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Results of study on the Croatian researchers in the UK

The motivation and scope

This study aimed to gain insights into the experiences of Croatian researchers in the United Kingdom and their collaborations with scientists in Croatia. We were interested in their motivations behind the move to the UK, the extent of the scientific collaborations with Croatia, awareness of research activities in Croatia, and perceptions of opportunities for collaboration.

Further, by exploring the differences between research environments in the UK and Croatia, we wanted to identify areas for improvement and potential initiatives that could enhance collaboration between UK and Croatian scientists.

In fact, this study is part of a bigger project called “Mapa hrvatskih znanstvenika”, which aims to create an online platform hosting a database and a visual map of Croatian scientists abroad. While the CroRIS CROSBI database is focused on Croatian researchers within Croatia, this is the first effort to create such a database for those abroad. The project is initiated and coordinated by Udruga Penkala, while this research and mapping of Croatian scientists in the United Kingdom is done in partnership and with the financial support of the British Embassy in Croatia as part of the Impact fund call of 2023. The project was listed under the name “Croatian Science Spotlight: UK Edition”.


The study

The questionnaire was delivered through Google form, and consisted of four main sections, each up to 5 questions. Participation in the questionnaire was voluntary, with no personal information being collected. The results analyzed in this paper were collected over 20 days (from 26.1.2023 to 15.2). So far 24 participants filled in the questionnaire.

We used LinkedIn to search for Croatian researchers and alumni of different Croatian Universities who currently live in the UK. Then we looked for their email contacts and contacted them directly through email. Similarly, we published the call for Croatian researchers in the UK on the social media pages of Udruga Penkala (see visuals on Figure 1). We also asked people who know such researchers to leave us their names or contacts through separate Google form

Finally, the questionnaire will remain open so that more researchers can be reached out to, and results will be updated once more answers are collected. In fact, we got more contacts of researchers through the ones who filled in the questionnaire and need to reach out to them as well.

Note: These are temporal results, and we expect to collect more answers soon. Thus, all the graphs are temporary and will be redone once the questionnaire is closed and the final analysis is done.



Despite only 24 participants filling in the survey, the results from the study are very interesting. The majority of participants were eager to have more collaborations, a better overview of events in the Croatian research environment, and research done in Croatia. They were also willing to assist the one coming to the UK and looked for advice related to their field of research, finding next career options, or looking for mentors in general. Moreover, only a few participants were not looking forward to more networking events with other Croatian researchers in the UK, but only one of them knew of such opportunities organized by the Association of Croatian British Professionals.  

As the biggest challenges for collaborating with Croatian researchers, they mentioned the lack of institutional and financial support, as well as interest in collaboration from researchers within Croatia. Moreover, some mentioned also the feeling of not being welcome once they left Croatia. However, this could also be due to a lack of personal contacts that is often caused by leaving at too early a career stage before they manage to form relevant scientific connections. In the end, some research fields are not well represented in Croatia, especially interdisciplinary ones, so it can be hard to find expertise in those domains in Croatia.

Based on all of this, we believe that there is a lot of potential to improve the current situation. For example, different activities and projects could enhance collaboration between Croatian and UK researchers:

  • Having a clear overview of the Croatian research environment. Potentially a good website would be enough.
  • More important is to create more general opportunities and funding possibilities that could help them start and maintain collaboration. To the bare minimum, a clear list of possibilities should be compiled. This could also be in the form of a website with a newsletter when new opportunities arise.
  • Possibilities for exchange, going to the UK or being a visiting scholar back in Croatia, could significantly enhance collaboration, as well as the potential return of researchers to Croatia, since only half of them plan to stay long-term in the UK.
  • Finally, to get a general overview of research done in Croatia (useful both for researchers working in Croatia or abroad), there should be more science popularization and communication media. Some of them could be scientific blogs and podcasts. But another thing could be events and gatherings on specific topics or interdisciplinary ones. Participants proposed conferences, online events, workshops, and data challenges. Such events should be happening both in Croatia, online, and also in the UK to connect the ones already living in the UK, as the majority of participants knew only a small number of Croatian colleagues (1 to 5).

In the future, we expect to get hopefully 20 more answers as manually and through contacts, we mapped approximately 70 Croatian researchers in the UK, so we hope that with these results and follow-up emails, we can motivate a few more of them to fill in the questionnaire.  Moreover, this motivated us to run the same (adapted) study with Croatian researchers living and working in other countries. Through that, we could collect a much bigger number of answers and potentially get a broader picture, which could help us set up some of the proposed ideas and projects in the paragraph above. 

Full analysis

For the full analysis click on the button for the pdf.

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