Increasing Montenegrin capacities for participation in Horizon 2020

Podgorica – 1 November 2017 - The final conference marking activities in the Framework Programme “Increasing Montenegrin capacities for participation in Horizon 2020”, organised by the Ministry of Science and the European Commission, has been held in Podgorica. In the presence of interested scientists and potential participants of the programme, the results achieved in the project over the last 10 months were presented. The future beneficiaries of Horizon 2020 participated in a workshop with the theme of identifying future needs in the field of preparing project ideas, project implementation and responses to future challenges within Horizon 2020.

The Head of the Cooperation Section at the EUD to Montenegro, Hermann Spitz, emphasised that “the EU Research Framework programme – best known as Horizon 2020 – is a keystone of the EU’s community programmes. With an €80 billion envelope over 7 years, it is one of the largest sources of support to facilitate the most talented European researchers to actively work together across borders and to share ideas, new projects and innovation.”

“It is also a very competitive instrument, as research institutions and enterprises from all over Europe and associate countries can access these funds.This is why, despite numerous efforts, Montenegro has yet to use the programme to its full capacity,” said Spitz.

According to Spitz, Montenegro has taken up this challenge very seriously. Montenegro’s results under the 7th framework programme for research (the precursor to Horizon 2020) were positive, and the competitiveness of the new envelope should not deter the Montenegrin research sector, but rather encourage it to do more and to do it better.

“This is why the EU and the Ministry of Science have agreed on the need for an intervention that will boost the capacities of scientific research institutions and SMEs to access these funds, and we are pleased to have supported this technical assistance project, whose work comes to a close today,” evaluated Spitz.

Spitz also explained that the project team had a double task: “Which was, on one hand, to organise a number of training sessions for those scientific organisations interested in accessing H2020, and on the other, on-the-job assistance was also provided to some of these scientific organisations to develop or finalise their project applications for the upcoming H2020 calls.”

The achieved results from the Montenegrin side have been more than satisfactory. Direct expert support for developing project ideas for 10 Montenegrin institutions has been provided, while more than 80 people participated in the second component of the project, the general training for Horizon 2020.

“The objective of the implementation of this project was not only the mere fulfilment of indicators, but also its sustainability. It seems to me that the project has already begun to generate results in terms of new statistics on the participation of Montenegrin institutions in the Horizon 2020 programme and the use of funds through this programme,” said Darko Petrusic, the Director General of the Ministry of Science.

Practical implementation of the project “Increasing Montenegrin capacities for participation in Horizon 2020” started on 18 January 2017 and was due to last for 10 months. The total project budget of €299,000 was financed by the European Union and Montenegro under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).