United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


Session 2: Ministerial Segment: Strengthening capacity and policy for the development of science, technology and innovation roadmaps

Statement of Republic of Serbia

The Republic of Serbia has, since 2007, been an associated country to EU framework programmes for research and innovation. As part of the European Research Area, Serbia is dedicated to advancing research and innovation, and policies in support of their development to ensure its position as relevant partners and to enable its researchers to perform excellent and relevant research. Serbia is undergoing significant reforms of the existing STI policy framework. In 2016, the “Research for Innovation” Strategy was adopted and it laid the groups for reforms that aim to improve the excellence and relevance of research in Serbia. Its mission was to establish an effective national research system integrated into the European Research Area which through the development of innovation contributes to economic growth, social and cultural progress, raising the standard of living and quality of life
One of the major steps in operationalizing the Strategy was the adoption of the new Science Fund Law in December 2018. This law establishes an independent and expert implementing agency for research funding. This is one of the pre-conditions for Serbia to move from an entirely project-based model of financing research activities to a mix of highly competitive project-based funding and performance-based institutional funding. This new model of financing will be reflected in the new Law on Science and Research which has undergone public discussion and is in the process of adoption. These efforts are complementary to the ones already implemented since 2011 when the country established its Innovation Fund and introduced new support measures for boosting private sector RDI.
In addition to that, in 2018 two important policy documents were adopted: Research Infrastructure Roadmap and Open Science Platform.
Research Infrastructure Roadmap represents our dedication to ensuring transparent, merit-based support to the long-term investments needed to develop top-notch research infrastructure which will not only have national, but also regional and EU/global relevance. Research Infrastructures represent the basic tools for conducting excellent research. The roadmap sets the principles for future development of Research Infrastructures in Serbia and showcases the existing capacities in the country. Significant investments in this field have led to development of excellent facilities in many research institutions in Serbia over the past ten years. This document proposes how to better leverage these investments to ensure their national and international relevance, as well as to ensure their availability to the entire research and business community in the country.
Open Science Platform was created with an aim to fulfil the following goals:
- Open access to scientific literature
- Open access to the original data collected along the scientific research
- Assurance of transparent scientific communication and methodology
- Development of necessary digital infrastructure
All of these should contribute to increased visibility of scientific results, to stronger linkages in between science and the economy sector, as well as in between science and the society at large, and to the development of new scientific research.
As an EU candidate country, Serbia has also launched the preparation of the Research and Innovation Smart Specialization Strategy (RIS3) at a national level with the strong support of the EC Joint Research Center (JRC). The RIS3 Working Group has supported the mapping of economic, innovative and scientific potential in Serbia and we have also performed a qualitative analysis of the strengths and potentials. At the moment, we are finalizing the Entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP) which lies in the very heart of RIS3 which calls for a bottom-up, in place, consultative process before defining the country’s priority domains. The importance of this process is underlined in Serbia and Agenda 2030 document called Mapping the National Strategic Framework vis-à-vis SDGs.
The ongoing STI reform processes in Serbia, and the RIS3 process in particular, represent a unique opportunity to further examine the links between the RIS3 and SDG processes but also to engrain SDGs into the country’s new STI policies and to see how STI can help the country meet national goals.