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Round table held – Withdrawing EU funds in the Academia – possibilities and perspectives

Yesterday, as part of the European Social Fund project “Strengthening social dialogue in the sector of Science and Higher Education“, a round table was held on the topic of „Withdrawing EU funds in the Academia – possibilities and perspectives“.

The round table was organised by the Independent Union of Research and Higher Education in partnership with the University of Zagreb.
The round table was opened by Ph.D. Krunoslav Pisk from the Independent Union of Research and Higher Education who stressed that social dialogue is actually social partnership. He pointed out that people in higher education think there is too little money in research for its growth. So additional financing must be sought in the EU funds. But they can't be enough by themselves, only as an addition. „The problem“,  dr. Pisk says, „is in the lack of knowledge how to use the funds and in the functioning of the whole system.“ once more adding that the EU can only be used as a supplement.
Ph.D. David Smith, special counselor to the Minister of Science, explained that the purpose of the structural funds is that they are a part of the EU policy of cohesion. Smith said there are a couple of ways to cofinance research, such as funds and centre of excellence. It is important to know the difference so that we can better know what we can expect from a dialogue.
Ivan Lakoš, senior counselor in the Sector for international cooperation, programs and EU projects said that in the current period of 2014.-2020. Croatia has the right to claim 330 million Euro for research, that will be used up by the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports.
Mirjana Vuk, the Head of the Commitee of Horizon 2020., stressed the achievements of Horizon, which is a centralised EU program, under the direct control of the EU Commision. Horizon will withdraw half a million Euro which is a fantastic result for a coordination agency. Ms. Vuk claims the key lies in the synergy of structural funds, Horizon 2020. and government funding.
Ph.D. Miroslav Rajter, Head of the Office for Research by CIRTT, commented that the situation in research in Croatia is bad primarily because of a lack of funding and lack of quality staff.
The questions that arose during the disscusion were about the terms for applications for the funds, the problem of deadlines and the problem of administrative support.
Ph.D. Rajter pointed out that „Croatia has the capacities but further investment is required“, while mr. Lakoš announced new funds next year and invited everyone who is interested to contact the Sector for international cooperation, programs and EU projects so that they could help in the procces of procurating the funds. 
The round table was closed by its moderator, Ph.D. Igor Radek, the president of the Union of Sciences, once more stating that „the Eu funds are only to be used as an addition, but an excellent one. We all have a common goal to remove all the obstacles in our path“.