|National Points of Contact|
Oct 2017 - Oct 2019
A freshly independent country with fewer than a million inhabitants, Montenegro is place with vibrant past, transitional present and high aspirations for the future. The turbulent 90’s brought crisis and stagnation to the Balkans and left the nation legging behind in both innovation and research. The Montenegrin youth of today have high aspirations, and wish to catalyze the rate of development of their country's economy. Currently, the country does not carry any internationally relevant Space activities. The scope of activities is limited to scientific outreach and to astronomic observations related enthusiasm. Montenegro brings many passionate and talented scientists with every generation, but the majority ends up fulfilling their scientific careers abroad. For a country as small, every person matters, and the national authorities are starting to work harder to address the problem of brain drain by supporting scientific initiatives and by establishing regional research institutes on Montenegrin territory. Next to its people, the greatest treasure of Montenegro is its natural heritage and wildlife. With five national parks, the deepest canyon in Europe, some of the last remaining virgin forests on the continent and beautiful mountain scenery which descends straight into the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro is an emerging destination for year round conference tourism. The national tourism organization has aspirations to host regional and international scientific gatherings and therefore additionally stimulate scientific dialogue within the country.
SGAC Space Activities in 2013 in Montenegro
The first SGAC representatives for their country, Aleksandar and Sanja, successfully utilized their international space network to organize the first space-themed full day event in Montenegro, Space Day. The Space Day was organized with help of the Organization of Montenegrins Studying Abroad (OMSA), and in cooperation with the Ministry of Science of Montenegro.Space Day took form of a conference during Open Science Days (OSD), the main science promotion festival in Montenegro. The Ministry of Science and the Science Promotion Foundation, PRONA, traditionally organize OSD festival every year during the last week of September. The Space Day took place in Podgorica on 26th September 2013. The TEDx type conference introduced the youth and interested professionals to the current trends, findings and innovations in the global Space industry. The main aim was to raise the awareness underlying the importance of Montenegrin participation in the global development trends in general. The speakers came from different countries and covered diverse Space disciplines, but they all shared common International Space University Space Studies Program (ISU SSP) background.
- Jessica Flahaut, a young and successful researcher from France presented the talk “Why should we keep exploring Mars?”.
- Ashley Dale, coming from UK, inspired the audience by his own experience in the desert for Mars mission simulation purposes, with his talk titled: “Economic, social, and philosophical implications of sending a manned-mission to Mars”.
- The Space Lifesciences talk “From Virtuality to Reality”, by Guzel Kamaletdinova from Russia introduced sophisticated flight simulation systems developed in her institute.
- Michael Johnson’s talk: “ROVER Swarms: - Next Generation Mars Rovers” with slides full of beautiful and highly complex engineering details gave a glimpse to the audience in Montenegro about the future technologies for Mars exploration.
- Finally, the Romanian speaker, Dragos Bratanasu, took on his space knowledge and experience into an inspirational talk “Who Do You Think You Are?” More images from the event. The event was a success, with more than 250 attendees and was followed by catering and jazz-intermezzo. Volunteering activities of OMSA members, and the TEDx representative, Radica Stojanovic, supported the event. The Ministry of Science was the main coordinating partner. The Embassy of United Emirates in Montenegro provided the largest direct funding and the French Institute in Montenegro also supported the event.
Young Space Activities Overview in Montenegro
Youth related space activities and scientific ones in general, are lead primarily by the Montenegrin Science Promotion Foundation, PRONA, which has taken off in 2004 and has established regular, year round science events for the primary and high school students. They traditionally organize The Night of the Explorers which allows Montenegrin students to take part in various, on site scientific experimentation. The event has been recently extended to a whole week happening. The Open Science Days, which takes place in September and includes also lectures and panel discussions from the leading regional and international researchers. PRONA also harbors the research spirit in their summer and winter schools for talented students, covering topics from fundamental sciences to environmental awareness. Furthermore, there are a number of Astronomical Societies formed by passionate students and amateurs. One such group in the town Niksic has recently put forward an initiative to establish the first observatory in the country. Space-related studies programs are not offered by Montenegrin universities. Several courses which focus on applied astronomy are given by the University of Montenegro, such as:
- At the Faculty of Maritime Studies in Kotor: two-semester course ”Astronomical navigation” (2nd study year)
- At the Department of Geodesy, Faculty of Civil Engineering in Podgorica: one-semester course ”Geodetic astronomy” (3rd study year). From the above described situation, it is clear that SGAC and the first appointed Montenegro NPoCs have a great task of motivating a more proactive engagement of Montenegro in Space related activities at every level. The goal is to make people understand the great spectrum of opportunities for involvement that the modern Space Industry is offering, from the regulatory aspects all the way to actual Space related manufacturing and ecological monitoring. We wish to tackle the local entrepreneurs to consider a more serious participation. In that regard, we are now in the process of contacting and gathering Space enthusiasts and are motivating young people to learn about the possibilities in the Space domain. Organization of Montenegrins Studying Abroad (OMSA) that we are also members of, serves as an important platform as it helps bring useful ideas from other countries. We would like to use the networks like OMSA, ISU, SSP Alumni and SGAC to organize events and encounters in Montenegro, which could stimulate the change in attitude towards Space Studies and Space related research.