[Theme in Focus] Research funding opportunities and performance in WBC. WBC-RTI.info Newsletter Oct. 2015

The social and political problems, and currently the migration crisis are still more pressing in WBC than the low level of national R&D investment (Serbia and Montenegro spend on around 1% of GDP on R&D, while other countries in the region spend up to 0,3% of GDP). Following the Progress Reports 2014 for WBC within the “Enlargement package” adopted each year by the Commission - the progress made in Science and Research is assessed in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo as limited, in Serbia some progress and FYR of Macedonia and Montenegro good progress was identified. In Albania further capacity building and investment in research are required to ensure integration into the ERA and contribution to the Innovation Union. Also increased efforts for successful participation in Horizon 2020 are necessary. Similar assessment is made for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo*.

However in all WB countries the need to strengthen the research and innovation capacity at national level trough increased investment in research both from public and private sector (again confirmed by newly published EC progress reports 2015 - please see the visualisation below)


as well as the need to strengthen the administrative capacity to ensure successful participation in Horizon 2020 is evident and confirmed by several studies so far. Also Danube-INCO.NET study on cooperation barriers, published in June 2015 and including information for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia concludes: 

The barriers relating to the capacity on the country level and the barriers relating to the project management are perceived as the most important with regard to the RTDI cooperation among the Danube Region countries.  Country  capacity  barriers  relate  to  the  objective  situation  in  the  country,  financial  support  and investment in science. Project management barriers relate to the low capacity of researchers to submit and manage the project. 

General  data  on  international  cooperation  of  the  respondents of the study were assessed  on  the  basis  of  their experience  in  cooperation with  the  DR  countries,  level  of  experience  in  transnational  RTDI cooperation programmes and level of barriers encountered in participating to these programmes. Levels  of  experience  in  the  transnational  RTDI  cooperation  programmes  show  a  great  variety  per country  groups.

It  is  apparent  that  the  level  of  experience  in  the  transnational  RTDI cooperation  programmes  is  the  highest regarding  participation  in EU  framework  programmes, followed  by  bilateral  S&T programmes  COST,  Erasmus+, and  national  unilaterally  funded  projects. Also, it is evident that respondents from Enlargement countries have the lowest levels of experience in almost all programme types compared to the respondents from other country groups.

Regarding the barriers related to the institutional support, the study suggests to institutions form Enlargement countries to: 

reorganise internal resources and do a better distribution of tasks within the institutions, so that work on international projects does not affect the ongoing activities within the organization and  provide  greater  support  to participants  in  international  projects,  particularly  in  project management and advisory in accounting.

Activities for overcoming barriers such as information  on  IPR  rules,  language  courses,  project  management  trainings, participation  in brokerage  events  etc.  were identified by the study as well, however significantly  less  importance  by  the  EU  MSs  and  regions  upstream the Danube  was given to such activities compared  to Enlargement and Neighbourhood countries. 

Participation in Framework programmes

During the SP in Budapest in July 2015, some preliminary results were presented (see the tables below) indicating a quite low success rate. 

*1 and 2 with at least one applicant in the selection

Compared with success rate in FP7 (as of October 2014), Bosnia and Herzegovina show higher success rates in Horizon 2020 (preliminary results) than in FP7, other countries have so far higher success rates in FP7.

 Compared to other countries, Serbia is the most successful country in the region - both in Horizon 2020 and FP7 when it comes to the number of projects implemented. In FP7 Serbia coordinated 42 projects, FYR of Macedonia 14, Montenegro 9, Bosnia and Herzegovina 5 and Albania 1. Regarding Horizon 2020 Serbia has also some success to report such as the first ERC grant by University of Belgrade, while the University of Novi Sad received a grant under the first Teaming call. 

Please check the calls section of the website to find potentional funding opportunities as well as Theme in Focus to find further related information.


Document type
  • Newsletter


Publication Year


Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Ines Marinkovic on November 25, 2015
Modified on June 7, 2017