Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.
Support for international R&D cooperation in Croatia
Croatia ranks above average in terms of investment in new technologies compared to other EU member states but lags behind in the development of new products. Innovation is a key driver of economic development and therefore important to a country with a high unemployment rate. Switzerland is therefore contributing CHF 1 million to support Croatia's Eurostars programme. This programme promotes international R&D cooperation between Croatian SMEs and European partners.
Promoting economic growth and improving working conditions
- Promotion of the “Eurostars” Program
- Organising brokerage and awareness events in Switzerland and Croatia,
- Identification of high-potential SMEs for partnership in Croatia and Switzerland
- Training SMEs in the preparation of their projects with coaching and workshops
- Best-practice support to improve the quality of proposals.
- Financial support to successful qualifiers in developing their projects
- Five Croatian projects, focusing on biotechnology, energy and ICT, successfully applied for Eurostars funding
- International matching events allow potential future Eurostars applicants from Croatia to get connected to business partners in Europe.
- A Swiss expert from Innosuisse is continuing supporting the professionalization of Hamag-Bicro (Croatian agency for Innovation)
- A high demand on professional consultancies to Croatian SMEs contributed to high quality applications and operationalization.
- Increased interest of Croatian SMEs in the “Eurostars” programme, and
- An improved quality of proposals thanks to consultant vouchers given to the SMEs for project preparation
- National State Institute North
Innovative, Research and Development performing SMEs
The expected outputs are:
|Directorate/federal office responsible||
Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Foreign state institution
|Budget||Current phase Swiss budget CHF 1'000'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF 506'023|
|Project phases||Phase 1 01.05.2017 - 31.12.2022 (Current phase)|
The Eurostars programme comes under the auspices of the research initiative EUREKA, which involves over 40 countries and the European Commission. The programme promotes transnational cooperation and makes businesses more competitive by facilitating access to new partnerships and funding. Successful applicants can use the funding to develop innovative products, processes and services and launch them on the market. These new developments help to improve people's day-to-day lives and also create new jobs.
Technical and methodological support for Croatian SMEs
When submitting Eurostars applications, Croatian SMEs often face difficulties as they do not have sufficient experience in developing projects and making a persuasive business case for their innovations. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), in cooperation with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), provides assistance to SMEs to help improve the quality of the applications submitted. Switzerland provides training courses and advice to help up-and-coming Croatian SMEs acquire the necessary skills and expertise. It also helps to establish partnerships between high-potential Croatian and Swiss SMEs.
Successful project implementation
For the period 2017–22 Switzerland intends to attract five Croatian SMEs, which will receive funding for their projects if they meet the Eurostars eligibility criteria. Three years before the end of this period, four Croatian projects, focusing on biotechnology, energy and ICT, have already received Eurostars funding. This demonstrates the success of the Eurostars project in action with the backing of Switzerland's contribution to the enlarged EU.
Example of a project: new technology in lighting control
Lighting company REFLECTA is a Croatian SME receiving support from Eurostars. It is working on cutting-edge technology in lighting control. This innovative technology deploys touchless control units, instead of standard light switches, which can be mounted behind furniture or entire walls. These hidden panels can be controlled by hand movements. Sophisticated control system technology and considerable research into individual components are required in order to realise the project. Large apartment blocks or buildings, such as banks, would potentially benefit from this enhanced technology. A major advantage of this technology, as well as the innovative design, is that it conserves energy.
This project demonstrates how a startup's initial project proposals can be elevated to international level through the advice provided by SERI and its Croatian partner agency, HAMAG-BICRO. Eurostars approved the funding for the lighting company in 2018. The ambitious and dedicated team at REFLECTA are planning to launch their product in 2020.
Factsheet - Promotion de la collaboration internationale en matière de recherche et développement en Croatie
Factsheet - Sostegno della cooperazione internazionale nel campo della ricerca e dello sviluppo in Croazia