Does Croatia create entrepreneurs and employees for future?
Setting up links between the science and economy was in the focus of this year thirteenth business and technological conference Microsoft WinDays that was held in Umag. On the last conference day, at the round table titled “Does Croatia create entrepreneurs and employees for future ? ”, the topic was the competitiveness and education. The participants were MSc Gordana Kovačević, the president of Ericsson Nikola Tesla, Ivan Vidaković, director of Microsofta Hrvatska, Prof. DSc Ivan Đikić , from the Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences, Prof. DSc Nedjeljko Perić, the dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, Prof. DSc Saša Zelenika, Assistant Minister of Science, Education and Sport, as well as Vedran Kružić, Assistant Minister of Economy.
The participants of the round table discussion came to the conclusion that for the prosperity and competitiveness of any economy, and of Croatia too, it is inevitable to enhance links and synergy between science and economy, especially as concerns the research, development and innovations activities. In that sense the participants in a panel discussion underlined the need to, in the shortest possible time, draw up a strategy plan for the development of Croatia, as well as to tailor the educational process to requirements of the development of particular industries and future employees' profiles. Therefore they all pledged to boost science and learning of both mother tongue and foreign languages. This shall be contrary to the present situation in which even 80 percent high school graduates enroll to social sciences faculties. They highlighted that currently invested 0.75 of BDP into research and development is to low. However, even such a small amounts shall be used much smarter and more efficiently.
MSc Gordana Kovačević underlined that in the given segment, time has almost run out for Croatia. Therefore, along with launching a strategy of the country development, we shall apply positive practice of some other countries that managed to shift their position upwards on the scale of competitiveness. She also mentioned the Horizon 2020, in line with which EU plans a development that is smart (business performance based on knowledge and innovativeness), sustainable (“Green” economy, based on efficient use of resources) and inclusive (employment of specialists with permanent investment in a lifelong learning). Areas of priority are green technologies, ICT, power industry, nanotechnology and horizontal linking of science and economy through different research and innovation projects. To make such a turn we need new knowledge, competencies and skills that would make us more competitive at the global market. Ms Kovačević also highlighted that, in the long run, she wishes for Croatia to increase the funds for investment into research and development. “In fact, I would like that in the Croatian strategy it is clearly expressed that by 2020, the goal is to invest 1.4 percent of GDP into R&D, and that there shall be a clear target and action plan for its achievement. We have to find a way to mobilize global companies, such as Ericsson, to launch innovations and development centers here in Croatia, and to recognize the link with domestic universities, as for example, Ericsson Nikola Tesla did. This is the only way to step forward”. In addition, ETK president said that it is inevitable for universities to turn to popularization of natural and technical sciences: “They shall start following the relevant changes in the world and apply them in Croatia. It is natural that obstacles and resistance will be always present, but they shall be solved in no time. Resistance to changes and progress cannot get along”.