News archive - [Event Review] ICEIRD 2012, June 1-2, 2012, Sofia, Bulgaria: WBC-INCO.NET Innovation in the Western Balkan Countries: Capacity, Status Quo and Best Practice

The 5th International Conference for Entrepreneurship Innovation and Regional Development took place in the charming city of Sofia. The conference was a marketplace for the decision-makers, researchers and practitioners in the RTDI sector and discussed topics such as systems of innovation, competitiveness, development, technology transfer, social business, entrepreneurship and innovation and other related topics and themes. The conference has been kicked off by the presentation about social investing and businesses from Rodney Schwartz, a CEO of ClearlySo, a company that helps social entrepreneurs to raise capital and investors to find exciting opportunities and introduce corporations to the social sector. The second keynote speaker Prof. Robert Huggins, Director of the Centre for Advanced Studies at the Cardiff University has delivered a presentation on open innovations in companies and social and network capital.

WBC-INCO.NET has been well visible with the project partners, project experts and WBC organisations that were all present at the WBC-INCO.NET Workshop. The workshop has presented outcomes from the WP8: Innovation and hosted around 25 participants. The name of the workshop read “Innovation in the Western Balkan Countries: Capacity, Status Quo and Best Practice”.

After a short introduction from Nikos Zaharis, the Director of the SEERC in Greece, we were delighted to hear the talk on the EU perspective to RTDI in the region delivered by Ms Tania Friederichs from the DG Research and Innovation and Project Officer of the WBC-INCO.NET Project. She provided an overview of the EUROPE 2020 goals that are relevant for the RTDI policies in general and WBC in particular and outlined the relevant links to the HORIZON 2020 which indeed introduces a systemic approach to the RTDI funding. However, the new programme makes the competition even fiercer which results into strong encouragement towards the WBC to implement the defined RTDI goals in practice.

Gabriela Thomasova from the Centre for Social Innovation, Austria has briefly presented the mapping of the innovation infrastructures in the WBC, a report that covers all 7 countries and presents around 400 innovation relevant organisations that were mapped within the process that included both national organisations and national experts. The intention is to have these reports as a directory of the organisations that will be used for the networking purposes by the widest audience possible.

Dr. Jadranka Svarc from Ivo Pilar Institute, Croatia has summarised in her talk the innovation capacities in the WBC from a comparative point of view and addressed also a survey that outlined the cooperation needs both from the organisational and researchers´ point of view. Mr Rene Wintjes, UNU-MERIT, the Netherlands has concluded with the good practice examples of innovation policy approaches that address the needs identified in the work presented by Ms Svarc and explained the next steps with regards to these activities. Based on the conclusions of the innovation fora, the selected best practices will be implemented in close cooperation with the WB regional partners.

WBC-INCO.NET has also supported networking within the region by financing travel costs for a group of 15 grantees which could have been present at the ICEIRD 2012 as well.

The conference has taken place in the historical premises of the Sofia University and local organisers have well taken care of the cultural programme as well. As part of the evening programme on Friday, conference participants were taken on one of the surrounding hills, where they dined in company of the traditional folk music, dancers as well as firewalking that has been accompanied with general astonishment.

Thank you all for the wonderful experience!


Sofia University

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

Entry created by Gabriela Thomasova on June 6, 2012
Modified on October 5, 2012