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Supporting an Innovation Agenda for the Western Balkans - Tools and Methodologies


Montenegro Montenegro

Facts & Figures                                                                          

  • Population (2019): 0.63 million (WB)
  • GDP per capita in PPS (2018): 47.7 (EU28=100) (Eurostat)
  • Global Innovation Index 2019: 45/129 (WIPO)      
  • Global Competitiveness Index 2019: 73/141 (WEF)
  • Gross domestic expenditure on R&D in % of GDP (2016): 0.32 (Eurostat)
  • Government effectiveness score (-2.5 to 2.5; 2017): 0.15 (WB)
  • Scientific/technical journal articles per million inhabitants (2018): 402.4 (WB)
  • Ease of Doing Business score (2019): 50/190 (WB)
Montenegro registered on the Smart Specialisation (S3) platform in August, 2017. The Smart Specialisation process in Montenegro started in 2017, with the Ministry of Science taking charge of the coordination of the process by establishing the Working Group that started working on the development of the Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). Under the guidance and support by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, the country has so far performed efficiently and the results of the process have been used as an example of the good practice in the region. Montenegro adopted its RIS3 in 2019 by following the JRC methodological framework for smart specialisation in the EU enlargement and neighbourhood countries and received conditionally positive assessment by the European Commission services.  Implementation of the RIS3 of Montenegro is under the Council for Innovation and Smart Specialisation, which is established in August 2019.
The first event on smart specialisation was organised in Podgorica in October 2017 in order to raise awareness on S3 process in the country. Montenegrin S3 team has undergone a comprehensive training on S3 with the focus on entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP) in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Apart from the EDP, another expert mission was organised in September 2018, where Montenegrin S3 team has been assisted by EU experts on the final steps of the preparation of the RIS3, such as creating the monitoring and evaluation mechanism.
Mapping of economic, innovative and scientific potential of Montenegro was completed in March 2018. The data for the mapping was partly extracted from various sources and partly provided by local S3 team and the Statistical Office of Montenegro. For the economic mapping, industries have been selected based on their current relative size measured by the number of employees, their degree of specialisation compared to the EU28, their average wages compared to those for Montenegro, export performance and a possible match with two different types of broader industry groups: traded clusters and emerging industries. For the innovation mapping, data availability was limited to measuring the activities of Montenegro, not for individual industries. For the scientific mapping, data have been used from two international data sources: Web of Science and Scimago. The results have confirmed several of the government’s priority sectors: agriculture, energy, ICT, manufacturing, medicine and health, and tourism. The results also identified construction as a possible new priority sector, which was later confirmed in the qualitative analysis.
Entrepreneurial discovery process included series of workshops in the summer of 2018 with more than 250 participants from various segments in total. The results of the dialogue among stakeholders revealed definition of five priority economic areas have been defined. Proposed priority domains following the EDP results were: 1) Renewable Energy Sources and Energy Efficiency, 2) Sustainable Agriculture and Food Value Chain, 3) Advanced Materials and Sustainable Technologies, 4) Sustainable and Health Tourism, and 5) ICT (as a horizontal dimension which provides business and technological support to other priority areas). It is planned that EDP focus groups will continue meeting periodically during the implementation phase and the online EDP platform will support in facilitating continuity of the process.
The S3 design process in Montenegro was led by the Working Group whose work was coordinated by the Ministry of Science. The work on the operational level was supported by representatives of the Ministry of Science, Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Education. The S3 implementation phase will be managed by the Council for Innovation and Smart Specialisation. Given that the implementation and monitoring process is a multi-stage and participatory mechanism that implies the active participation of a large number of public sector entities, the implementation of the RIS3 will take place on the basis of the Action Plan for Implementation.
The work on the draft of the RIS3 in Montenegro was done in late 2018. The document has since included the modifications in accordance with the JRC S3 framework and the Research and Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation of Montenegro has been adopted in June 2019. It has been conditionally positively assessed by the European Commission services in December 2019.

Montenegro's S3 team's assessment of the R&I system undertaken in October 2019 is given below:

Note: Scores for each of the 16 sub-dimensions are on a scale from 0-5; 0 = no information available

Source: Country expert evaluation workshop, 2019

Montenegro is the first Western Balkan country to have adopted the RIS3. The S3 process in the country has been characterized by full political commitment and motivation to carry out the process in accordance with the JRC S3 framework. It is necessary to:
- closely follow the implementation of the RIS3;
- maintain high involvement of the stakeholders in the continuous EDP during the implementation phase. 

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