This achievement was accomplished thanks to the strong political commitment at the national level and selfless support of the Joint Research Centre (JRC). Montenegro’s EU Accession Programme 2019-2020 included the adoption of the Smart Specialisation Strategy 2019-2024, under the negotiation chapter 25: Science and Research and its section on the strategic framework. Thus, Montenegro harmonized its strategic framework for research and innovation with the EU’s strategic framework, although this was not its explicit obligation under the accession negotiations. A lot of effort has been invested in this project since May 2017, when close cooperation with JRC was established.
In line with the European Commission Regulation 1059/2003, Montenegro is defined as a NUTS4 region, given that its population is 620,029 in an area of 13,812 km². Accordingly, as regards the preparation of the Smart Specialisation Strategy and knowledge-based economic development, the country is also treated as one region, which should find its proper place among 272 NUTS II regions within the EU.
Modernization and increase of the competitiveness of the Montenegrin economy, by concentrating available research, natural and economic resources in a limited number of priority areas. S3 should enable further accelerated development of the relevant priority areas, but also the development of new sub-areas within them, as well as new industries with strategic potential based on the synergistic interaction of priority areas. Achieving the main goal of S3, that is a modernized and competitive Montenegro, is based on three key strategic directions that represent the general long-term vision of the country’s development, and they are:
Improve the excellence and relevance of scientific and research activities
Strengthen human resources in the field of research and innovation
Enhance collaboration within the innovation system
Support innovative activities in the business sector
Enhance framework conditions for the innovation ecosystem
In order to improve and more effectively implement the Smart Specialisation Strategy, strengthen the links between the Industrial Policy and the S3 Strategy and human resources in this field, and better define the indicators to monitor the results of S3, in December 2021 the Government of Montenegro adopted the Operational Program for Implementation of the Smart Specialisation Strategy 2021-2024, with Action Plan 2021-2022.
The 2021-2022 Action Plan for implementation of the Operational Program for Implementation of the Smart Specialization Strategy 2021-2024 allocated and set the following: