutions network will be rationalized.

Rationalization will be applied to R&D institional network in general, in order to achieve a critical mass of researchers in individual organizations. Also, rationalization effects are expected to be achieved through mandatory cooperation of conected instutes and faculties with goal to achieve optimal usage of equipment. Finally, ministries of education and science will establish close coordination in optimization of national R&D system. One of the expected practical outcomes of strategy implementation is integrated database of researchers, publications, projects and institutions.

Private based research will be motivated by number of measures, such as: two year social contribution waivedfor MSc. and PhDs employed by private sector and tax break for money spent by SMEs and private companies on services of the Serbian scientific community.

Partnership with the scientific diaspora will be established through joint projects. Possibilities will be opened up for researchers living abroad to be part of national projects and a human resources program for the return of Serbian scientists living abroad will be conducted. Ministry of science will work on finalization of database of Serbian researchers living and working abroad.

With regard to international collaboration, strategy calls for: proactive deepening of links with institutions leading FP7 projects with Serbian participation, more support for Serbian teams with FP7 coordinations, proposals to leading institutions in priority fields (joint postdoctoral studies, exchanges, joint projects) and sets the goal of becoming a CERN member State by 2011.

In order to prepare for full integration into European Union, strategy foresees a joint project with the Serbian Statistical Office to implement Eurostat and OECD reporting standards by 2012.

Investment goals

Strategy calls for increase and diversification of R&D expenditure and investment of 300 MEUR by 2014 in infrastructure exclusively. It assumes that this investment volume would be sufficient to reach total budgetary R&D expenditures of 1% of GDP by that time.

Through a joint loan with the European Investment Bank, World Bank and other international financial institutionsand donations (IPA,...), a total of 300 million euros will be invested in several key infrastructure projects for science and technology in Serbia:

1. Upgrading existing capacities (70 MEUR)
2. Development of human capital (33 MEUR)
3. Development of centers of excellence and academic research centers (60 MEUR)
4. Development of ICT infrastructure (50-80 MEUR)
5. Creation of a knowledge based economy (30 MEUR)
6. Basic infrastructure projects (80 MEUR)

More detailed structure of Serbian R&D infrastructure investment initiative can be found on this page.

Upcoming activities

Implementation is led by ministry in charge of science with Ministry of education, Ministry of economy, representatives of other ministries, National council for science and technology, National council for higher education, Serbian academy of sciences and arts and foreign and domestic companies.

Public debate will take place until the end of September. Comments can be given at and action plan will be formulated by the end of the year, including coordinating activities with other ministries and industry.

By the end of 2009, a new legal framework will be adopted with changes to the Law on research, new laws on innovation, intellectual property, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Joint work with the Ministry of education on the new Law on higher education by the end of the year is foreseen. Also, in the last quarter of 2009, it is expected that negotiations with EIB and 2010 budget will be finalized.

Strategy is expected to be adopted in the first quarter of 2010."

Source:, excerpt and translation by Milan Zdravkovic

Link to the official draft, published by Ministry of Science and Technological Development:

Geographical focus
  • Serbia

Entry created by Elke Dall on July 8, 2009
Modified on July 8, 2009