News archive - Boosting ICT Innovation in South Eastern Europe

In South Eastern Europe, efforts towards the restructuring of research capacities are gathering forward momentum, and opportunities for synergies with European research programmes and initiatives are markedly on the increase.
Still, turning such opportunities into realities presents a number of challenges: that’s where supporting programmes and projects come in, aiming both to boost the individual R&D systems in these countries, and to help their gradual integration in the European Research Area. Three such characteristic examples are IS2WeB, SEE-INNOVATION and SCORE, all supporting the participation of South East European research entities in Framework Programme-funded activities in the area of IST - Information Society Technologies (ICT in FP7).

This is unarguably a top-level priority for cooperation with the EU in the region, and there is a pronounced need for enhanced S&T cooperation between the Western Balkans and the EU in this domain. In addition, it is necessary to increase private investment in ICT research in the broader South Eastern European region, mostly through the enhanced participation of innovative local ICT Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the 6th Framework Programme and other R&D schemes.
With regards to implementation, the results of two of the above mentioned projects have so far been more than encouraging, with both IS2WeB and SEE-INNOVATION managing to significantly increase awareness of and mobilise participation in FP6 activities amongst their target organisations – Western Balkan ICT research organisations and innovative ICT SMEs in South Eastern Europe, respectively. In IS2WeB in particular, over 20% of the target organisations participated in 61 IST Call 6 proposals, mostly in the strategic objectives related to the Western Balkans specifically and the development of Specific Support Actions (SSAs) or Coordination Actions (CAs) for strategic cooperation; 6 out of these proposals have been retained for funding, implying a satisfactory success rate of around 12%. SEE-INNOVATION has likewise provided consistent support to its target SMEs in their attempts to join IST Call 6 proposals, whereas SCORE, an FP6 SSA soon-to-be-launched, aims to take off from just where SEE-INNOVATION and IS2WeB are leaving by addressing so-far unmet policy challenges in ICT research in the Western Balkans.
In addition, SCORE will be building on the work of GREAT-IST and SEEFIRE, two further FP6 projects addressing ICT issues in the Western Balkans and the broader South Eastern European region. In particular, GREAT-IST focuses on the harmonisation of ICT research priorities in the Western Balkans, the Newly Independent States and the Accession and Candidate Countries, bringing together the IST research stakeholders of these countries so that they become more easily integrated in the European Research Area. In contradistinction, the key objective of SEEFIRE is to exploit results of existing IST projects, producing studies on the options available for network infrastructure, and also on possible strategies for Research and Education Networking development in South East Europe. The ultimate aim is to raise awareness on the results of the SEEREN, GN1 and SERENATE FP6 projects, which were centred on interconnection facilities in South Eastern Europe and the measures needed to reduce the digital divide.
In terms of approach, the projects' IS2WeB and SEE-INNOVATION support to date has been primarily delivered via FP6-focussed mentoring workshops and coaching services to the target entities. However, a study of the IS2WeB IST Call 6 participation results recently concluded has revealed an additional critical factor for successful involvement in FP6 research: networking. According to this study’s results, more than 40% of the IS2WeB target group organisations became involved in consortia featuring one or more IS2WeB partners, a finding that underscores the importance of collaboration partners for successful entry in this very competitive field. For the IS2WeB consortium, this insight further implies that not only should the project continue fostering networking between its target institutions and pertinent EU organisations, but that it should also intensify its efforts to network its target group members that will now enter EU-funded projects for the first time with the remaining target organisations, as this activity can act as a kind of “door opener” to participation for the latter.
Additional future activities in the IS2WeB agenda include the organisation of a new series of national thematic workshops, featuring best practises and future trends in ICT topics of interest to the project target group. In a similar vein, SEE-INNOVATION will be organising a number of international know-how transfer events, but the focus here will be on matchmaking and SME cluster formation with a view to improved South East European SME participation in FP7 ICT projects. For more information on these events and workshops, which are due to take place between December 2006 and March 2007, please visit the two projects’ websites at and, respectively.
SCORE is planned to be launched in early February, so for further details please contact the project coordinator Raphael Koumeri at

Article published in eJournal fall 06.
Author: Angeliki Skamvetsaki, Planet S.A.

Entry created by Angeliki Skamvetsaki on November 13, 2006
Modified on November 10, 2006