WBC-INCO.NET working meetings

21. Jun. 2013

Event Review

Two internal working meetings were recently held in Budva, Montenegro by WBC-INCO.NET back to back to the 14th Steering Platform on Research for Western Balkans.

The members of the Executive Steering Board gathered on June, 4th to mainly discuss about the sustainability of the project results and the cooperation with other initiatives. In particular, they debated about

  • new exchange platform on the WBC-INCO.NET website on the topic "implementation of innovation good practice examples" 
  • a sustainability plan aimed at ensuring dissemination of information related to WBC also after the project end (bridging FP7 to Horizon 2020), as well as
  • further cooperations, as for instance that with the Regional Research Council (RCC) on SEE 2020 Strategy and in particular the pillar "Smart Growth" and with the World Bank Team on Regional R&D Strategy for Innovation in WBC.

On the other hand, on 4th and 5th June, all project team members conducted their General Assembly.

At this event, ongoing project amendments as well as current and upcoming activities were deeply discussed.  New activities are indeed planned in the brief time, such as for instance Support to the implementation of good practice examples.  As a follow-up activity of T8.2, further support to the development and implementation of  adaptation schemes as discussed and selected in the frame of the Second Review Meeting in April 2013 in Skopje is envisaged. The following innovation schemes/Task Force meetings shall be organised:

  1. Voucher scheme (interest expressed by Croatia, Kosovo*)
  2. Innovation officer (interest expressed by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia)
  3. Strategic Innovation (interest expressed by Montenegro)
  4. Soft Landing Platforms (interest expressed by Albania, FYR of Macedonia).

Fostering WBC Regional Innovation using the Smart Specialisation concept: Only EU member states and their regions are obliged to present an S3 strategy in order to be able to access structural funds of the next programming period and WBCs do not have such an official obligation at the moment. However S3 development is strongly encouraged for the WBCs and offers a good opportunity to prepare for innovation development. It is a valuable tool on the road to EU accession. Therefore RIS3 assessment which will create a useful foundation document to be used when preparing the RIS3 strategy in the future will be prepared for FYR of Macedonia as a pilot country (acting as a region) in WB region, while it will be presented and further discussed at the workshop to take place in Autumn 2013 in Skopje. This workshop will be organised in cooperation with the World Bank Team (Regional R&D Strategy for Innovation in WBC) in order to discuss methodological and procedural recommendations for all WBCs as well as to present and discuss S3 strategies from other EU MS of the SEE region (i.e. Slovenia, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania).

The Feasibility Study on Best Regional Innovation Competition for WBC is based on Competition for Best Technology Innovation in Serbia which was initiated in 2005 by the Ministry of Science and Environmental Protection (now: Education, Science and Technological Development) - the pilot competition was conducted in 2003 at the Faculty of Engineering (aka Technical Sciences) of the University in Novi Sad for its staff and students. The study aims to explore the possibilities of implementing such an instrument within the WB region. This instrument aims to promote the entrepreneurial climate and it also assists potential and existing high-tech entrepreneurs in getting to market.

An additional Financial Workshop in Autumn 2013 will be organised in Belgrade focusing on the topic: “Surviving the EC Audit – Pitfalls and Problems, Survival and Success Stories”. Target group for this event are financial and administrative managers of running EU funded programmes who are facing / have been facing / will face a first level or second level audit.

The team agreed also on the planning of a final publication highlighting the WBC Innovation Systems and containing scientific articles, project results, success stories etc. The publication shall be presented at the final WBC-INCO.NET conference with parallel sessions and brokerage event to take place in Vienna on March 27/28, 2014 (Techgate) where around 200 participants are expected.

The conference will bring together science policymakers, scientists and industry representatives from WBC and EU member states while the core focus of the conference will be primarily on Horizon 2020. The aim of the conference is to encourage collaboration in science between WBC and EU member states in Horizon 2020 while results and lessons learned in previous collaboration are presented. Call for conference papers will be launched in Autumn 2014.

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