When it comes to astronomy in Croatia, the Višnjan Observatory in Istria holds the top place as the best location to gaze up at the stars, and both the Croatian and international public seems to recognise that.
The work undertaken there speaks for itself, especially when it comes to events like discovering new asteroids, and people’s willingness to support the cause is evident in a successful crowdfunding campaign earlier this year.
Since the end of October 2020, the observatory has been enrolled in the Scope Project, which under the motto of ”Science connects people”, aims to promote the STEM area.
”The goal of the project is to create a network of cooperation for all relevant actors in the goal of making encouraging the creation of an environment for the development and progress of the STEM area in the sense of strengthening capacities and cooperation of the civil society organisations, as well as common cooperation in shaping STEM area public policies,” says the Višnjan Observatory’s website.
Others the Višnjan Observatory cooperates in this project with include the Ruđer Bošković Institute (IRB), several faculties from Zagreb University (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, Faculty of Architecture), the Carpe Diem Association for the creative and social development of kids and adults, the Croatian Interdisciplinary Society and many more. The project will last until October 28, 2023, on a budget of 3,599,107 kuna.
”The latest data clearly showcases the lack of students and experts in the STEM area. The need for activities in the STEM area is recognised in the National Strategy of education, science, and technology,” says the Višnjan Observatory website, highlighting the need for this project.
With the already mentioned networking and collaboration in making policies, the plan of the Scope Project is to also survey public opinion, which will provide data for the higher scientific institutions to conduct research and to guide propositions for public policies.
Despite Croatia lacking experts and general interest in the STEM area, it is comforting to know that those interested in the area are indeed quite successful. Croatian scientists represented Croatia during the G20 summit as they participated in the first quantum communication, students achieved fantastic results during the informatics competition, and IRB scientists frequently make international scientific news with the dedicated work of their scientists (just to mention few examples).
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