ZSI's work in the Western Balkans: promoting innovation, tackling brain drain

7. Nov 2018

ZSI projects contribute to improving perspectives for young researcher and entrepreneurs

At a conference held by the International Institute for Peace in Vienna, ZSI researcher Dr. Maximilian Benner presented conceptual ideas on how to improve young reseachers' and entrepreneurs' economic perspectives in the Western Balkans through innovation policy, and gave an overview on ZSI's work to promote innovation the the six Western Balkans economies.
Given that Western Balkan economies experience a "brain drain" of qualified skilled graduates and young researchers, Dr. Benner stated paradoxical trends in the Western Balkans innovation landscape: to become more competitive knowledge-based economies, Western Balkan economies need highly qualified youth, but it is precisely these young people they are losing and EU rapprochement (e.g. participation in Horizon 2020/Horizon Europe) will not automatically alleviate the brain drain.
To address the brain drain on the background of these paradoxes, Dr. Benner highlighted the relevance of strengthening Western Balkans innovation systems and integrating the Western Balkans in European networks. ZSI's projects implemented on behalf of the European Commission or the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) contribute to achieve both goals. For instance, the platform managed by ZSI on behalf of BMBWF reaches out to graduates, researchers, entrepreneurs, stakeholders, and policymakers from the Western Balkans economies and allows them to participate in European knowledge networks and to participate in European research and innovation support programs.

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Tags: Balkan, innovation systems analysis

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