International Operations and Financing Adviser


Location : Homebased and Podgorica, Montenegro, MONTENEGRO
Application Deadline :19-Jan-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
English  
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
15-Feb-2022
Duration of Initial Contract :15 February 2022 – 15 February 2023
Expected Duration of Assignment :40 consultancy days

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Background

Recognizing the importance of innovation in the economic development of the country and strengthening competitiveness, the Government of Montenegro is constantly working to improve and stimulate innovation through legal and strategic frameworks. The new Law on Innovation Activities was adopted in July 2020, aiming at bringing more efficiency into the innovation policy, and striving for greater coordination and synergies of different actors in the innovation system in Montenegro. The amendments refer to the establishment of the Innovation Fund as the umbrella institution for implementing innovation policy measures and programmes intended for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and enabling technology transfer from public science and research institutions. Apart from the Law on Innovation Activities, a new Lex Specialis – the Law on Incentives for Research and Innovation is aimed to incentivise innovation and private sector investments in research and development. 
The Law on Innovation Activity regulates the institutional, governance and financing framework for innovation ecosystem in Montenegro. One of the most important measures introduced by the Law is the establishment of the Innovation Fund. The Law defines the Innovation Fund as Limited Liability Company that exercises public powers from its field of work, activities in its authority and sources of financing. Current “institutional deficit” where an umbrella institution has been lacking in the innovation system, could have led to a failure to establish an effective innovation value chain and the loss of synergies among various parts of the system. In addition, the Innovation Fund is a key link currently missing for effective implementation of the S3 in terms of programs as well as effective monitoring and evaluation system.

The Innovation Fund should be positioned as an institution which has the key role in: 

a) Innovative enterprise development - The purpose of the Innovation Fund is to complete the existing framework for funding the innovation value chain as a path from research and development to commercialisation of innovation and application of new technologies with the aim of improving competitiveness and increasing production. The experiences of other countries show that boosting innovative enterprises requires a well-designed and effective non-fragmented institutional framework, but also sizeable funding. Setting up an institution focused on innovative business will ensure synergies in delivering the innovation policy, which will ultimately lead to savings in public spending, greater impact of the measures taken, and more targeted measures adapted to innovative SMEs as intended recipients.

b) S3 implementation and monitoring - Montenegro showed strong political commitment to S3, but a fully developed innovation system, the critical mass of innovation actors in terms of more innovative enterprises, and measures to finance the overall innovation value chain are still missing. In institutional terms, the Innovation Fund is a key link currently missing for effective S3 implementation; the new measures it is to implement will be conducive to having more innovative enterprises and more innovation brought to the market. One of the Innovation Fund’s tasks, apart from fostering programmes and projects in line with the S3, will be to set up a performance monitoring and evaluation system. This will enable making improvements in the course of S3 implementation and using evaluation findings on S3 impacts as inputs for evidence-based policy-making. The Innovation Fund will also help identify a number of large-scale projects under the S3 for which EU or other donor funding can be secured; the Council for Innovation and Smart Specialisation will evaluate such projects. 

c) Raising absorption capacities for EU funding and preparation for ESI funds - Currently, Montenegro has access to IPA II pre-accession funds and the possibility to take part in Union programmes, such as Horizon Europe. The Innovation Fund will play an important role in raising the absorption capacities for EU funding, primarily in the area of research and development, and innovative enterprises. The Innovation Fund’s operation will facilitate the development of administrative capacities in terms of structures, human resources, and the system and procedures to enable efficient implementation of the programmes and projects funded by the Union, fostering cooperation of SMEs with international partners in launching research and development (R&D) activities. Project implementation will give a further boost to the Innovation Fund beneficiaries to gain the required track records, knowledge and competences to participate in EU calls issued centrally across EU. Given Montenegro’s leading position in the EU accession process among the Western Balkan countries, in not-so-distant future it will gain access to ESI funds where each country is required, to be able to access such funding, to put a proper management and control system in place. Setting up of the Innovation Fund will create the institutional framework required for accessing ESI funds, and a critical mass of beneficiaries and projects for future funding.
In the second quarter of 2021, the Ministry of Economic Development started with establishment process for the Innovation Fund with the goal of creating an umbrella institution for boosting innovative enterprise development and effective implementation of S3. The process will consist in development of bylaws regulating functioning of the Innovation Fund, development of the documentation for the business processes of the Fund, capacity building and programme development.

The Government of Montenegro adopted the Decision on the Establishment of the Innovation Fund and Statute of the Fund, and new legal entity has been registered in September 2021 as a state-owned limited liability company (L.L.C.).

In September 2021, the Government of Montenegro adopted the Innovation Program 2021-2024. The goal of the Innovation Program was to present in one place all relevant innovation support programs planned in the coming period, which is informative as well for innovation community to recognize all instruments that will be available and focused on the entire innovation development cycle: from the idea itself to its commercialization and market entry. The Innovation Program 2021-2024 contains eight program lines of the Ministry of Economic Development, which will be implemented based on public competitions and it contains Information on the program framework of the Innovation Fund of Montenegro, which refers, to major support instruments such as: innovation grants for companies, collaborative grants for cooperation of different actors in the innovation system, as well as "proof of concept" grants, innovation vouchers, technology transfer and green jobs. 
For each of these special funding instruments, the Fund will develop complete methodology, manuals and guidelines how to apply and use these funds. Through the Innovation fund web portal, applicants can use an online service platform for submission of proposals and will have access to required documentation outlined for each of the programme lines, such as guidelines for application procedure, list of documents required, application evaluation details and other relevant information specific for each programme line.


Duties and Responsibilities

UNDP office in Montenegro is recruiting a individual consultant to support the Fund in international development activities, streamlining the Innovation Fund programs taking into account best international practice and supporting the Innovation Fund in securing international funding for future financing programs.  

Job content:

The Individual Consultant is expected to provide technical assistance to the Innovation Fund and perform the following activities:

  • Liaise and ensure communication/coordination with Innovation Fund Management Team members regarding all aspects of the assignment;
  • Support the Innovation Fund in finalization of the Innovation Voucher Program documents and the Collaborative Grant Scheme Program documents;
  • Support and guide the Innovation Fund in international cooperation with relevant organizations and / or donors;
  • Guide the Innovation Fund to apply for EU and other international donor funds;
  • Guide the Innovation Fund to implement EU and other international donor contracts;
  • Provide support and expert inputs for other documents/guides and manuals for the Innovation Fund and for beneficiaries of the Innovation Fund; 
  • Organize two onsite trainings to the Innovation Fund.

The expected results/deliverables:

Under the guidance of the Innovation Fund, the Individual Consultant is expected to deliver the following results:

  • Review Innovation Voucher program documents;
  • Review Collaborative Grant Scheme program documents;
  • 2 trainings conducted (topics elaborated in section Time duration and travel) 
  • Prepare quarterly and final reports; 

Timing and reporting: 

  • The assignment will start in February 2022;
  • The Individual Consultant shall report to the Executive Director of the Innovation Fund and to UNDP regularly on an ad-hoc basis, and formally on quarterly basis on the conducted activities and recommendations (3 quarterly reports and final report). 
  • The final report to be submitted in February 2023 shall include the description of the achievements of the assignment.

Time duration and travel:  

The duration of the total assignment is expected to be for 40 working days within the period of twelve months, estimated to start from 15 February 2022 until 15 February 2023.
It is expected that the Individual Consultant will be engaged more intensively in the first 6 months due to the needs of the Innovation Fund. 
During that period it is envisioned that the Individual Consultant’s work will require two trips to Montenegro: first estimated for April/May 2022 (2 or 3 days) to meet with the Innovation Fund management and staff members and to conduct first training with the topic “Setting up and building the innovation agency” and the second visit estimated for June/July 2022 (2 or 3 days) to follow up on execution of the agreed actions and to conduct training to the employees and other innovation funding actors (such as representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development and Science Tech Park) on the topic “International financing”. 
The topics of the both trainings may be revised, depending on the specific needs of the Innovation Fund.
In light of the crisis related to Covid-19 pandemic, organization of the onsite trainings will be re-assessed closer to the dates that these trainings are expected to be completed. 


Competencies

  • Demonstrates integrity by modeling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
  • Promotes the vision, mission and strategic goals of UN/UNDP;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Ability to lead strategic planning, results-based management and reporting;
  • Builds strong relationships with clients, focuses on impact and result for the client and responds positively to feedback;
  • Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
  • Demonstrates good oral and written communication skills;
  • Strong teamwork and interpersonal skills;
  • Proven written and oral communication skills;
  • Demonstrates ability to manage complexities and work under pressure, as well as conflict resolution skills.

 


Required Skills and Experience

Education:

  • University degree in natural, technical or social sciences;

Experience:

  • At least 15 years of relevant professional experience; 
  • At least 10 years of direct working experience under international financed projects related to financing R&D and private sector development activities;
  • At least 8 years of experience in creation and implementation of financing programs for R&D and private sector development (preparation of grant program documents, calls for proposals, evaluation of projects, monitoring, reporting, etc.);
  • Proven analytical skills and ability to conceptualize and write concisely and clearly;
  • Ability to formulate consensus and clear conclusions from group discussions;
  • Good understanding of the process and concept of Smart Specialization;
  • Knowledge of international good practice on innovation development (innovation strategy in EU, UNDP innovation accelerator labs etc); 
  • Ability to interface effectively with government and private sector;

Language:

  • Fluency in local language;
  • Excellent knowledge of English language. 

Other:

  • Excellent computer skills.

Criteria for selection:

Combined Scoring method will be used. When using this weighted scoring method, the award of the contract should be made to the individual consultant whose offer has been evaluated and determined as: (i) responsive, compliant, acceptable, and (ii) having received the highest score out of a pre-determined set of weighted technical and financial criteria specific to the solicitation.

  • Technical criteria weight - 70% (Background and education 10%; Relevant previous experience 20%; Substantial knowledge/Required competencies 30%; Required language 10%);
  • Financial criteria weight - 30%.

Only offerors obtaining a minimum 490 points for technical criteria will be considered for the financial evaluation. For more information on procurement methodology for Individual Contractors, please refer to Procurement Notice.

Application procedure:

Interested applicants are requested to submit their applications by January 19, 2022 by using the Apply now button. The application should contain CV or P11 that can be downloaded at https://www.me.undp.org/content/montenegro/en/home/jobs.html. Please note that UNDP jobsite system allows only one uploading of application document, so please make sure that you merge all your documents into a single file.

Only the short-listed applicants will be contacted and requested to submit a letter of interest including a price quotation indicating the lump sum (in EUR) requested for the work envisaged in the section "Description of Responsibilities".



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