D3.18 Report on Barriers to Cooperation

Executive summary

The main task of this research was to identify the barriers which inhibit researchers from the Western Balkan countries and Turkey (WBC&T) from international R&D cooperation in order to provide policy makers with the analytical backgrounds to create policy measures for facilitating research cooperation.

This is the first study focused on identification of the factors which hamper the cooperation of WBC&T in the two types of collaborative projects: /1/ European Union Framework Programmes (FPs) and /2/ bilateral projects. The study has also investigated the differences in perception of barriers between WBC&T and EU MS within these two types of projects.

The main finding of the research is that the pattern (types and scores) of barriers as well as motivation for R&D cooperation is very similar for researchers from both groups of countries - WBC&T and MS - and for both types of collaborative project - FPs and bilateral. However, the analysis also revealed that significant differences
between WBC&T and MS in the perception of barriers and the intensity of cooperation are present. In other words, although the researchers from WBC&T and MS share similar barriers, they present much greater difficulties for the researchers from WBC&T than for the researchers from MS. Besides, researchers from WBC&T participate in international research projects to a significantly smaller extend. Therefore, the different policy measures for building the capacities of WBC&T in participation in FPs are necessary compared to MS. In the case of bilateral projects no differentiation is needed concerning conditions and procedures of R&D cooperation.

The largest difference in motivation is the “availability of research equipment” which is, in contrast to MS, much more emphasised in WBC&T and points to the lack of adequate research infrastructure in WBC&T. The three most important motives are the same for both groups of countries and consist of: /1/building up new research partnerships and networks, /2/ access to new sources of knowledge and technology and /3/ professional challenge.

The most important barriers are classified as administrative barriers and include: /1/ “Project management barriers” which are driven by the low capacity of researchers to submit and manage the project and /2/ “EC bureaucratic barriers” which are related to the modus operandi of EC administration and involves obstacles related to constant changes of the rules and procedures, duration of project evaluation, payment delays,
etc. The next group of barriers are institutional barriers at national level (e.g. lack of the country’s lobbying skills at the level of EU administration, low scientific image of a country, parochialism, etc.) and socio-cultural and political barriers such as political antagonism, overall political instability in the region and democratic deficits. The most intriguing finding is that institutional capacities of research organisation are not perceived as important barriers for research cooperation. Researchers from both groups of countries are satisfied with the ability of their management teams and leaderships to provide them with the professional support for participation in
international research cooperation. Finally scientific excellence barriers are not perceived as important either in WBC&T or in MS illustrating that respondents are confident in their scientific competences and connections as sufficient for participation in international projects.

The study concludes that capacity building of WBC&T for participation in FPs should include a proper mix of policy the measures at the two levels: science policy at the national level and administrative level of EC.


Jadranka Švarc/Jasminka Lažnjak/Saša Poljanec-Borić/Emira Bečić/Juraj Perković: Barriers in research cooperation of WBC countries (=WBC-INCO.NET deliverable 3.18), Zagreb 2009.

Document type
  • Deliverable – other projects
  • Report


Publication Year



Ivo Pilar Institute

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

Entry created by Katarina Rohsmann on March 4, 2009
Modified on April 23, 2012