Updated 04. 2010
According to the Lisbon Strategy, EU spending on research and development (R&D) should reach 3% of GDP by 2010. Slovakia is therefore encouraging businesses to invest in research and innovation, and thereby to promote growth and employment.
The reform steps of the Slovak Republic in the process of transformation to a knowledge-based society and economy and towards sustainable development are set out in the Modernisation Programme - Slovakia 21 and the National Programme of Reforms for the period 2008-2010.
Compared with other EU countries, R&D expenditure in the Slovak Republic is one of the lowest. EU funds will therefore be used to support science and technology and ensure a successful, long-term national science and technology policy.
Research is a responsibility of the Ministry of Education, which is the managing authority for the operational programmes 'Education' and 'Research and Development' under the Act on the Organisation of State Support for Research and Development.
The Slovak Academy of Sciences focuses on the development of science, education, culture and economics.
The conditions for providing R&D incentives to businesses with the aim of raising the level of research and development are governed by the Act on Incentives for Research and Development
The aim of providing the incentives is to:
- provide businesses with state support to boost their R&D efforts,
- increase the numbers of people working in R&D,
- increase the volume of spending on R&D by the business sector.
Incentives may be:
Direct - grants from the state budget for:
- supporting fundamental research, applied research or experimental development,
- drawing up project feasibility studies,
- protecting intellectual property,
- temporary assignment of highly-qualified R&D staff.
Indirect - income tax relief.
The incentives are provided by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance.
The Ministry of Education has drafted a proposal on the possibility of VAT refunds from the state budget for projects in the Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration.
Alongside R&D, innovation is essential for businesses to develop and stay competitive.
Intellectual property must be protected to encourage research.
Applying for incentives
Under the Act on Incentives it is possible to provide R&D incentives to business legal entities for up to three years.
- small businesses,
- medium-sized businesses with less than 250 employees, with annual turnover less than EU 50 million, or with assets worth less than EUR 43 million,
- medium-sized businesses with more than 250 employees, with annual turnover more than EU 50 million, or with assets worth more than EUR 43 million.
The conditions for providing incentives
Applicants for incentives must fulfil the following conditions:
- to fund from their own sources the establishment of a new workplace, which will continue to focus on R&D activities for at least 5 years after the provision of incentives comes to an end,
- to fund from their own sources the expansion of an existing workplace which will continue to focus on R&D activities for at least 5 years after the provision of incentives comes to an end, and without reducing pre-incentive spending levels for at least five years.
The minimum authorised costs for a fundamental research project are:
- EUR 1 million for a large business,
- EUR 0.5 million for a medium-sized business,
- EUR 0.25 million for a small business or a micro-business.
The minimum authorised costs for an applied research or experimental development projects are:
- EUR 3.5 million for a large business,
- EUR 2.5 million for a medium-sized business,
- EUR 1.5 million for a small business or a micro-business.
The provision of targeted funding from the state budget for organising research and development is conditional upon obtaining a certificate.
The assessment committee assesses fulfilment of the following requirements:
- R&D qualification structure and infrastructure,
- R&D results achieved and put into practice, including publishing and artistic activities,
- sustainable development.
Registering as a private researcher or scientific institution
On the basis of a competence assessment, legal entities or individuals obtain a certificate of competence to perform R&D and thereby also authorisation to apply for funding from the state budget. Certificates are issued or withdrawn by the Minister of Education based on a proposal from the assessment committee.
The VEGA scientific grants agency ensures a mutually coordinated approach in the selection and assessment of fundamental research projects taking place at universities and SAV scientific institutions.
Financial instruments in Slovakia support research and are based on bilateral cooperation managed by the Slovak Research and Development Agency. Guidelines on each invitation as well as an online system for submitting projects are available on the Agency's website.
Project proposals or applications are submitted electronically. Proposals or applications may be submitted only after an invitation has been published.
The Slovak Centre of Scientific and Technical Information offers a specialised scientific library and focuses on all branches of technology as well as selected areas of natural, economic and human sciences. The Centre operates a central information portal for research, development and innovation (RD&I).
Research is also closely connected to educational institutions and the development of cooperation and mobility between educational and scientific institutions.
State assistance - entrepreneurial entities involved in research and/or development or legal entities looking to cooperate on research with a research organisation may apply. The link below contains a form for applicants who may require assistance.
Other financial instruments are linked to support for university research, in-house research and various science and technology awards.
The Operational Programme 'Research and Development' aims to make the support system for R&D more effective, increase the R&D potential of the Slovak Republic and promote the application of R&D results in practice.
The National Agency for Handling EU Structural Funds is the intermediary body for the R&D and Education operational programmes.
The European Science Foundation (ESF) has created the European Collaborative Research Scheme (EUROCORES) programme. It supports collaborative research and cooperation in diverse scientific branches. The Research Networking Programmes endeavour to increase the level of home-grown research through intensive European cooperation.