News archive - Conclusions of the Research Information Event - Tirana with Commissioner Potocnik

The Research Information Event took place on May 6, 2008 opened by Janez Potocnik, Genc Pollo and Majlinda Bregu. The conclusions are prepared by Giancarlo Caratti and Milena Raykovska (Joint Research Centre), Tania Friederichs (DG Research), Gjergji Gjinko (Ministry of Education and Science, Albania) and John Bartzis (COST).
The text is presented in the following.

"Following the association of Albania to the EU 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technology Development, the European Commission, COST and the Albanian Ministry for Science and Education organised a Research Information Event in Tirana on 6 May 2008. The objective of this event was to inform the Albanian scientific and business communities about the opportunities offered by the recently signed association of Albania to the Seventh EC Research and Technological Development Framework Programme (FP7), and to encourage dialogue, identify potentially interested partners and pave the way for further collaboration within the Research Framework Programmes.

The event brought together over 150 Albanian participants including senior representatives from the academic and business community as well as public authorities. The event was opened by the European Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik, the Albanian Minister of Education and Science, Genc Pollo, and the Albanian Minister of Integration, Majlinda Bregu.

In his opening statement, Mr Potočnik stressed that the association to FP7 will encourage Albanian Researchers to further collaborate with scientists and experts across the EU Member States and the other Balkan countries on an equal footing. He underlined that Europe's future largely relies on its ability to remain competitive by encouraging research and innovation. He stated that "by engaging more in research Albania will not only improve the quality of life for its citizens, but it will also shift to more competitive knowledge-based economy". The main purpose of his visit was indeed to encourage the Albanian authorities to put research policy high on the political agenda and commit more means to strengthening national research. While FP7 is a tool to strive for scientific excellence, a research capacity can also be developed with the support of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, which is targeted at Candidate and Potential Candidate Countries including Albania.

Minister Pollo stressed the importance of Albania's association to FP7 also as a means to prepare the ground for its future accession to the EU. He announced the plan of the government to increase national research funding and set up a new Center in Albania to implement European RTD programs and support bilateral research agreements. A reform of the research system is underway which will closely link the existing research institutes to the universities. Among the priorities of Albania are research in support to SME's, regional cooperation with the other Western Balkan countries, mobility of researchers and the development of reliable S&T indicators. Minister Bregu confirmed the commitment of Albania to align with the EU Acquis and implement the European Partnership Agreement, of which the association to FP7 represent an important step.

Representatives from three Directorate Generals of the European Commission, namely DG Research, DG Information Society and Media and the Joint Research Centre provided detailed information in S&T areas of priority for Albania, namely environment, health, ICT, metrology and measurements. The modalities for applying to the different FP7 calls were explained along with some examples of existing collaborations with Albania. Several calls for projects, to be soon published, were also presented. It was noted that these usually attract highly competitive research proposals but this should not discourage the Albanian researchers to participate in the proposals and to look actively for partners in Europe, since through acquiring experience and more contacts, the learning process will be successful and the research capacities will be further developed.

The representatives from the Joint Research Centre (JRC), which provides scientific and technological support to the EU policy-making process, focussed on S&T areas relevant to the EU Acquis and Albania's pre-accession process, and described the opportunities offered by the JRC Enlargement and Integration Actions. An example of the synergies between the JRC and the Pre-Accession programmes was given in the particular case of the setting up of national metrology institute in Albania which will perform measurements required under several EU directives.

The COST (Cooperation of Science and Technology) representatives stressed the great potential offered by the COST programme to FP7 newcomers as a bottom-up tool for networking with other European scientists. They emphasized that at present the Albanian researchers have not yet profited from the 200-strong COST Actions and invited interested scientists to consider the opportunities offered by COST programme, moreover having in mind that COST Actions and networks could be considered also an incubator for R&D proposals to FP7.

A press conference took place after the opening session with all major Albanian media outlets represented.

Source: Albanian Ministry of Education and Science.

Please find attached also the speeches held by Minister Pollo and by Commissioner Potocnik.

Entry created by Elke Dall on May 19, 2008
Modified on May 19, 2008