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Science boost for Montenegro

Posted on behalf of Mico Tatalovic

The government of Montenegro (marked in green on the map below) has approved its Strategy for Development and Financing of Higher Education 2011-2020, which looks set to increase funding for science in the tiny country.

Earlier this year, Montenegro separated its higher education and science ministries in the hope that this would help its drive to improve the country’s scientific research, which it sees as key to sustainable development. This followed a new science law that came into force in January, which legislates that the government should come up with a science strategy by the end of this year that would identify national priorities in science and set out clear funding priorities. Montenegro currently only spends around 0.26% of its GDP on science.

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The new strategy notes that scientific research is under-represented in the country’s higher education system. Current investment of 1.1% of GDP in higher education cannot cover the costs of universities if they are to provide adequate research and education, it says. The strategy aims to increase higher education funding to 2.5% by 2020 and boost support for science and research.

It also aims to increase the number of students graduating in natural and technical sciences by 10% per year; improve research infrastructure at universities by updating equipment; and intensify links with research centres in the private sector.

Montenegro hopes that it can internationalise its research sector, in part by involving expatriate scientists in domestic research. Science minister Sanja Vlahović told Pobjeda daily yesterday (10 May): “We are serious in our attempt to support our science research community and their further research.”

Montenegro has a single public university, two private ones, and seven private independent faculties. Of the 25,000 students in the country, less than 30% study sciences. There are a total of 32 institutions licensed to do scientific research in the country.

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