EURAXESS members in focus: Bosnia and Herzegovina


For the last edition of EURAXESS WORLDWIDE newsletter in 2021 we revisit a story about Bosnia and Herzegovina, a land steeped in heritage, natural beauty and a healthy dose of innovation fit for the 21st century.

Zmijanje embroidery, national cultural heritage

This elegant form of embroidery is famed throughout the Balkans for its blue cross-stitching technique, earning it a place on UNESCO‘s list of intangible cultural heritage in 2014. Today, the craft is preserved in the region of Krajina by skilled artesans. The iconic patterns can be found on traditional clothing, wedding dresses and shawls. A blouse featuring Zmijanje embroidery was declared the “most beautiful” entry at the 1936 Folk Costumes Fair in Paris.

Did you know? The name ‘Bosnia’ comes from an Indo-European word Bosana, which means water. This is fitting as the country is covered with beautiful lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and a strip of the Adriatic Sea.

One of the last oases of untouched nature in Europe...

When you think of rainforests, places like the Amazon and the Congo spring to mind. But Europe has a UNESCO-recognised patch of its own on the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Montenegro.

Situated in the heart of the Sutjeska National Park, and hugged by the Maglić and Snježnica mountains, Perućica has resisted human development for millennia. Today, it is a strictly protected nature reserve and one of the last remaining primaeval forests in Europe. Called the “lungs of Europe”, Sutjeska is the oldest and largest national park in BiH with trees that have been standing for up to 300 years.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Creating future-oriented jobs based on new knowledge and technological development is a key feature and priority of programmes and support aimed at helping BiH bridge the gap between R&I and successful entrepreneurial activities that lead to fast-growing companies.

Academic and professional opportunities can be explored in a range of higher education and career-oriented centres in BiH, which are increasingly adapted to the needs of the digital economy and international collaboration both within the Western Balkans and with the European Union and further afield.

Entrepreneurship advice and support exists in several forms, including:

School of Economics and Business, University of Sarajevo

Since 2004, the Ministry of Science and Technology has applied specific evaluation criteria for awarding scientific research degrees. A Scientific Commission was made responsible for the evaluation of the candidates with criteria including scientific publications, work experience in science and research, science projects, etc. There are three categories of scientific career titles: scientific assistant, senior scientific assistant, and scientific adviser.

Information for Incoming Researchers

Temporary residence on the basis of scientific work may be granted to foreigners participating in BiH-relevant research projects, researchers and representatives of international organisations or members of international scientific missions conducting research in BiH, university professors, educators, scientists, experts, teachers and lecturers involved in a range of fields including cultural and educational cooperation.

To enter BiH as a temporary resident on these grounds, certain general conditions need to be met, including:

  • Evidence that the foreigner is engaged in research projects
  • Confirmation by Bosnian authorities that the project, initiative or research is important to BiH and foreign expertise is needed
  • A contract or cooperation agreement between the competent authority/institution and a foreigner with details about the foreign expert’s stay*

• A specified period of stay in the contract of engagement, typically not more than one year (conditions and exceptions apply)

* Information includes rights, obligations guarantees for example on accommodation, medical and other costs incurred by foreigners during their stay, and that they will leave BiH upon completion of the assignment.


Introduction of the National Research Landscape

Two main entities – the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) and Republic of Srpska (RS) – and a r egional authority, Brčko District, are responsible for education in the country.

In FBiH, this responsibility is further devolved into ten autonomous Cantons. There are also several education management subsystems as well as administrations within the public universities.

Following the Council of Ministers’ decision, Bosnia and Herzegovina is embracing a Smart Specialisation Strategy (S3) to strengthen innovation-led territorial development. The S3 process will follow the EU’s Joint Research Centre’s (JRC) methodological framework for Smart Specialisation in the EU Enlargement and Neighbourhood countries.

Scholarships and education funding opportunities

Several universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina offer various scholarships and tuition waivers to many international students every year. Scholarships are provided to encourage high-achieving young individuals in their academic pursuit, and to promote other successful young talents in leadership, entrepreneurship, artistry, and research. Although scholarships are available all year long, interested candidates who require some sort of funding must indicate early on in their application.

The BiH government also awards scholarships to international students via its Ministry of Education, under which students are given specific funds towards their education and living costs in the country. Many post-graduate students have benefitted from this scholarship due to its favourable application procedure.

Other private organisations and companies offer scholarships to both local and international students in BiH, thanks to a number of streamlined funding schemes. These entities offer annual or biannual grants and scholarships to applicants meeting the requirements. Successful candidates receive between $5,000 and $20,000 towards their education and stay in the country.

Universities also offer special tuition discounts for early payment, special needs, post-grad students (masters), specific countries, and other grounds.