Innovation and research for off-grid settlements

Project title: Innovation and research for off-grid settlements
Donor: EU – IPA II – Annual Action Programme for Montenegro for the year 2020

Cost of the project: 138.695,02 EUR
Amount contributed by donor: 124.825,52 EUR

Implementation period: From 01/02/2023 – 31/07/2024.


Regional Development Agency for Bjelasica, Komovi and Prokletije is implementing a project Innovation and research for off-grid settlements. Project is funded by EU IPA II – Annual Action Programme for Montenegro for the year 2020 in order to improve cooperation between academic and business sector in line with strategic priorities of Smart Specialisation Strategy in Montenegro (2019-2024),through grant scheme Scientific potential for innovations.


Overall objective of this action is to improve the link between science and industry on the basis of the Smart Specialization Strategy. The aim is to mobilize young researchers and work with them so as to develop specific solutions that will serve for rural tourism in katuns, since sustainable tourism development as well as energy and sustainable environment are identified as priorities in smart specialization strategy. The specific objective is to provide scientific solutions for off-grid rural tourism households in katuns, and ensure that they have facilities they need for tourism, without affecting traditional architecture or environment in these zones. Work on integration of these solutions with analysis of various off grid options to offer set of solutions for final users in relation to specific climate and location will provide research hub for the young researchers working in the fields of sustainability and renewables, and improve the link between science and industry on the basis of the Smart Specialization Strategy. As noted in the Call for proposal, focus on provision of technical and commercial experience for young researchers will create more possibilities to link with the design SMEs, contractors, technology developers and suppliers, through on site testing and research on the pilot cases, while at the same time the partners will boost their research and development capacity and gain access to fresh research talent and ideas in line with the Call requirements.


The activities in this action are clustered around two intended results:


Result 1- Capacity of young researchers built through research on innovative solutions for off-grid katun settlements. Within these activities the team will select young researchers in specialties such as energy efficiency, renewables, waste water treatment, solar energy, heat pumps specialists, sustainable architecture, construction, cultural heritage, environment protection, planning in order to look into the specific issues katun households have. Field activities will be arranged to analyze the obstacles and problems of katuns, followed by desk research to understand if solution for similar issues exists outside of Montenegro. Namely, the researchers will target complete off-grid solutions with focus on bathrooms and toilets, compost toilets, and innovative accommodation solutions for katuns whilst maintaining the traditional characteristics. Upon analyses the researchers will, under supervision and guidance of expert mentors, and through intensive collaboration, develop specific solutions, through concept design and later detailed design for constructions which will include designs and bills of quantity and specifications, to the extent that such solutions are able to be implemented by potential contractors, taking into account that solutions need to be affordable and materials needed available on domestic market.


Result 2 – Research applied and tested for creation of models that will serve as learning grounds for academia and for micro enterprises. To ensure maximum impact of previous set of activities, and to test designed solutions in practice, the team will select rural households who are open for testing of designed approaches. The selection will be done based on interest of the families, their readiness to register for rural tourism, their location (effort will be made for 5 pilot cases to be spread in different territories, so that successful examples are scattered and more katuns can learn from them). Testing and piloting will be supervised by young researchers, and fine-tuning of designed approached will be done. Case studies will be developed around 5 pilot examples, and this material will be used for information dissemination among katuns, policy makers, academia.