The Slovenia Times

EUR 70m available for smart specialisation in first phase


A total of EUR 220m will be available for the entire period.

Presenting the first call for applications, targeting companies and research institutes, Development Minister Alenka Smerkolj said the funds from the entire budget period would not be available straight away, because the ministries wanted to get an insight into the size and quality of the prepared projects.

The first call is to be published in December by the Education, Science and Sport Ministry and the Economic Development and Technology Ministry, and then another one in 2017.

If funds for the entire financial perspective were available now, no adjustments would be possible, she explained.

The Education Ministry will offer some EUR 55m in the first call, of which EUR 45m will be reserved for big projects and EUR 10m for smaller ones, State Secretary Tomaž Boh noted.

The goal is for big projects to last up to four years and be evaluated after two. If major discrepancy with the goals is detected, the funding can be cut, he explained. "It's the results that will count," he stressed.

Small projects, worth up to million euros, will last two years at the most and will be able to apply to several consecutive annual calls for applications.

The criteria will be similar to those from the research programme Horizon 2020, focusing on the project's relevancy for the implementation of the strategy, excellence (clarity, goals, ambitiousness and international potential), effect and execution, Boh said.

Sabina Koleša, in charge of the directorate for entrepreneurship, competitiveness and technology at the Economy Ministry, said the Economy Ministry would offer EUR 90m in total funds, of which EUR 12m will be available in the first and EUR 78m in the second phase.

The idea is to promote unity of research, development and innovation, from industry research to the market, among big, medium-sized and small companies.

The Economy Ministry will give emphasis to experimental development - from a prototype to production. Projects will be able to win up to EUR 500,000 in funds for the period of up to two years.

Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said investments into development were aimed at raising added value, strengthen innovation, increase exports, which is the main engine of Slovenia's economic growth, and encourage business activity.

Education, Science and Sport Minister Maja Makovec Brenčič called on the businesses and the science sphere to cooperate. "Now is the time to join forces. We will all share the responsibility," she said.

Samo Hribar Milič, the head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), meanwhile pointed out that apart from the smart specialisation strategy a smart state, tax system, staffing, development policy and internationalisation would be required for a technological breakthrough.


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