At its 47th meeting, the Committee on Economy, Finance and Budget held a consultative hearing on: ″Role of the Ministry of Science in promoting scientific research projects of national importance″, with the aim of presenting projects of national and international importance, as well as obtaining expert opinions and necessary information on total investments in the science field.
Opening the meeting, Chairperson of the Committee Mr Radule Novović reminded that, after the previous control hearing of the Minister of Science on the topic "Investing in Science in Montenegro: implemented vs planned”, the Committee on Education, Science, Culture and Sports had pointed to the necessity to follow up and intensify activities implemented by the Ministry with the aim of preventing brain drain, so to contribute to development of science in Montenegro. In this respect, the participants were dealing with the issue of how to recognise scientific research projects of national importance which would involve high quality young people, whose education was funded by the state and who should be kept in Montenegro.
He stressed that it was important to invest in the field of science, because that was the only manner to provide benefits to the research community and prevent brain drain, for the purpose of contributing to the development of this important field. He also emphasised that facilitating participation in international projects, with leading European teams, could slow down the outflow of the talented, if, in doing so, young people were provided with the conditions to carry out most of their research in Montenegro.
In her introductory remarks, Ministry of Science, Ms Sanja Damjanović, said that scientific research had certainly not been a goal in and of itself, but the goal was the overall development of society. She reminded that the Government of Montenegro had adopted the Smart Specialisation Strategy of Montenegro (2019-2024), thus, Montenegro joined the European Union initiative to promote a new model of economic development, based on support for research and innovation activities. This strategy represents innovative approach, aimed at boosting competition domestically and at international level. In this regard, she said that smart specialisation would move Montenegro in terms of connecting and strengthening cooperation between business, economy and academia, while young people would be interested in areas where they need to invest energy in order to be competent in the labour market. The areas of focus for smart specialisation will be: renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture and the food value chain, new materials, sustainable technologies, sustainable and health tourism, information and communication technologies, etc. She also said that a functional innovation instrument was based on three elements, whereby the financial, inter alia, relates to the awarding of attractive scholarships for doctoral research; innovative - to the construction of the Science and Technology Park of Montenegro (as a place where scientific and technological companies of great potential will gather); as well as legislative - relating to the passage of the Incentive Measures Law for the development of research and innovation.
Members of the Committee and other participants in the consultative hearing posed questions regarding the following:
- The activities of the Ministry of Science, as well as the benefits for the state as a result of the implementation of the regional project for the establishment of the South East European International Institute for Sustainable Technologies (SEEIIST) - "Hadron Cancer Therapy and Biomedical Research with Protons and Heavy Ions" and the project of the Science and Technology park of Montenegro;
- Favouring of private faculties over faculties of the University of Montenegro when it comes to holding scientific events and other activities implemented by the Ministry of Science, as well as selective support to certain professors in relation to cooperation with international scientific institutions, participation of researchers at relevant scientific conferences and publication of scientific papers in indexed scientific journals;
- Financing doctoral studies for physicians educated outside Montenegro, investing in laboratories, equipment, the university library, etc., as well as the possibility of increasing the salaries of university professors and other scientists;
- Informing the interested public about the programs and projects of the Ministry of Science and activities in order to promote research and innovation, i.e. scientific and research projects;
- Cooperation with the scientific diaspora, records of the number of international researchers and innovators, inter-institutional cooperation, opening of the office for young scientists in the north and south of Montenegro and the total number of projects related to the field of tourism and hospitality industry.
Minister of Science, Ms Sanja Damjanović, answered all the questions, with the conclusion that there was a need to work on strengthening inter-institutional cooperation with the aim of promoting scientific and research projects and recalled that in December 2019 the Ministry of Science published the paper – Scientific and research and Innovative Projects of the Ministry of Science, with the aim to make the projects funded through multiple policies of the Ministry more visible, with the intention of providing new ways of collaboration nationally and internationally.
In addition to the members of the Committee, the meeting was attended by: Minister of Science, Ms Sanja Damjanović, State Secretary for Innovation of the Ministry of Science, Mr Saša Ivanović, Director of the Centre for Improving Quality of the University of Montenegro, Ms Sanja Peković, MP and Teaching Associate at the University of Montenegro, Mr Dragutin Papović, Vice-Rector for Education at the University of Mediteran, Mr Darko Lacmanović, Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, at the University of Montenegro, Mr Živko Andrijašević, Teaching Associate at the University of Montenegro, Mr Adnan Prekić, Teaching Associate at the University of Montenegro, Mr Milan Šćekić, Professor at the University of Donja Gorica, Ms Aleksandra Martinović, Professor at the University of Donja Gorica, Mr Tomo Popović and General Manager of the University of Donja Gorica, Ms Sandra Tinaj.