In the new EU programming period, every Member State and region is invited to develop a national or regional Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) (http://ec.europa.eu/research/regions/index_en.cfm?pg=smart_specialisation) for economic development through targeted support to research and innovation from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Croatian smart specialisation strategy proposal has still to be accepted, but the five priority areas were determined by the Ministry of Economy (http://www.mingo.hr/page/kategorija/programi-i-projektieu):
1) Health and wellbeing,
2) Sustainable environment and energy,
3) Transport and mobility,
5) Food and bio-economy;
as well as three horizontal themes:
2) Creative and cultural industry,
3) KET and ICT.
One of the Croatian Smart specialisation strategy key objectives is to stimulate economic growth and the development of the society as a whole by improving scientific excellence and international visibility and reputation of the Croatian scientific community (Croatian Research and Innovation Infrastructures Roadmap, Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, 2014). The priority areas for the development of research infrastructure in the Republic of Croatia are the following: Biomedicine, Biotechnology, Natural sciences, Engineering, Social Sciences and Humanities, Interdisciplinary Sciences.
As it is stated in the Croatian Research and Innovation Infrastructures Roadmap published by Ministry of Science, Education and Sports (2014): “Culture lies at the heart of every development.” and “The cultural sector can become a driver of economic activity and, in collaboration with the economy sector, especially tourism, assist in economic development and employment.” In the same document it is especially enhanced that the researchers in the field of social sciences and humanities increasingly require widely available and internationally networked research infrastructures, based on modern information technology, and that on the other hand it is very important to enhance the further development of scientific disciplines within the natural sciences, not only by additional funding of research projects, but also by engaging in various international associations.
This project (MendTheGap) will contribute to creating a strong and competitive research base in the field of humanities and natural sciences in accordance with the priorities of the Republic of Croatia.
Furthermore, strong partnerships between businesses, public entities and knowledge institutions are recognised in Smart specialization as essential for success, and in accordance with that, an added value gained is the sustainability of the MendTheGap: boosting the local and regional economy by (tourist) promotion in local and national museums with a help of a professional SME.