The Croatian Science Foundation was established through a special act by the Croatian Parliament (Official Gazette No. 117/2001) on 21 December 2001 as the National Foundation for Science, Higher Education and Technological Development of the Republic of Croatia. The Foundation was established for the purpose of promoting science, higher education and technological development in the Republic of Croatia and supporting scientific, higher education and technological programmes and projects. Since 2009, the Foundation has been operating under the name Croatian Science Foundation.
Ever since its establishment, the Foundation has been funding competitive scientific, developmental and innovation projects. The 2009 and 2012 legislative amendments (Official Gazette No. 78/2012) introduced a new aspect to the Foundation’s work since, from 2013, the Foundation assumed the role of funding national scientific research projects, previously held by the Ministry of Science and Education. In 2014, the Foundation also took up funding of young researchers’ career development.
As of 1 January 2022, the Foundation became a Croatian State Budget user under the heading of the Ministry of Science and Education, subject to the provisions of the Budget Act and Act on the Execution of the State Budget. On 28 May 2022, new Act on the Croatian Science Foundation entered into force (Official Gazette 57/2022), defining the roles and responsibilities of existing (Board, Director) bodies and a new body (Complaints Committee).
In order to ensure that the best projects are selected and funded, the Foundation developed a two-stage project proposal evaluation procedure. The evaluation procedure is based on the internationally acclaimed practice of peer review, conducted by international scientists, and the practice of panel evaluation, conducted by Croatian scientists.
By providing support to high-quality projects and researchers, the Foundation enables Croatian scientific institutions to conduct state-of-the-art research, thus facilitating them to compete for internationally competitive projects. With regard to the development of young researchers’ careers, the Foundation emphasises the inclusion of doctoral students in research activities, the primary goal being the writing of their doctoral thesis and obtaining a doctoral degree within 4 years as well as continuous monitoring and evaluation of achieved results both in their doctoral studies and research activities. This will enable doctoral students to compete, on equal terms, with their peers abroad, and will offer them a better chance of obtaining post-doctoral training grants in top-notch research groups.
In May 2013, the Foundation became a Science Europe Member Organization. Science Europe gathers national organizations for funding competitive scientific research for the purpose promoting common interests and defining points of departure for joint communication with national governments and EU bodies with regard to science policies.