Promotion of Tenure Track – The Tenure Track Pilot Programme (TTPP)

Top researchers and their teams receive financial support and favourable conditions in Croatian research institutions to realise their research. By this, Croatia remains attractive for scientists with high potential. Brain drain is prevented. Switzerland contributes to enhancing the Croatian research system by promoting a new career model for future professors.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Promoting economic growth and improving working conditions
Research and Development
01.05.2017 - 10.12.2024
CHF 4'000'000

Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.


The Tenure-Track pilot programme responds to the challenge of keeping excellent researchers in Croatia by offering them attractive research conditions. Thus, outstanding researchers shall be assigned as assistant professors. Selected by an expert panel according to a list of criteria and associated to a Croatian University, they are building up their research group on a selected future-oriented topic.

Statistical figures confirm a backlog in research in the country, for example, the percentage of scientific publications of Croatian researchers in most quoted scientific publications is three times below the EU average. Domestic Expenditure on Research (Research and Innovation) with 0,86% (2017) remains below the EU-28 average of 2,07% in the same year.


The project is designed to offer young and talented researchers an attractive long-term career perspective in Croatia.
The following outcomes are expected:

  • Young excellent researchers who participate in the tenure career model achieve international research level
  • The academic institutions gain new experience and increased skills in research and management capacities
  • The internationally recognized Tenure Track model is designed for the Croatian context and evaluated, with the perspective of up-scaling the pilot programme to the entire research community in Croatia
Target groups The beneficiaries are top researchers, with two to seven years of experience since completion of their PhD.
  • Preparation of call
  • Selection of researchers and mentors
  • Perform research
  • Evaluate Tenure Track Model

Complemented by promotional and visibility activities and by support for management and administration of the research projects, this approach corresponds to international practice. The Croatian Science Foundation acts as the Executive Agency. The Swiss EPFL coaches the Croatian Science Foundation, e.g. by providing expertise to the research groups, or by contributing to evaluate the Tenure Track model by its mid and end term. The Ministry of Science and Education ensures the financial control and the supervision of the implementation.


Achieved results:  

by the end of 2018:

  • A high level research panel has identified four top researchers and their relevant research topics according to the evaluation criteria---The future Principle Investigators are going to be contracted and to establish their research teams in 2019.
  • The Croatian science Foundation took an active role in preparing the Call documents and in leading the evaluation.

Expected results:  

  • Assistant professors selected under the requirement of excellency compose their research groups
  • New knowledge is created; excellency in research leads to the attractiveness of Croatia for businesses and industries
  • The Tenure-Track model is promoted at national level, and platforms created allow for promotion and expert exchange
  • Counselling for host institutions and researchers
  • Development of instruments and tools for evaluation procedures and recruitment



Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign state institution
  • National State Institute North
  • Kroatischer Nationalfonds

Implementing partner
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   4'000'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   877'595
Project phases Phase 1 01.05.2017 - 10.12.2024   (Current phase)