Creation of the Western Balkans European Social Survey Regional Network

The Western Balkans European Social Survey Regional Network has been convened by the Institute for Social Science in Belgrade for promoting the European Social Survey in the Western Balkans. This project is part of the broader Horizon 2020 project – Sustain 2 funded from the European Commission and led by the European Social Survey (ESS) from January 2020.

The majority of the SUSTAIN 2 resources will be used to collect survey data online from respondents in 12 countries, marking a significant investment in cross-national web interviewing for the future. This harmonised, probability-based web panel will be fielded in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK. Covid-19 related questions on government authority and legitimacy, and conspiracy theories, will be included in the latest round of the survey, due to be fielded across Europe from September 2020

The new project builds on membership development activities implemented by the ESS in the European Union (EU) funded project, SUSTAIN, to boost the number of participating countries. These efforts saw participation rise from 21 countries in Round 7 (2014/15) to 30 countries in Round 9 (2018/19), and membership in the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) grow from 14 to 25 countries.

As part of this new project, the benefits of joining the infrastructure will continue to be promoted to funding agencies in countries who did not participate in Round 9, or are yet to commit to fielding the survey in Round 10. As a result, the Western Balkans European Social Survey Regional Network has been created with the aim of increasing participation of the Western Balkan countries in the ESS Round 10, with Serbia, Montenegro and North Macedonia already being committed to it.

Majority of the Western Balkan countries participated in at least one round of the ESS (see the table below). Participation in the ESS is important both for academic reasons and for developing quality public policies. In academia, it will lead to transfer of relevant theoretical and methodological knowledge and practice in the field of social science research to the local scientific community and increase their visibility in international circles. At the policy level, it will help decision makers making informed decisions based on data and will contribute to evidence-based policy making.

Table: Timeline of Western Balkan countries participation in the ESS


Round 6 [2012]

Round 7 [2014]

Round 8 [2016]

Round 9 [2018]

Round10 [2020]







Bosnia and Herzegovina


















North Macedonia












The focus of the Western Balkans European Social Survey Regional Network is on organising workshops, meetings, promotional activities, as well as advocacy towards relevant national ministries. Through appointed National Focal Points the efforts have been concentrated on maximising the likelihood that as many countries as possible are granted Guest or Membership status for the ESS Round 10. Long term goal of the project is to make all Western Balkan countries full members for Round 11.

To find more about the project:

Geographical focus
  • WBC
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Social Sciences

Entry created by Admin on October 1, 2020
Modified on October 5, 2020