News archive - Steering Platform Meeting in Ljubljana

The Steering Platform meeting was successfully held in Ljubljana on June 13, 2008. The Slovenian presidency has well established the meeting as a point of information sharing, stocktaking and networking. Commisioner Potocnik sent his message to the participants through Alessandro Damiani and Tania Friederichs from the Commission Services: he emphasises the strong ownership of the platform, the stronger use of the steering aspects in the process of integration and reaffirms the committment to take up the inputs from the platform.
The Montenegrin co-chair highlighted the achivements of the past years as 5 years ago regional cooperation did not exist and now the activities show concrete results and determination to persist in the integration. The Slovenian co-chairs highlighted the aspect of partnership and trust building.

In order to exploit further also the part to steer the process of ERA integration of the Western Balkan countries (which is currently making rapid progress with the FP7 association), the White Paper of SEE-ERA.NET was used as one starting point and presented by the German colleagues from BMBF and PT-DLR.
The growing function of the Steering Platform has also been reflected in the more stable governance structure provided through the INCO-NET project.

Some highlights of the morning session reports what has been done since the last SP meeting (subjective by the author; no official recording of what was said, the official minutes of the meeting are currently under preparation):

  • BiH request to association was addressed to the European Commission and it is foreseen to proceed quickly towards the signature of the agreement so that the status of Associated Country can be applied from 1.1.2009 for Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Commissioner Potocnik visited Tirana and gave publicity to the implementation of the association
  • first contacts were established in Kosovo/UNMIK
  • the objectives for the European Commission in the past 6 months were 1) implementation of FP7, 2) development of an integrated research policy, 3) use of IPA for research
  • JRC donates equipment to the WBC which will also be acknowledged with the Herman Potocnik Noordung Award for infrastructure donations (which also the company Sava receives) - nominations for the award are still possible till November 2008
  • main activities in Serbia: several info-days were held covering all aspects of FP7 in all major universities, workshops and trainings were held, INCO-NET training in Belgrade on May 8, next info-day on July 8, a consultative bureau for FP7 project preparation has been established in March 2008, several FP7 projects have been submitted with Serbian involvement and also with involvement of the Serbian Ministry of Science (SEE-ERA.NET plus, SEE-ERA.NET INNO, SERMORE, NCP network projects, etc.), a bilateral agreement has been signed with Croatia and a joint call was issued (40 projects currently evaluated), a programme with Montenegro is currently under preparation and meetings with representatives from BiH have been held
  • main activities in Croatia: numerous info-days, workshops and events (35 events this year on FP7), NCP and PC network was upgraded (with a current lack of staff), highlights were so-called transdisciplinary events - one week workshops with experts and young scientists which involved also proposal preparation sessions (ICT+Health+SSH, chemistry+food/agriculture+Environment), Croatia considers to open a liaison office in Brussels after visits of similar offices in the framework of the ERA WESTBALKAN plus project
  • main activities in Montenegro: several milestones were reached: draft S&T strategy finished which is now under public discussion and will then undergo the adoption proceedures, regional cooperation and structural priorities were defined - GERD shall increase to 1.4% of GDP in 2010 and to 2.0% of GDP in 2020, associated status to FP7 since 1. January 2008, participation in FP7 increased, 7 projects are already approved, the NCP network organised call oriented info days and expert meetings to help the proposal development, an incentive scheme was implemented, the acknowledment as convergence region was successful, nominations for programme committe members are about to be completed, Montenegro also joined CIP to enhance SME competitiveness and CERN (as an observer), new project proposals were submitted in NATO Science for Peace and a first step to reform S&T statistics were launched, also cooperations are started to establish a database on researchers and research projects, UNESCO co-organised SEE Forum in Budva July 1-4 is another highlight of activities, furthermore bilateral agreements are in the process to be signed soon with Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Greece and Slovenia.
  • main activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina: MCA and the Bosnian government dedicated decided to FP7 participation, capacity building in the ministry is taking place, new staff will be hired to support the AC status, funds from CARDS are available for support to implement association, INCO-NET organised a workshop in Sarajevo in May with 100 researchers interested, NCPs inform regularly on FP and international cooperation, a strategy on state level is to be developed
  • main activities in FYR of Macedonia: 3 new laws have been adopted: on higher education, on scientific and research activities and on technological development, the laws bring about a sum of novelties and better financial support, prioritiy areas were identified and a board of ethics as well as an external agency of evaluation established, a national database on researchers has been set up and Centres of Excellence were defined, bilateral cooperation was increased with Slovenia, Greece, Croatia, Serbia, Albania, France, etc. (now about 120 projects with 18 countries), increased participation in FP7, COST, UNESCO, International Atomic Agency, etc.; increase of GERD from currently 0.25% of GDP to 1.8% of GDP in 2010, FYR of Macedonia is a full member of EUREKA since June 6, 2008, several info-days were also held
  • main activities in Albania: FP7 was presented in May, the association agreement was signed on December 17, 2008, already 71 projects were submitted, elections at the universities took place and a new system of NCPs will be implemented, the visit of EC/JRC and COST in May 2008 had a great impact on enthusiasm and attitude of the government, the nomination of programme committee members is ongoing and a strategy on research started with cooperation by UNESCO and Worldbank, a statistical indicators project started as well and a brain gain programme was launched, for the budget of 2009-2011 a 35% increase is proposed and more funds will also be dedicated to bilateral projects, IPA projects are to be prepared and integrated policy paper to be developped
  • Greece reports on new initiatives on national level to support cooperation with third countries (including WBC) which includes the possibility to finance research groups from those countries, exchange PhD candidated, etc.; Greece also submitted the SEE-ERA.NET INNO project proposal which is of high importance as it focuses on the innovation aspect
  • Austria informs on the new internal policy to support synergies and links between research and education towards a regional knowledge area which leads to the task force initiative of the Regional Cooperation Council (chaired by Romania and co-chaired by Austria and Croatia); Austrian Science and Research Liaison Offices in Sofia and Ljubljana warmly embrace the WBC with high value for Austria, Info Office in Austria is valued and compared to 2006 good developments are visible
  • Turkey emphasises FP7 and the good developments in the field of Research Potentials (REGPOT calls), regional cooperation is high on the agenda and in the research potential calls the budgets should not be scaled up
  • *Italy appreciated the work done and expressed its interest to cooperate more actively in the Steering Platform, a governmental agreement with Albania has been reached
  • France committs that the EU presidency will do its best for the further integration and that all regional initiatives will be supported, especially the links between universities and research should be reinforced and e.g. the co-preparation of thesis should be considered
  • Spain is available to share the good practices and experiences of Spain
  • SEE-ERA.NET announced to start negotiations for the SEE-ERA.NET PLUS project and highlights the committments of WBC also in financial terms

Source: Elke Dall (please inform me if I was missing an important aspect - the official minutes are currently under preparation!)

Entry created by Elke Dall on June 20, 2008
Modified on June 20, 2008