The National Assembly House hosted a public hearing on the Bill on Science and Research, organized by the Committee on Education, Science, Technological Development and the Information Society.
In the opening address, the Chairman of the Committee on Education, Science, Technological Development and the Information Society Dr Muamer Zukorlic said that the public hearing gives the MPs and representatives of relevant institutions the opportunity to improve the text of the existing Bill with their suggestions. Serbia holds science in very high regard as evidenced by the fact that it ranks very high on the world list, between the 32nd and 41st place, which is a considerable success compared to other areas. Dr Zukorlic said that funding for scientific research is one of the most important aspects of the Bill, with institutional funding proposed as a way to secure a steady source of finances for scientific institutes.
Dr Vladimir Popovic, State Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, spoke about the reforms concerning science and technological development, reminding the attending that the Assembly had last year passed the Law on Science Fund of the Republic of Serbia, that Serbia has become the 23rd member of CERN, founded six institutes of national importance, improved the capacities of science and technology parks, has 70 eco companies at its disposal and had earned 46 million EUR in revenue between 2016 and 2018. Between 2015 and 2019 the Government of the Republic of Serbia raised the budgetary funds for scientific research to 35.8%. In the last two years, Serbia continued to invest into scientific infrastructure e.g. the construction of science and technology parks in Novi Sad and Nis.
Dr Popovic went on to present the Bill on Science and Research stressing that it is an umbrella science law which, along with the Law on the Science Fund, regulates the scientific and technological development stimulation policy and stable funding and efficient use of funds through a combination of project and institutional funding.
One of the chief reasons for the new law is the scientific research funding model. To pass the best possible law, there has been a series of public debates in four locations, national council sessions, working group meetings and meetings with researchers.
The new law on science and research secures the following: institutional funding for science, establishment of institutes of national importance, mechanism for the establishment of new institutions, more efficient supervision and evaluation of the work of institutes and better cooperation of institutes and faculties.
The goals achieved by the new law would be better quality of scientific research, application of research results, more efficient work of the institutes, better efficiency of allocation and use of all scientific research and developmental resources. The chief goal is to create a sector of scientific research as an equal partner on the European research scene.
Following the State Secretary’s thorough presentation, the MPs, rectors, deans, researchers and representatives of relevant institutions had a constructive debate, voicing their suggestions and proposals how to improve said Bill.