Croatia National Experiences

Published: 08/03/2011 | Modified: 17/12/2014, 12:00 pm

Contact details of the institution hosting the BHO

 

Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes

Address: Ljudevita Gaja 22, 10 000 Zagreb
Phone: +385 (0) 1 5005 635
Mail: info@mobilnost.hr
URL website: www.mobilnost.hr
URL national EURAXESS portal: www.euraxess.hr

Bridgehead Organisation

There is one BHO in Croatia hosted by the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes.
The Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes is a public institution dealing with mobility within the academic community and the implementation and realisation of EU programmes for education and youth. The Agency was founded in October 2007 as an independent national agency, but it cooperates closely with the relevant state institutions (e.g. the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports etc.). It is financed from the state budget.

The Agency runs the following programmes:

  1. Lifelong Learning Programme
  2. Youth in Action
  3. EURAXESS
  4. CEEPUS
  5. Bilateral Mobility Programme
  6. Erasmus Mundus
  7. TEMPUS

as well as the following initiatives and networks:

  1. Europass
  2. Eurodesk and
  3. Euroguidance.

EURAXESS Services Centres

There is one ESC in Croatia. The Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes hosts both the BHO and an ESC.

Local Contact Points

There are ten LoCPs within the Croatian Research Area.

The LoCPs are hosted by:

  • University of Rijeka
  • University of Split
  • University of Dubrovnik
  • University of Zadar
  • University of Osijek
  • University of Zagreb
  • Faculty of Science at the University of Zagreb
  • Ruđer Bošković Institute
  • Mediterranean Institute for Life Sciences
  • University of Pula.

Declaration of Commitment (DoC)

All the institutions in the national network have signed the Declaration of Commitment.

National funding of the EURAXESS Services Network

The EURAXESS Services Network in Croatia is funded from the state budget, after an initial three-year-period of funding through the HR-MOB project. Additional funding is obtained through different FP7 projects aimed at supporting the EURAXESS network in Europe.

Target groups of the Bridgehead Organisation/ESC

  • researchers (incoming/outgoing) and their families
  • universities and research organisations
  • administrative staff at universities and research organisations
  • Ministry of Science, Education and Sports and other ministries
  • national authorities (tax authorities, health and pension insurance institutes, police authorities etc.)
  • European Commission
  • EURAXESS Services partners at national and European level
  • different public institutions

 Target groups of the Local Contact Points

  • researchers (incoming/outgoing) and their families
  • EURAXESS Services partners at national and European level
  • administrative staff at universities and research organisations

Structure for the national network

There are 5 people working at the BHO and the Service Center in Zagreb, which operate under the same institution – the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes. These are full time employees of the Agency and the work for EURAXESS forms a great part of their duties, though not exclusively. The BHO/ESC cooperates closely to the national coordinator for the mobility of researchers. There are also ten Local Contact Points who are part of the EURAXESS network, but normally full time employees at different research organisations (universities and institutes).

Full-time equivalent staff:   Number of persons:
BHO: 3 BHO: 5
ESC: 3 ESC: 5
LoCP:  1 LoCP: 10

Relationship and communication between the BHO, the Steering Group for Human Resources and Mobility for Researchers (SG HRM), the National Contact Points (NCPs) and the Programme Committee

The national coordinator for the mobility of researchers is a member of the SG HRM and the People Programme Committee. The head of the ESC in Zagreb is a NCP for the People Programme. Communication is held on a weekly basis.

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1. Key synergies with partners, authorities and other networks

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

The BHO and the ESC in Zagreb have established an excellent cooperation with the Croatian Ministry for Science, Education and Sport (MSES) and its directorates for science, international cooperation and legal affairs. Together we are implementing EPR and the National Action Plan for Mobility of Researchers. The MSES communicates directly with R&D institutions and informs them about the Charter and Code, EURAXESS Jobs, and internationally published jobs. The MSES was also a huge support in the process of establishing the Croatian Researchers Mobility network; they recommended us to the Rectors’ Conference and provided us with infrastructure at universities and R&D institutions, such as staff for LoCPs. One outcome of this successful cooperation was that development of the ESC in Zagreb was included in the Economic Recovery Plan of the Republic of Croatia, which is a great acknowledgement of the work done by the BHO and the ESC in Zagreb.

Cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior is excellent. Together with this Ministry, the ESC in Zagreb is implementing the Scientific Visa procedure in Croatia and removing obstacles in terms of visas and entry permits. Communication is established on a weekly basis by phone and email, but representatives from the Ministry also attend meetings and events organized by the ESC in Zagreb on a regular basis.

In cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, the ESC in Zagreb has managed to issue instructions for police and consular office personnel describing the procedure for issuing a Scientific Visa.

It is also important to mention our excellent collaboration with the Croatian Institute of Technology, where all the NCPs are based, and with the Croatian Chamber of Economy. Cooperation with these institutions is particularly active in disseminating information and organizing events. Since both institutions are members of the European Enterprise Network, they are valuable channels for conveying information to research institutes in the industry.

2. Focuses of the BHO and the EURAXESS Services Network

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

The BHO and the ESC were established in the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes in June 2008. The BHO is managed by Prof. Neven Duic, the national coordinator for mobility of researchers, who is also a member of the SG HRM and the People Programme Committee.

The ESC has four full-time employees and deals with international and intersectoral researcher mobility, covering the following activities:

  • project management

  • managing the network

  • financial management

  • accounting

  • portal administration

  • implementing EPR

  • legal assistance for mobile researchers

  • organizing events

  • editing, publishing and designing publications for mobile researchers

  • disseminating information (promotion, reporting, lobbying, etc.)

We also pay special attention to educating the ESC Zagreb staff, who benefit from courses in foreign languages, information technology, management, EU legislation and politics, financial management, etc.

3. The advantages of an in-house legal expert

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

We have a full-time legal expert employed at the ESC, whose main obligations are:

  • providing legal assistance to mobile researchers;

  • preparing practical information for the EURAXESS Croatia website and a Foreign Researchers Guide to Croatia;

  • writing proposals for modifications to current Croatian legislation and adapting it to EU legislation;

  • implementing the National Action Plan for Mobility of Researchers;

  • gathering and submitting statistics;

  • training LoCPs.

4. Financial expertise on hand

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

Another good practice has been employing a full-time financial expert. This person is in charge of writing financial reports of FP7 projects, drawing up and amending budgets, accounting, dealing with finance-related mobility issues often faced by researchers, preparing practical information for mobile researchers, etc.

Hiring a financial expert was very helpful for the ESC in Zagreb, since this person became acquainted with both EU and Croatian financial legislation and was able to write reports for the European Commission and the Croatian Ministry of Finance.

5. Service provision and information

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

Since Croatia is a rather new member of the EURAXESS family and does not have the same legislation as EU member states, there are many legal obstacles that mobile researchers face on an everyday basis. Therefore, a personal, individual approach is necessary. If often happens that ESC staff members escort foreign researchers to the police authorities and the health and social security institutes. This approach often helps to overcome possible legal and administrative obstacles as well as language barriers.
To keep track of all the queries submitted by the ESC or the LoCPs, a practical Excel sheet has been created in which each query is described. The sheet also helps us gather statistics for the categories defined by the EC in the extranet.

One of the deliverables the ESC in Zagreb is most proud of is the second edition of a Foreign Researcher’s Guide to Croatia. It is a comprehensive, 100-page guide divided into four sections: ‘About Croatia’, ‘Working in Croatia’, ‘Research in Croatia’ and ‘About Us’. The guide’s design follows the EURAXESS visual identity defined by the EC and provides necessary information in a user-friendly format with many charts, maps, diagrams, illustrations and tables. Navigation icons have also been used to guide users through the publication and to highlight important points. In order to enhance visibility and raise awareness of the Croatian research area, we have also decided to give institutes the opportunity to advertise themselves in this guide and attract future researchers. One of the advertisers is the largest institution funding research in Croatia, with several programmes aimed at foreign researchers.

6. A newsletter with a broad readership

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

The Croatian Researchers’ Mobility Network receives information about mobility issues with a newsletter that is released three times a year. In addition to being aimed at members of the network, the newsletter is sent to over 5,000 email addresses, primarily in the scientific and policy-making communities. The newsletters have 10-15 articles and cover the following main topics:

  • researcher mobility

  • Scientific Visa

  • research policies

  • research funding

  • Charter and Code

  • development of the EURAXESS programme in Croatia

  • development of the Researcher Mobility Network

  • development of services on the EURAXESS portal

  • interviews with foreign researchers

7. Visibility at a fellowship fair

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

Every year, in November, the ESC participates in a fellowship fair in Zagreb organized by the Institute for the Development of Education. We believe this is a very important event for promotion of the EURAXESS portal, since visitors to this fair are mainly final-year university students striving to plan and develop their careers. The ESC in Zagreb informs visitors about the huge amount of useful information—such as jobs and services—that can help them shape their careers as future researchers. This activity is very important, and we recommended it to other member states; it helps to prevent the brain drain and informs EU students on the potential that the European Research Area has to offer them.

8. Promoting mobility and exchanging experiences

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

In order to raise awareness about the importance of mobility for researchers and to help them exchange experiences, the ESC in Zagreb has developed an interactive application, ‘Researchers SAY’, available on the EURAXESS portal. The new tool was developed at the beginning of February 2010 using the forms available in Google Docs.

The application was developed to:

  • increase the level of communication with the three groups of stakeholders (incoming researchers, outgoing researchers, host institutions/mentors);

  • establish a two-way communication with EURAXESS portal users;

  • promote researcher mobility;

  • promote the EURAXESS portal;

  • enhance cooperation among researchers;

  • get success stories;

  • provide media/public space for researchers.

Three types of interview forms were developed and uploaded to the portal:

  • outgoing (Croatian) researchers

  • incoming (foreign) researchers

  • host institutions/professors

Interviews are submitted through short questionnaires, designed to simulate a relaxed conversation. All questions are open-ended, and none of them are mandatory; not even the name is required, so researchers can remain anonymous if they wish to do so. However, we do require an email address in order to ensure a real benefit from the activity. The address will not be published anywhere, nor shall we divulge it to anyone without written consent.

We hope these positive experiences can serve as additional motivation for international researcher mobility. In addition, if researchers point out any problems they have encountered, we do our best to solve them through our established cooperation with the Croatian authorities. Finally, by opening this additional communication channel and giving researchers an open forum to publish their opinions, we intend to improve the work of the ESC.

Furthermore, other people’s experiences can prove helpful by providing researchers with useful advice and solutions to their problems. If a certain researcher wishes to contact another one of the questionnaire respondents directly, we shall do our best to introduce the two.

1. The entire EURAXESS team works for the portal—and benefits from it

Published: 10/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:39 pm

We are a mixed bunch at EURAXESS Croatia. There are four people working daily in the office: a financial assistant and a jurist (who mostly answer the queries sent to the help desk), the portal administrator (who is not fully employed for EURAXESS, but assists when possible) and the head of the department (who has knowledge of all aspects and can jump in when necessary, while promoting EURAXESS and working on a national level to improve researcher mobility).

Furthermore, the National Coordinator of the Croatian Researchers’ Mobility Network is the initiator of the EURAXESS network in Croatia and is actively involved in EURAXESS. In addition, the technical development of the portal is subcontracted to the IT expert who works for a fellow organisation, EURAXESS Serbia. All of us constantly share information and it is in all of our best interest to have the best updated information on the portal at all times.

The help desk staff use the portal when giving answers to the researchers (e.g. they refer them to a link on our national portal, where a particular procedure is described in detail), and thus are always checking the available information. They alert the portal administrator when content needs to be changed or updated and also inform on the particular need of researchers—what issues are of most interest, which fields need to be expanded with more information, and so forth. In order to keep our portal useful, we have started asking the administrative bodies to check our information and, if it is correct, give it their seal of approval. So far, we have authorised information on health insurance.

The department head often develops new ideas to help the department, but also to help the researchers visiting the portal. In cooperation with the portal administrator and the IT expert, these ideas are usually promptly implemented.

The other input we take into account comes from our users. If they complain that they cannot find a piece of information (even if it is available), we try to re-think the structure of the menu, make it leaner, more understandable, while still keeping the whole content, edited into thematic articles with a reasonable length. Our most important lesson is that working together always helps us produce a quality product.

2. The EURAXESS portal as a one-stop shop

Published: 10/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:39 pm

The EURAXESS Croatia team has envisioned our national portal as a one-stop shop, i.e. our vision is to provide as much information as possible on the portal itself.

The Croatian EURAXESS portal is available in two languages, English and Croatian. The content on those two versions differs, since the English language version is mainly aimed at incoming researchers, whereas the Croatian version is targeted to outgoing researchers and hosts of incoming researchers.

In the English version of the portal, we pool most of the information aimed at our main target group under the ‘Incoming Researchers’ heading. Once there, a researcher can download a PDF version of our ‘Foreign Researcher’s Guide to Croatia’, a publication whose content has received many accolades from both users and partners and of which we are very proud. Alternatively, a researcher may further navigate to ‘Practical Information’ which includes information on thirteen clearly identified topics, whose titles are in accordance with the suggestions of the European Commission.

Each topic contains a plethora of information, above and beyond basic needs. While developing content, we have drawn from the experiences of the help desk staff, taken into account those issues often encountered by foreign researchers and tried to think about the information needs from their point of view. For example, the ‘Daily Life’ topic now includes five separate sub-topics: ‘Culture’, ‘Religion’, ‘National Holidays’, ‘Transport’ and ‘Pets’; and the ‘Visa and Entry’ topic describes all varieties of temporary stay which could conceivably be used by foreign researchers and/or their families. Relevant and recurrent questions are available in the FAQ section.
Having all this information online does not only help the foreign researchers; it is also of great assistance to the help desk staff and the LoCPs.

Method: Most of the information was compiled in the first few months after the opening of the ESC in Zagreb. The starting point were the topics provided by the European Commission and expanded gradually as described above—through contact with foreign researchers and their hosts. The ESC has established and maintains a good relationship with the relevant ministries, particularly with the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports; the Ministry of Interior; and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. Therefore we are always abreast of the latest legal developments and our information is kept up-to-date and accurate. Naturally, we always advise our users (particularly through the use of a disclaimer) that the data on our portal are for information purposes only and by no means replace official information sources, so that the information given by the official administration should be taken into account in all cases.

Because of the different procedures involved, our most informative page is probably ‘Visa and Entry,’ in the ‘Practical Information’ section, describing the regulations for staying in Croatia. Part of the page is shown below.

1. A newsletter with a broad readership

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

The Croatian Researchers’ Mobility Network receives information about mobility issues with a newsletter that is released three times a year. In addition to being aimed at members of the network, the newsletter is sent to over 5,000 email addresses, primarily in the scientific and policy-making communities. The newsletters have 10-15 articles and cover the following main topics:

  • researcher mobility

  • Scientific Visa

  • research policies

  • research funding

  • Charter and Code

  • development of the EURAXESS programme in Croatia

  • development of the Researcher Mobility Network

  • development of services on the EURAXESS portal

  • interviews with foreign researchers

2. Visibility at a fellowship fair

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

Every year, in November, the ESC participates in a fellowship fair in Zagreb organized by the Institute for the Development of Education. We believe this is a very important event for promotion of the EURAXESS portal, since visitors to this fair are mainly final-year university students striving to plan and develop their careers. The ESC in Zagreb informs visitors about the huge amount of useful information—such as jobs and services—that can help them shape their careers as future researchers. This activity is very important, and we recommended it to other member states; it helps to prevent the brain drain and informs EU students on the potential that the European Research Area has to offer them.

3. Promoting mobility and exchanging experiences

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

In order to raise awareness about the importance of mobility for researchers and to help them exchange experiences, the ESC in Zagreb has developed an interactive application, ‘Researchers SAY’, available on the EURAXESS portal. The new tool was developed at the beginning of February 2010 using the forms available in Google Docs.

The application was developed to:

  • increase the level of communication with the three groups of stakeholders (incoming researchers, outgoing researchers, host institutions/mentors);

  • establish a two-way communication with EURAXESS portal users;

  • promote researcher mobility;

  • promote the EURAXESS portal;

  • enhance cooperation among researchers;

  • get success stories;

  • provide media/public space for researchers.

Three types of interview forms were developed and uploaded to the portal:

  • outgoing (Croatian) researchers

  • incoming (foreign) researchers

  • host institutions/professors

Interviews are submitted through short questionnaires, designed to simulate a relaxed conversation. All questions are open-ended, and none of them are mandatory; not even the name is required, so researchers can remain anonymous if they wish to do so. However, we do require an email address in order to ensure a real benefit from the activity. The address will not be published anywhere, nor shall we divulge it to anyone without written consent.

We hope these positive experiences can serve as additional motivation for international researcher mobility. In addition, if researchers point out any problems they have encountered, we do our best to solve them through our established cooperation with the Croatian authorities. Finally, by opening this additional communication channel and giving researchers an open forum to publish their opinions, we intend to improve the work of the ESC.

Furthermore, other people’s experiences can prove helpful by providing researchers with useful advice and solutions to their problems. If a certain researcher wishes to contact another one of the questionnaire respondents directly, we shall do our best to introduce the two.

1. Promoting mobility and exchanging experiences

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:48 pm

In order to raise awareness about the importance of mobility for researchers and to help them exchange experiences, the ESC in Zagreb has developed an interactive application, ‘Researchers SAY’, available on the EURAXESS portal. The new tool was developed at the beginning of February 2010 using the forms available in Google Docs.

The application was developed to:

  • increase the level of communication with the three groups of stakeholders (incoming researchers, outgoing researchers, host institutions/mentors);

  • establish a two-way communication with EURAXESS portal users;

  • promote researcher mobility;

  • promote the EURAXESS portal;

  • enhance cooperation among researchers;

  • get success stories;

  • provide media/public space for researchers.

Three types of interview forms were developed and uploaded to the portal:

  • outgoing (Croatian) researchers

  • incoming (foreign) researchers

  • host institutions/professors

Interviews are submitted through short questionnaires, designed to simulate a relaxed conversation. All questions are open-ended, and none of them are mandatory; not even the name is required, so researchers can remain anonymous if they wish to do so. However, we do require an email address in order to ensure a real benefit from the activity. The address will not be published anywhere, nor shall we divulge it to anyone without written consent.

We hope these positive experiences can serve as additional motivation for international researcher mobility. In addition, if researchers point out any problems they have encountered, we do our best to solve them through our established cooperation with the Croatian authorities. Finally, by opening this additional communication channel and giving researchers an open forum to publish their opinions, we intend to improve the work of the ESC.

Furthermore, other people’s experiences can prove helpful by providing researchers with useful advice and solutions to their problems. If a certain researcher wishes to contact another one of the questionnaire respondents directly, we shall do our best to introduce the two.

1. General information

Published: 15/12/2014 | Modified: 09/01/2015, 1:35 pm

Every researcher with a permanent or temporary residence must be affiliated to the Croatian social security system. The social security system is organized and implemented at the national level by state bodies/public institutions.

There are three main insurance based schemes:

  • Pension insurance – covers risks of old age, invalidity, employment injury and occupational disease, and death;
  • Health insurance – covers the risk of temporary incapacity to work due to sickness or maternity and health care.
  • Unemployment insurance – covers the risk of unemployment and also promotes employment and the rehabilitation process of unemployed persons disabled at work.

Generally there are two kinds of health insurance. One is travel health insurance for the purpose of short-term stay (up to 90 days) and visa issuance, and another is health insurance under the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) for the purpose of temporary (3-12 months) and permanent stay.

2. Foreign employee

Published: 15/12/2014 | Modified: 15/12/2014, 4:10 pm

  • Employees enjoy full social security coverage
  • No difference between fixed and temporary contracts

3. Foreign researcher without contract

Published: 15/12/2014 | Modified: 15/12/2014, 4:12 pm

  • Researchers without employment contract must pay social security contribution to get rights under the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (HZZO).
  • Regulated health insurance is a prerequisite for being granted temporary stay, except for foreigners on temporary stay for the purpose of scientific research – they must have the provision of health insurance stipulated in the hosting agreement.

4. Foreign student

Published: 15/12/2014 | Modified: 09/01/2015, 1:36 pm

  • Students must pay social security contribution to get rights under the Croatian Institute for Health Insurance (HZZO).
  • This does not apply to those who come to the Republic of Croatia within mobility programmes approved by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports or other agreements which already include health insurance (Erasmus, Erasmus Mundus, CEEPUS, bilateral exchange, etc.).
  • Students from countries with which Croatia has social security agreements in place may be secured in their home country, but should present their insurance certificate to HZZO upon arrival to Croatia.

5. Comments on benefits

Published: 15/12/2014 | Modified: 15/12/2014, 4:30 pm

All employed citizens

  • Health coverage – Yes, covers what they have paid for doctor, hospital, and medications. It gives free admission to hospital and having to pay patient’s charge for medications.
  • Sickness leaves benefit – Yes, for all
  • Unemployment benefit – Yes
  • Parental benefit – Yes
  • Disability pension – Yes
  • Old-age pension – Yes
  • Supplementary pension rights – Yes
  •  Other – Employers normally pay employee insurance that covers life and disability insurance.

6. Eager to learn more?

Published: 15/12/2014 | Modified: 09/01/2015, 2:01 pm

If you would like more information then download the complete document from here