News archive - S&T in Bosnia & Herzegovina

Due to a very complicated and unique constitutional design, some very specific issues have to be resolved in Bosnia and Herzegovina prior to its transition and final accommodation to the standards of the EU.

Situation of the Bosnian S&T Sector before and after the war:

  • In 1991, BiH invested 1.5% of its GDP in R&D activities.
  • Present funding for R&D comprises 0.05-0.15% of GDP.

The state of Bosnia and Herzegovina consists of two entities, the Republic of Srpska and the Federation of BiH. The District of Brčko is a separate administrative unit. In the Republic of Srpska there is one Ministry for Science and Technology, while in the Federation of BiH, consisting of 10 cantons with own constitutions, parliaments and governments, the Federal Ministry for Education and Science is in charge of coordinating S&T policy issues, together with the 10 cantonal ministries. Consequently, there are 12 governments within the country autonomously pursuing rather independent policies for the regulation of this sector.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through its Department for Education, Science, Culture and Sports, plays the key role in coordinating these policies within the country. Yet, its recommendations and decisions are not binding, as it has no power to impose decisions, and no funding is envisaged for the S&T sector in the state budget. At an international level, the Ministry has a mandate to take over the international obligations, but without any instruments or mandate to pursue the implementation of these obligations.
The ambition of the country to join the EU and the overall political consensus over this goal enabled a number of reforms, providing transfers of authority and competence from entity or lower levels to the state level. Since the S&T sector has not yet been recognised either by the government or by the European Commission as a key area in the Accession Process, it remained untouched by the reform processes.
If political consensus over the necessary constitutional changes is obtained after the October elections, there is a chance for BiH to get one single Ministry of Science and Technology. Prior to that, however, major disagreements over the competences and the role of this future Ministry itself will have to be resolved. A number of political factors support the idea of a full transfer of competences in this area to the ministry, but there are also strong political powers opposing the idea and insisting on a vague role of coordination for this ministry. Similar controverses surround the debate on the State Law on S&T, the first version of which is currently being drafted.
In spite of existing obstacles and with the very limited resources and competence, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina managed to incorporate the S&T sector as a separate chapter, and as a precondition of the overall social development, into the Mid-Term Development Strategy of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Ministry of Civil Affairs also managed to include S&T as one of the national priorities for future IPA funding.
In this regard, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina accepts and supports the findings by UNESCO ROSTE experts in their 2006 report “Guidelines for a Science and Research Policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina”. The report supports the idea of enabling the legal and institutional preconditions for the state to take responsibility for this sector by providing the proper legal and adequate institutional framework in order to develop a Strategy for RTD Development. In this regard, the rebuilding of the scientific and technological potential of BiH calls for the adoption of a 'road map' with three general mid-term objectives: the training of a new generation of scientists, the development of research infrastructures, and the establishment of a State Fund for R&D. A follow-up of this report is the Strategy Proposal produced by the Academy of Arts and Sciences of BiH under the title 'Strategy for the S&T Development of BiH', which will be presented soon. It is a priority task for the State of BiH to work towards the implementation of the UNESCO ROSTE Report's recommendations in order to provide the preconditions for the BiH scientific community to join the European Research Area and to be more involved in international scientific cooperation, especially concerning regional and European cooperation in research projects, funded by the European Framework Programme for RTD.

S&T management of Bosnia and Herzegovina

  1. Ministry of Civil Affairs of BiH (State level)
  2. Ministry of Education and Science of the Federation of BiH (Entity level)
  3. Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Srpska (Entity level)
  4. Ministries for Education and Science of Una-Sana, Posavina, Tuzla, Zenica-Doboj, Srednja Bosna, Hercegovina-Neretva, Zapadna Hercegovina, Sarajevo and Canton 10 (Cantonal level)
  5. Universities, Research Institutes and Research Centers
  6. Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Academy of Sciences and Arts of the Republic of Srpska, and the Croatian Society for Science and Arts

Legal Framework

Laws on R&D activities in the Republic of Srpska, in Sarajevo Canton, in Tuzla Canton, in Zenica-Doboj Canton
Law on R&D from 1990 in the Federation of BiH and in those Cantons that did not adopt the new legislation

Article published in eJournal fall 06.
Authors: Esma Hadžagić, Ministry for Civil Affairs BiH
and Ammar MiraÂsčija, NIP FP6 BiH

Entry created by Ammar Mirascija on October 13, 2006
Modified on November 10, 2006