News archive - The International Scientific Cooperation within the Central European Initiative

The International Scientific Cooperation within the Central European Initiative
The Central European Initiative (CEI) is an intergovernmental body, set-up in 1989, for stimulating and supporting political, economic and cultural cooperation among its Members and with the EU. This cooperation is developed at all levels, ranging from Prime Ministers to individual institutions, and includes common policies involving the various countries of the Central Eastern Europe and the Balkans, embracing topics from security to research. There are 18 member countries participating in the CEI, extending to Ukraine and Bielorussia in the East and Serbia, Montenegro and Albania in the South.

The CEI has an Executive Secretariat which can be contacted regarding initiatives and is described in more detail on the web-site The activities related to Science and Technology are coordinated and stimulated by an ad hoc working group, which has been operating for more than ten years.

The development of common policies in Science and Technology has been implemented through a number of initiatives, the major ones being the construction of a Network of Research Institutions, the Support to International Meetings and Training Activities, and the selection and support of ideas for the Start-Up of Business Initiatives from Research. With the entry of several CEI Countries in the EU, the activities are being more focussed on the nine countries not (yet) in the EU. In this way, the new EU Member States become, together with the “older” EU States (in particular Austria and Italy), supporters of the countries more in need of support. In the last few years, there has been a stronger connection to the EU Framework Programme, thus increasing leverage.

The network of institutions has been built starting from the many international institutions operating in Trieste which, in turn, are connected to institutions in the other countries. The network ensures the circulation of ideas and people, and the easy movement of students and trainees, as well as researchers. The resources for these activities are made available by integrating resources of the Trieste institutions and the CEI Secretariat, thus increasing the resources offered to CEI countries. The support of meetings and training activities is activated by applications to the CEI Secretariat, and the proposals are evaluated by the Working Group. Resources for these actions are limited, but it is possible to obtain grants of 5.000 to 15.000 euros, provided that the initiative mainly involves researchers from the CEI countries and shows good scientific quality. The third initiative, to support the connection between research and business, is based on open calls for ideas to be submitted by teams of researchers led by junior researchers, who believe they have a good idea or a technological result from research, which can be the base for starting a new industrial business. The proposals are selected on the basis of their quality and feasibility, and the selected teams receive a grant of about 10.000 euros aimed at supporting the early stages of their business idea, in particular the development of a business plan and the setting up of a firm. The CEI is, thus, one of the instruments aimed at the reconnection of a common socioeconomic environment between all countries, and the rebuilding of the common cultural links. The involvement of research, which has the advantage of being used for collaboration, has a particular significance in facilitating an overall process which needs to proceed quickly to allow the CEI region to become competitive at world level in the context of globalisation.

Article published in eJournal spring 07.

Entry created by Carlo Rizzuto on June 1, 2007
Modified on May 31, 2007