News archive - Study on the Mobility of WBC Researchers

The study “Barriers in research cooperation of Western Balkan countries”, carried out within the WBC-INCO.NET project by the Ivo Pilar Institute from Zagreb, was part of the first presentation of the EURAXESS programme in Croatia. It was a special occasion for the promotion of the project, since this event, held on June 29, 2009, marked Croatia's entry into the European researchers' network.

It was emphasised that the overall process of integration of WBCs into the European Research Area was laid down in the framework of the Zagreb Summit in 2000, when the status of “potential candidate” was offered to all WBCs on the basis of the Copenhagen criteria and the progress achieved in implementing the Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAA). The process has culminated in the adoption of the “EU – Balkan Countries Action Plan in Science and Technology” at the ministerial conference in Thessaloniki in 2003, which resulted in a full membership of all WBCs, except of Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244), in the Framework Programmes.

The dominant group of international projects of WBCs is funded by the EU Framework Programmes (64%), while inter-regional cooperation (bilateral projects with MS) count for 27% and intra-regional (bilateral projects with WBCs and Turkey) make up 9% of all projects. Croatia, Serbia and Turkey are the most successful partners in bilateral projects within the region, while Slovenia significantly predominates bilateral projects with the WBCs and Turkey among the Member States.

However, researchers from the WBCs and Turkey significantly lag behind researchers from EU Member States in the intensity of research cooperation and in research mobility. The mobility of WBC researchers is rather low, since almost half of the respondents (43%) declared no visit abroad within the last ten years. This calls for concerned actions of policy makers at the national and EU level. The dominant obstacles to mobility are visas followed by residence permits and health care insurances, while the least important obstacle is related to intellectual property rights. Researchers from Bosnia and Herzegovina experience the biggest obstacles to mobility. Research visits are mainly short-term (70% of all visits) and dominated by conferences and fellowships. The most frequently visited countries (Germany, Italy and UK) are among the most developed EU countries, while the leading destination country in the WBCs is Croatia.

It was concluded that the Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes has an important role in assisting the mobility of researchers, but support and coordinated action of all stakeholders (ministries, agencies, universities) are necessary to encourage inward and outward mobility of researchers in Croatia.

Author: Jadranka Švarc

Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
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Entry created by Katarina Rohsmann on October 23, 2009
Modified on October 23, 2009