News archive - Dialogue Forum on ICT Research for the Western Balkan Countries launched

The Dialogue Forum on ICT Research for the Western Balkan Countries was officially launched in Belgrade on May 21, 2009. Being conceived and supported within the FP7 funded Project WINS-ICT Western Balkan Countries Inco-NET Support in the field of ICT the Dialogue Forum is created in order to become the Platform of the Western Balkan Countries for the discussion on ICT research related policy issues requiring consideration by high-level decision makers on the regional level that shall moreover link and contribute to the Steering Platform on Research for the Western Balkan Countries specifically as for the ICT research field.

Host organization of the event was the Serbian Ministry of Telecommunication and Information Society, that jointly with several public and private organizations of other EU member states and all WB countries run the WINS-ICT project.
This first meeting was moderated by the WINS-ICT co-ordinator (Ms. Desiree Pecarz – ZSI) and co-chaired by:

  • Ms Jelena Surculija, Assistant of Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society of the Republic of Serbia,
  • Mr Stephan Pascall - Adviser International Cooperation, Integration of New Member States and Regional Aspects for RTD – EC DG Information Society
  • Ms Tatjana Knezevic, Ministry of Education and Science Montenegro representing the Steering Platform on Research for the WBC

From the Western Balkan Countries 20 delegates participated after being appointed by respective Ministries of Science and Education, Information Society, Technological Development, Agencies for Information Society, etc.

The event offered the opportunity to present the general working framework, and discuss on the guiding principle of the Dialogue Forum. The participants decided to finalize such guidelines in one-month time, together with the minutes, but generally it was agreed on the following:

1) Mission of the Dialogue Forum
The Dialogue Forum aims at being the platform of the Western Balkan Countries for the discussion on ICT research related policy issues requiring consideration by high-level decision makers on the regional level.
Being a strategic body to deal with issues of ICT policies in and with the WBCs, it shall foster possible harmonised solutions for common problems. Moreover, due to the attendance of European Commission and Steering Platform representatives, the Forum shall aim also at considering concrete cooperation opportunities within the 7th Framework Programme for RTD.
The Dialogue Forum shall in parallel ensure the right level of information flow and foster the proposal of common ideas and initiatives. The Forum intends finally to provide coordination for needs, suggestions and proposals of the WBCs to the WBCs, the European Commission, the EU27, candidate and potential candidate countries and the countries associated to FP7 (AC) and vice versa.

2) Role and main actions
In order to contribute and support the Steering Platform as for the promotion, implementation, and development of ICT Research and Development cooperation with the European Commission, the EU27, candidate and potential candidate countries and the countries associated to FP7 (AC), the Dialogue Forum will:

• Act as a forum for exchanging information and views, elaborating recommendations on the ICT RTD policy, and coordinating needs, suggestions and proposals in and towards the WBCs, especially regarding the Framework Programmes, and follow up the progress towards their implementation;

• Monitor the implementation of the regional ICT policy eSEE Agenda+ and present summary reports at its meetings; monitor ICT RTD policies and developments including interactions with innovation and higher education, and intervene with specific recommendations, if deemed necessary;

• Propose concrete actions to be taken in the context of furthering the EU-WBC cooperation on ICT RTD and the bi- and multilateral cooperation activities and follow up the progress towards their implementation;

• Identify issues (research fields, barriers, actions, etc.) of mutual importance to be addressed in the context of the Forum; and,

• Seek synergies with other instruments, organisations and stakeholders to strengthen the research capacity in the Western Balkan countries.

The up to date lists of aforementioned suggestions, proposals, recommendations, actions, issues, and synergies together with the track records of the progress towards their implementation will be maintained at the WINS-ICT.EU web site

The participating members were moreover introduced to the recent SCORE and WBC-INCO.NET studies focusing on the barriers to research cooperation, and acknowledged such studies as valid information instruments for developing a fruitful discussion on the ICT policy necessary in the Western Balkan region.


While the WBC-INCO.NET research was carried out by the Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb and analyses the hampering factors to bilateral and FP research cooperation not only for the Western Balkan but also EU organisation, the SCORE policy paper is the rresult of a broad consultation process among ICT stakeholders of the Western Balkan Countries and regarding FP7 cooperation only. Both the documents propose recommendations to surmount existing obstacles.
According to these studies it is clear that the:
• Pattern of barriers and motivation to do research is similar for researchers of WBC and EU-MS but the perception and impact of barriers are different in WBC and EU-MS (same barrier makes international cooperation more difficult for WB researchers)
• WBC researchers currently participate in international R&D cooperation to a significant smaller extent and this means that policy measures aimed at building the CAPACITIES in the WBC to participate in FP initiatives are definitely necessary, and its need is perceived in the WBC more than in the EU MS
• A proper policy mix of measures at both WB national level, WB regional level and at the level of the EC should be addressed in short time.
• Human resources proved to be the most sensitive issue. High attention should be given to the weak research networks between the region and the EU and it is recommended to develop improved processes for partner search facilities in the region and the development of a regional comprehensive database of ICT research actors to be managed at regional level and constantly updated. Similarly an important issue is the lack of professionals to support FP proposal writing and project management, and as a mirror recommendation is not only to train on project proposal development and management but also to create awareness on the importance of R&D managers within organisations and the encouragement of WB researchers to act as evaluators of FP proposal.
• The following ICT priorities were considered appropriate for EU-WB FP7 research cooperation as being not only attractive for the WB researchers but also implying appropriate capacities in terms of human resources and infrastructures: ICT for Government and eGovernment, ICT for Enterprise and eBusiness, Internet and Broadband technologies, ICT for learning and eLearning, ICT for Health and eHealth.

As before mentioned the delegates decided to finalize the minutes of the meeting in one-month time, and to agree on the final version of guiding principles in such a circumstance.
In one month time a final decision will be taken also as for the next Dialogue Forum that will be probably held beginning of October 2009. Regarding the next themes for discussion, the conclusions of the upcoming Steering Platform will be taken in due consideration.
The delegates finally recognized that the inter-regional dialogue is an important element and that the platform is a beginning for the dialogue to prepare for the political level, so as to achieve better European integration. But integration into the Framework Programme is not the only scope, the scope is wider. So, in order to effectively solve problems, the Forum should also concentrate on the barriers conceived by policy makers and not only by single researchers. It is important that the Forum provides an honest input from the region with a palette of proposals, and that the meetings of the Dialogue Forum meet the interest and participation of high-level decision makers.

For further information: Please contact Ms. Desiree Pecarz, Center for Social Innovation


SCORE D7 - Policy Paper “Shaping EU-WB cooperation in the field of ICT RTD in the period 2008-2013: priorities and recommendations” (

WBC.INCO.NET D 3.18 - Study “Barriers in research cooperation of WB countries”   (

Geographical focus
  • International; Other
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • General
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Entry created by Elke Dall on June 3, 2009
Modified on September 5, 2013