ZAGREB, May 3, 2018 – Minister of Science and Education Blaženka Divjak on Wednesday said that a visit by a five-member Expert Mission from the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) is the last step and test before Croatia can become an associate member of the world’s largest and most respected scientific research lab.
The CERN delegation arrived for a three-day and its first stop was the Rimac Automobili company in Sv. Nedelja, 20 kilometres west of the capital Zagreb. During its stay, the delegation will visit about 20 innovative companies around the country.
Minister Divjak explained that CERN wasn’t just a research laboratory but one of the largest breeding grounds for the high-tech industry and innovations. She said this is an opportunity for Croatia to create opportunities for its brilliant minds, regardless of whether they are in the research sector or in industry, as well as an opportunity for Croatia’s innovative companies to cooperate with CERN, not just in physics but also in the IT sector, technology and engineering in general. For Croatia, that definitely means new jobs, Divjak said. That will also enable greater cooperation between the research sector and industry as well as better international cooperation, she added.
She underscored that the visit has been organised in order to inform CERN of Croatia’s research sector and its innovative industry potential as well as to show Croatia’s political will to join this project.
Asked by reporters whether the annual fee of one million Swiss francs to become an associate member of CERN was too much, Divjak said that membership isn’t expensive considering the opportunities that would open for Croatia. She said that a lot of preparation has already been done and that it is necessary to prepare so that Croatia can draw at least the amount it will pay for membership.
She underscored that programmes and projects offered by CERN enable the absorption of funding for research laboratories and industry. That is the reason, she added, why the CERN delegation will visit various institutions to assess Croatia’s potential for cooperation in the industrial sector and not only in research.
Divjak recalled that, in October last year, she and State Secretary Tomo Antičić visited CERN and met with Director General Fabiola Gianotti and with all those who are involved in deciding whether to accept a new member. We can expect negotiations to be completed to mutual satisfaction, she said.
She added that the CERN delegation will visit the Ruđer Boškovic Institute (IRB), the Institute of Physics, the Zagreb Faculty of Science, and the universities in Split and Rijeka.
The delegation will also visit the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts (HAZU) and the Croatian Science Foundation (HRZZ), Divjak said and added that she would meet with the delegation on Friday to hear their opinion and to obtain some feedback. She added that she hoped that the opinion will be positive and that the decision on whether to accept Croatia as an associate member was up to CERN’s directorate and that all member states were involved in the decision-making.