News archive - The System of National Contact Points in the Western Balkan Countries

Researchers looking for support as regards their future participation in the Framework Programmes (FPs) often turn to the internet (e.g. the CORDIS website), but most successfully to their National Contact Points (NCPs). A well-established and professional NCP system is the basis for successful participation of researchers in the Framework Programmes.

Therefore, one of the core objectives of the FP6 project ERA WESTBALKAN, coordinated by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG, was the operational set up and training of the NCP network in the Western Balkan countries.Now, more than two years after the start of the project, 19 NCPs are important information providers for their national research communities. They promote the Framework Programme, advise researchers on project-related issues, set up a data base comprising researchers and research institutions and offer partner searches to enhance their countries’ participation in Framework projects.
The importance of the NCP system in these countries is for example reflected in the successful participation of researchers from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the 6th Framework Programme (FP6).
“The turning point happened when the Ministry got involved into the ERA WESTBALKAN project in May 2004”, says Violeta Atanasovska, overall NCP coordinator and Senior Advisor in the Ministry of Education and Science of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
“As the 6th Framework Programme is coming to an end and first results become evident, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia can be more than satisfied by its participation in this Programme. According to an internal review by the Ministry of Education and Science, national researchers participated in about 50 FP6 projects with a total budget of about 5 million euro, which lies far beyond all expectations.” The total yearly budget of the Ministry for research comprises about 2 million euro.
At the very beginning, due to a lack of personnel and training, participation in the Framework Programme was more than modest. Then, with the Ministry’s involvement in ERA WESTBALKAN, a lot of work was done “on the ground”: In order to present the possibilities offered by the Framework Programme and to answer questions related to project preparation, almost all faculties, institutes and research units in the country were visited. Besides the support from this project, help for all these activities and events came from the Slovenian Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology, the Austrian Science and Research Liaison Offices (ASO) and the European Commission.
Encouraged by these activities, the Ministry is now making efforts to increase the number of NCPs for FP7 and to facilitate conditions for continuing this success story in the future.

Article published in eJournal fall 06.
Authors: Evelina Santa and Violeta Atanasovska

CORDIS provides a site which enables you to search for NCPs in the Member States and Associated States: see /link/685.html.

Entry created by Evelina Santa on November 13, 2006
Modified on November 10, 2006