News archive - RCC Secretariat Sets Support for Development of a Regional R&D&I Strategy as Working Priority

The RCC Secretariat has set facilitation and support for development of a Regional Strategy for Research and Development for Innovation for the Western Balkans as one of its working priorities for the period 2011-2013.

Human Capital Development as Key to EU Accession

“The development of human capital is a challenge and a priority for the Western Balkans on their path towards European Union (EU) accession”, says Mladen Dragasevic, Head of Building Human Capital and Cross Cutting Issues Unit of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat. “Regional research cooperation is an integral part of this effort.". The overall objective is to strengthen the innovative capacity of the Western Balkans by stimulating Research and Development, using the regional potential, adds Dragasevic.

Speaking about the current situation in the Western Balkan (WB) countries in this field, Djuro Kutlaca, Head of Science and Technology Policy Research Centre at Mihajlo Pupin Institute in Serbia, explains that WB countries are mostly observers of global developments in the area of science, technology and innovation development. “Europe 2020 is not just a strategy of an environment of which we, in the Balkans, want to become an integral part. That is a thinking process of where we want to be in the future by using knowledge and skills with minimum exhaustion of natural resources.”  

Elke Dall: Innovation leaders are the biggest investors in R&D

Elke Dall, WBC-INCO.NET Project coordinator at the Centre for Social Innovation, Research Policy and Development in Austria, is of an opinion that it is not a coincidence that innovation leaders are the biggest investors in research and development (R&D). “Research and innovation indeed help countries to emerge stronger from economic crisis. The Europe 2020 strategy highlights the importance of the knowledge economy and innovation.”

Dall adds that the region has already received support from the European Union in the Framework Programme as well as through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) in order to strengthen its research capacities that were further supported by strong national efforts in strategic and legislative aspects of the process.

“In particular as regards the regional cooperation, the Steering Platform on Research for the Western Balkans, as well as projects such as SEE-ERA.NET PLUS and WBC-INCO.NET highlight and support the regional aspect within the framework of cooperation on science, technological development and innovation (STI) through information exchange, joint research funding and specific activities to integrate the region in the European Research Area. The same is done in general terms by RCC and the Task Force Building and Fostering Human Capital.”

Kutlaca points out to participation of scientists, researchers and innovators from WB in EU projects and programmes as an indicator of progress, adding that the implementation of the results should become a mandatory aspects of their involvement. “The Regional strategy should generate mechanisms and instruments for efficient implementation of knowledge for the benefit of economic growth in the Western Balkans. Poor statistics indicates small development capacities in WB. Joint efforts and integration could create a critical mass necessary for realisation of ambitious development and innovation projects.”

Next Step: The Danube Strategy

The next steps will involve exploring synergies with the Danube Strategy, ensuring sustainability of efforts to create a Regional Programme for South East Europe (ReP-SEE), to jointly fund research and innovation and to further support researchers in the region to find and improve their position in the European Research Area, says Dall.

“The proposed Regional Strategy offers methodological, organisational and financial requirements for motivation of development and innovation capacities in the Western Balkans. It is up to us to prove if we are SMART enough to make use of the opportunity”, concludes Kutlaca.



Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
Related organisations

Entry created by Katarina Rohsmann on May 18, 2011
Modified on May 18, 2011