In Focus of WBC-RTI.INFO: Steering Platform on Research for Western Balkans

25. Aug 2016

Event Review and Conclusions

18th meeting of the Steering Platform on Research for the Western Balkans co-chaired by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and European Commission (DG Research and Innovation, Directorate on International Cooperation) took place on June 7, 2016 in Sarajevo at RCC premises.  This Steering Platform had been very useful and timely to take stock of the actions and to steer the work further on concrete actions in convergence and synergy with all the regional stakeholders.

Topics that have been presented and discussed during the meeting are related to "Open Access and Open Data" (presented by the Dutch Presidency); "State of affairs in Western Balkans – Presentation on state of development and preparation on ERA" (presented by national representatives/national science ministries) and "Cooperation in R&D in the Western Balkans" (presented by relevant stakeholders such as German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Austrian Academy of Sciences who reported on the 2nd Joint Science Conference of the Berlin Process, WISE, JRC, CEI, different european stekeholders such as ministries in charge for science/research/innovation (Austria, Croatia, Germany, The Netherland, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia) and research councils (Malta, Turkey), different initiatives such as PERFORM, PRIMA, Danube-INCO.NET, and others.

(...) As the study commissioned by the RCC revealed a lack of knowledge and information on the Open Access in the Balkan Region, the Dutch Presidency encouraged the Western Balkans to start as soon as possibly with awareness raising on the importance of Open Science. The OECD also underlined importance of awareness raising as a first step in applying the principles of Open Science and for this purpose referred to several best practices in the OECD countries which could serve as an example for the Western Balkans. (...)

(...) The Steering Platform took note of the many and diverse actions taken by the Western Balkans all working on new or updated Strategies on Research, Science and or Innovation and committed to implement them in line with the European Research Area actions. Most expressed concern on low rate of successful participation in Horizon 2020 so far. (Please check also [Event Review] "Workshop for 'enlargement countries' (WBCs and Turkey) on EU acquis on Research and Innovation (chapter 25)")

(...) From the discussions, in particular on the different activities at Regional level, the need to continue with the Platform to share information and coordinate and create synergies among the different processes and actions was once more demonstrated. In addition, all participants considered that the Platform should also address specific actions and aim at concrete results. The Platform acknowledged that in the future work should be focussed and result-oriented to address both: (a) structural/policy reforms and  (b) thematic/programme issues (such as Transfer of Technology; Regional Centres of Excellence; Mobility scheme etc.). (...)

Taking into account the discussions both on content and form, it was agreed that as a matter of priority the following issues will be addressed:

  • Coordination and assistance to Western Balkans regarding R&I reforms to be included in the Economic Reform Programmes (timeline October 2016-end of January 2017); these reforms should be compliant with the national ERA roadmaps; the RCC expressed willingness to support a Workshop on this issue;
  • Design of a mobility scheme for young PhDs for both intra and outside regional mobility. On this, Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), PERFORM, Croatia and Albania offered to prepare the discussion. (Note: Preparations are ongoing. Soon more information will be available.)
  • RCC will develop a three year work plan on Open Science and Mobility of Researchers addressing requirements of the ERA; and
  • Develop the concept and modalities for Regional Centres/Networks of Excellence, possibly in connection with Smart Specialisation Strategies.

Please follow this link to read all about 18th meeting of the Steering Platform and its conclusions.

Finally, during the SP Meeting, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy committed to support the continuation of the online Western Balkans Platform ( Platform) managed by the Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI) and in this way further support bi-regional dialogue on science, technology and innovation by benefiting from and interacting with the Steering Platform on Research for the Western Balkan countries.

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