Themes

Here you can find information on different thematic areas and selected topics. All related articles from our databases are linked to each theme, which makes it easier to find all related information.

Please NOTE: this section is work in progress and will be updated continously.

If you would like to suggest a specific topic of relevance for WBC, or contribute to one of the monthly topics (by sending your resarch paper, unpublished or published articles, by informing the comunity on related events, links, documents etc. – please do not hesitate to contact us any time at office@wbc-rti.info and share your ideas and suggestions with us. 

  • Erasmus celebrates 30 years!

    The Commission launched end of January 2017 celebrations on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the start of Erasmus, one of the most successful programmes of the European Union. The Commission also published the Erasmus+ Annual Report. Events will take place throughout 2017 at European, national and local levels to highlight the positive impact of Erasmus both on individuals and society as a whole, and to give all those involved the opportunity to debate how the programme should evolve in the future.

  • Towards 2017

    The European Commission adopted on November 9, 2016 its annual Enlargement Package. It assesses where the countries of the Western Balkans and Turkey stand in implementing key political and economic reforms, and what needs to be done to address the remaining challenges. Related to Science, Research and Innovation there is a good level of preparation in Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, while in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo the preparations are at an early stage in the area of science and research however some progress was made also in 2016. Some of the main recommendations provided by the authors and which are valid for all countries from the region are - similar to recommendations for 2016 - to increse investment in research and work on capacity building measures. Below you will find links to 2016 Western Balkan progress reports as well as an overview on selected articles (news, events, calls, documents etc.) covering different thematic issues from 2016 and towards 2017.

  • INFORM | Closing the Gap between Formal and Informal Institutions in the Balkans

    One of our next topics will be related to research on Western Balkan's challenges towards EU integration. Here we will present the Horizon 2020 funded INFORM project, focusing on "Closing the Gap between Formal and Informal Institutions in the Balkans".

    INFORM aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the interaction between the formal institutions brought about by EU integration processes and the informal institutions prevalent in the Western Balkan countries. Formal institutions and rules, such as legal and political regulations, as well as organizations and mechanisms of their implementation, determine formal constraints. Informal institutions, on the other hand, comprise the unwritten rules within a society and highlight the importance of such aspects of social life as conventions, cultural norms, and networks of affinity. The project is based on the premise that, shaken by radically changing ideological and legal structures over the past century, citizens of the Western Balkan countries continue to rely on informal social networks to ensure their socio-economic and political security. These parallel processes have resulted in the widening of the gap between formal institutions and informal social practices. Consequently, the distance between proclaimed goals and existing practices represents a key challenge to the European integration of Balkan societies. INFORM aims to address this paradox by explicating the key formal and informal “rules of the game” that underpin tactical maneuvering between formal and informal institutions in various spheres and at various levels of social life in the Western Balkan countries. The identification and deciphering of the unwritten rules allows for a comparison to the demands and recommendations laid out in the key EU integration. The meticulous, bottom-up research, based in ethnographic approach, will result in policy recommendations aimed at acknowledging informality as part of social life and closing the gap between formal and informal institutions in Balkan societies.

  • Smart Specialisation

    The S3 approach is characterised by the identification of strategic areas for intervention based both on the analysis of the strengths and potential of the economy and on an Entrepreneurial Discovery Process (EDP) with wide stakeholder involvement. It embraces a broad view of innovation supported by effective monitoring mechanisms. Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3 or S3) set priorities at national and regional level to build competitive advantage by developing and matching research and innovation own strengths with business needs, to address emerging opportunities and market developments in a coherent manner, while avoiding duplication and fragmentation of efforts. They are also a backbone of national or regional research and innovation strategic policy frameworks in Europe. Since 2011, the Smart Specialisation Platform (S3 Platform) acts as a facilitator for regions and countries in the uptake and incorporation of the smart specialisation concept and methodology in their research and innovation strategies. Currently, 170 EU regions and 18 EU Member states, as well as 9 non-EU regions and 2 non-EU countries have registered in the S3 Platform, and the community is continuously growing. (Source: EC-JRC)

  • ICT Research & Innovation

    The ICT sector represents 4.8% of the European economy. It generates 25% of total business expenditure in Research and Development (R&D), and investments in ICT account for 50% of all European productivity growth. EU investments in ICTs are due to increase by about 25% under Horizon 2020 compared to FP7. This EU investment will support the whole chain from basic research to innovation that can deliver new business breakthroughs, often on the basis of emerging technologies. Information and Communication Technologies underpin innovation and competitiveness across private and public sectors and enable scientific progress in all disciplines. (EC) Thus in H2020, ICT-related topics can be found in all priorities, from 'Excellence Science' to 'Industrial Leadership', to 'Societal Challenges'. Please check the updated version (as of July 2016) of the Guide to ICT-related activities in WP 2016-17 which is designed to help potential proposers find ICT-related topics across the different parts of H2020. The European Commission is also organising an Horizon 2020 Calls Info Day on 2 December 2016 in Brussels that is relevant for potential proposers from the Western Balkans as well.

    Photo: © flaivoloka


    In Focus: ICT Research & Innovation is in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in October/November 2016


     

  • Innovation in SMEs | Innovation Management

    Small- and  Medium- sized  Enterprises  (SMEs) that are EU-based or established in a country associated to Horizon 2020 (thus including SMEs from Western Balkan countries) are  encouraged  to participate across the whole Horizon 2020 programme. The objective of ‘Innovation in SMEs’ is to optimise the Research, Development & Innovation environment for SMEs, including through the establishment and facilitation of a range of support services, with the aim of strengthening the innovation capacity of SMEs and creating value on the market and/or into society, thus underpinning the Europe2020 strategy for smart, inclusive and sustainable growth. A range of actions contributes to building innovation management capacity for Small and Medium Enterprises. Innovation management capacity is the internal ability of companies to manage innovation processes from the generation of the idea to its profitability on the market. It is a process that encompasses the whole range of decisions, activities and measures in order to facilitate the transfer of an idea into the business value. This process can be applied for all kind of ideas, whether it is about a product, process or a service. The focus of the Innovation Management is to provide the set of measures and tools which will facilitate the inventors to respond to the challenges in the whole innovation cycle and to turn their ideas into successful innovations on the market.


    Innovation in SMEs | Innovation Management was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in September/October 2016. Related article is available here. Please find below also a selection of the topic related articles. 


     

  • Steering Platform on Research for Western Balkans

    The Steering Platform on research, established in 2006, facilitates the interaction between the Western Balkan Countries, the EU member states, the candidate and potential candidate countries and other states associated to the Framework Programmes for RTD and the European Commission. Its main objective is to support the enhanced integration of the WBCs in the European Research Area. It is a strategic body to deal with European, multilateral and regional issues of Science and Technology policies in and with the WBCs. It acts as an information exchange centre, clearing house for joint ideas and activities, and coordination forum for needs, suggestions and proposals of the WBCs to the European Commission, the EU28, candidate and potential candidate countries and the countries associated to Horizon 2020 and vice versa. In this spirit, the Platform continues and intensifies the progress achieved under the EU-Balkan Countries Action Plan on Science and Technology since 2006. It is expected that the Steering Platform will continue with its work also in the years to come. Updates will be available at the WBC-RTI.info website - Information Platform funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) and implemented by Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI) - both in this way actively supporting the Steering Platform meetings.


    SP was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in July 2015. Related article is available here. Following the 18th SP meeting held in Sarajevo in June 2016 an update was prepared. All SP related articles are available below. 


  • Western Balkans Process | Joint Science Conference

    On the invitation of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an intergovernmental conference on the Western Balkans was held in Berlin on 28 August 2014. It was the launching conference of the Western Balkans Process. After the launching of the political initiative, the Leopoldina as Germany’s National Academy, was entrusted by the German Federal Government to take over the initiative in the field of education, science and society. The 1st Joint Science Conference was held in Halle and Berlin in 2015, the 2nd Joint Science Conference in Vienna in 2016, the 3rd Conference will be held in Paris in 2017. The circle of stakeholders is represented by national academies of sciences and arts, rectors’ conferences, distinguished scientists ad personam and junior scientists. Further representatives of (international) organisations, the EU-commission, national governments and embassies take part as invited participants or observers. The participants discuss current challenges and possible solutions and improvements for the science systems in the Western Balkans. The results are usually summarised in Joint Statements, Final Conclusions or Communiqués. These are fed into the annual Western Balkans Leaders’ Summits in form of recommendations and independent advice.

    Western Balkans Process | Joint Science Conference was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in July 2016. Related article is available here. Please find below also a selection of other related articles. 

  • Women in Science | Gender Equality

    Promoting gender equality is a core activity for the EU. The Commission's “Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-2019” is a reference framework for increased efforts at all levels, be they European, national, regional or local. In Horizon 2020 Gender is a cross-cutting issue and is mainstreamed in each of the different parts of the Work Programme, ensuring a more integrated approach to research and innovation. Though gender inequalities in R&I persist, the latest “She Figures 2015” (including some of the Western Balkan countries) publication shows that some progress has been made, although attrition continues to exist at higher levels of a scientific career.

    Please find below some gender / women in science related links and articles including the She Figures 2015 and some open calls in Horizon 2020 related to topics with gender dimension.


    Women in Science | Gender Equality was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in May/June 2016. Related article is available here. Please find below also a selection of the topic related articles. 


     

  • Youth | Science | Society

    The participants of the Western Balkans Vienna Summit 2015 clearly recognized that improving the perspective of young generations is of “paramount importance in ensuring stability, sustainable development and progress of the region”. They also welcomed "the proposal to make civil society an additional important element of the Berlin Process". Both, youth and society can also be considered of utmost relevance for the region when it comes to improving the framework conditions for research and innovation.

    The organisations from the Western Balkans are also well adviced to consider the participation in one of the current open calls within the  Horizon  2020  Specific  Programme -  'Science  with  and  for Society' (SWAFS). The aim of the programme is "to build effective cooperation between science and society,  to  recruit  new  talent  for  science  and  to  pair  scientific  excellence  with  social awareness and responsibility". In this context, you will find below an information on some recent related developments in form of news, events, organisations as well as selected open calls.


    Youth | Science | Society was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in May 2016. Related article is available here. Please find below also a selection of the topic related articles. 


  • RRI - Responsible Research and Innovation

    Responsible research and innovation is an approach that anticipates and assesses potential implications and societal expectations with regard to research and innovation, with the aim to foster the design of inclusive and sustainable research and innovation. Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) implies that societal actors (researchers, citizens, policy makers, business, third sector organisations, etc.) work together during the whole research and innovation process in order to better align both the process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of society. In practice, RRI is implemented as a package that includes multi-actor and public engagement in research and innovation, enabling easier access to scientific results, the take up of gender and ethics in the research and innovation content and process, and formal and informal science education. [European Commission]

    In this context, the FP7-funded RRI Tools project is implemented with the objective to deliver a participatory set of digital resources - ‘the RRI Toolkit’ - to advocate, train, disseminate and implement RRI. So far, the project has gathered a wealth of online resources from all over Europe and developed new ones – the RRI Toolkit – to help stakeholders (researchers, policy-makers, business and industry, educators and civil society organizations) across Europe - including South East Europe, to put Responsible Research and Innovation into practice. The RRI Toolkit is online since March 2016 at http://www.rri-tools.eu. Collaborating with all stakeholders, the project ultimately aims at creating a Community of Practice in Europe, which will ensure the use, evolution and enrichment of the Toolkit. RRI Tools is being carried out by a consortium of 26 partners extending across 30 countries of the European Research Area, and is coordinated by "La Caixa" Foundation (Spain). The coordinator of the SEE RRI Hub is the Center for the promotion of Science from Belgrade. Please find below all related information to RRI tools project and SEE RRI Hub.


    RTDI Evaluation / Evaluation Culture was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in March 2016. Related article is available here. Please find below also a selection of the topic related articles.


     

  • RTDI Evaluation / Evaluation Culture

    The complexity and heterogeneity of innovation systems in different European and Western Balkan countries  requires strategic intelligence to design, implement, and monitor research, technological development, and innovation (RTDI) measures at different spatial levels (local, national, regional, and European) by addressing issues of relevance, efficiency, efficacy, impact, and sustainability . For this purpose, evaluations are an essential tool for evidence-based decision-making. This is especially true in the South-East Europe region, which is characterised by the adoption and adaptation of new RTDI policies, programmes, and (support) institutions, and a transformation of funding towards competitive schemes. At the same time, however, a lack of methodological and procedural know-how on the part of both evaluators and awarding authorities concerning the purpose, design, and use of evaluations, has become evident.


    RTDI Evaluation / Evaluation Culture was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in March 2016. Related article is available here. Please find below also a selection of the topic related articles.


  • "Regional Strategies for and with the Western Balkans"

    Which strategy is being followed in research and innovation in the Western Balkan countries? Are there too many strategies and how well interconnected are they? Are they truly been followed or just pieces of paper?

    The essence of strategy is that you must set limits on what you're trying to accomplish. (Michael Porter)


    "Regional Strategies for and with the Western Balkans" was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in January 2016. Related article is available here. Please find below also a selection of the topic related articles.


     

  • South East European Scientific Diaspora

    There is a long history of outmigration from Southeast European countries, creating large population groups residing abroad (mostly in EU countries and USA) and are usually referred to as SEE diaspora, SEE emigrants, SEE expatriates etc. Regarding scientific diaspora and brain drain, the governments in the region - being aware of related challenges for the overall economies – have recently undertaken a number of initiatives to address the issue. These include several of the traditional measures, from creation of directory databases, “knowledge networks,” and discussion forums to the provision of visiting and post-doctorate fellowships. Please find below some related reports, links to directory databases and other related information. 


    South East European Scientific Diaspora was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in December 2015. Related article is available here . Please find below also a selection of the topic related articles.


     

  • RTDI capacity in WBC and capacity building opportunities

    Several studies so far confirmed that all WB countries need not only to increase investment in research in general but also to strengthen the research and innovation capacity at national level as well as to strengthen the administrative capacity to ensure successful participation in Horizon 2020 and other national, regional and EU research funding programmes.

    “Although sustained funding remains an obvious enabler for research excellence, growing the quality and volume of human talent that carries out the research, produces the publications, wins grant income, trains the next generation of researchers and contributes to economic and societal innovation, engagement and education remains an essential element when growing a successful, sustainable university or national economy.” Prof. Peter W Halligan

    This is one of the reasons why we focus this time on RTDI capacity and potential of WB countries that might be of interest for regional but also EU and international researchers, as well as on some capacity building opportunities for researchers from WB countries. Please find below some related information. Besides, You are warmly welcome to upload any further relevant call for papers, training and internship opportunity for young researchers, national training opportunity for administrative project staff etc. When registered at the WBC-RTI.info, you have the opportunity to upload your content by yourself. Otherwise, you can any time provide the information via email to office@wbc-rti.info. 


    RTDI capacity in WBC and capacity building opportunities was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in November 2015. Related article is available here. Please find below also a selection of the topic related articles.


     

  • Research funding opportunities

    The European Commission will invest almost €16 billion in research and innovation in the next two years under Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation funding scheme, following a new Work Programme for 2016-17 adopted in October 2015. All Western Balkan countries (except Kosovo* which also can participate as a third country) are associated to Horizon 2020, thus legal  entities  from  Associated  Countries  can  participate  under  the  same  conditions  as legal entities from the Member States. Following the first preliminary results of the WBC participation in Horizon 2020, indicating overall low participation rate (Albania: 10%; Bosnia & Herzegovina: 13%; FYROM: 15%; Montenegro: 18%; Serbia: 11% and in particular low participation of industry/SMEs) – research organisations from WBC, universities, SMEs and single researchers are invited to put their ideas on paper and find partners to jointly prepare excellent proposals within a new work programme 2016/2017. 

    “Horizon 2020 will continue to fund researchers and innovators at the cutting edge of their research disciplines, working on the latest breakthroughs in science. It supports projects across the cycle from research to innovation, using a range of financial instruments to facilitate their exploitation and access to markets. It will also invest in training of researchers including exchanges between industry and academia, create opportunities to build research teams in Member States where the research and innovation potential is underexploited, and take a strategic approach to international cooperation in research and innovation. In line with the "Open Science, Open Innovation, Open to the World" agenda set by Commissioner Moedas, responsible for Research, Science and Innovation, the Work Programme is designed to open up European research and innovation, for instance, by attracting more SMEs; ensuring better use of research results and strengthening research cooperation with other countries. It will also greatly enhance the impact of EU research funding, in line with the EU Budget focused on Results strategy launched by the Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva, responsible for budget and human resources.” (Source: European Commission - Fact Sheet, MEMO/15/5832)

    There are several topics introduced within different calls for proposals in Horizon 2020 but also some other current or future funding programmes which might be of high interest for Western Balkan countries. Please find below some selected calls and useful documents. 


    Research funding opportunities and performance of WBC was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in October 2015. Related article is available here . Please find below also a selection of the topic related articles. 


     

  • Research and Innovation Policy in Western Balkans - some recent developments

    In recent years the Western Balkan countries have made some important efforts to overcome the negative consequences of the economic and political transition and its impact on the region’s research and innovation sectors: They adopted a variety of strategies, laws and programs to improve the performance of the sector on the national level  and they improved the regional cooperation in R&D for example by committing themselves to “Western Balkans Regional R&D Strategy for Innovation” and Smart Growth pillar of the “South East European 2020 Strategy” (SEE 2020).  All countries are also associated to Horizon 2020; the preliminary results show some first success stories however overall participation rate is quite low. WBC also agreed on the establishment of “Western Balkans Research and Innovation Centre” (WISE) by the end of 2015 aiming at strengthening the regional research, innovation and technology systems by providing support, advice, information and recommendations to the states, public and private institutions, non-governmental organizations and all other relevant stakeholders. However, social and political problems are still more pressing in WBC than the low level of R&D investment (Serbia and Montenegro spend on around 1% of GDP on R&D, while other countries in the region spend up to 0,3% of GDP)  or support for technology transfer activities. The importance of the education, research and innovation for the overall success of the EU-integration efforts of the Western Balkans was again confirmed during the 1st Joint Science Conference held on July 15-17, 2015 in Halle and Berlin and during the second Summit Meeting on the Western Balkans held in Vienna on August 27, 2015 – both events in the framework of the Western Balkans Process, also known as the ‘Berlin process'. 


    Research and Innovation Policy in Western Balkans - some recent developments was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in August 2015. Related article is available here . Please find below also a selection of the topic related articles.


  • From research to market - what is needed in WBC?

    Traditional modes of funding in research and higher education sector are in the process of change across Europe, including the higher education institutions in Western Balkan region. Public resources are being reduced in many countries while becoming more demanding and competitive at the same time, thus funding efficiency and financial sustainability are high on the agenda of the national, regional but also EU policy-makers. The trend related to modernisation of universities is clearly away from purely educational institutions towards entrepreneurial universities. The relevance of the topic was confirmed during the final conference of WBCInno project, held in Novi Sad on September 18, 2015.  In words of Prof. Dr. Goran Stojanovic, conference organiser from the University of Novi Sad:

    “The topic “Modernisation of universities” is important topic bearing in mind that in this era, universities should be not only educational and research institutions, but also institutions which should establish close links with business sector, providing new opportunities for employment of students. Universities in WB region especially should improve this so-called third mission and they should take role also to create new working places through opening spin-offs or through cooperation with industrial sector. In situation when industrial sector in WBCs is not well developed, such as in the most developed countries in Europe and worldwide, university should educate students, should try to create job opportunities and to create new innovative values on the market. It seems that we expect from universities to be ALL IN ONE, but bearing in mind that the most educated persons are on our universities, it is realistic that universities can perform above mentioned complex roles and responsibilities.”

    The purpose of the conference was to provide an international forum for the exchange of useful information over the broad spectrum of fields covered by entrepreneurship, knowledge/technology transfer, and university and business cooperation, so Prof. Stojanovic. 

    “The above-mentioned topics have resulted in 35 papers being submitted and reviewed, with 93 authors from 8 countries. Accepted papers were presented through 23 oral presentations and 12 posters sessions.”


    From research to market - what is needed in WBC? was in focus of the WBC-RTI.info newsletter in September 2015. Related article is available here. Please find below also a selection of the topic related articles. 


  • Information useful for SMEs involved in research

    Here you will find some relevant information focusing the SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) who are involved in research and innovation.  

  • Horizon 2020

    Here you will find useful information related to Horizon 2020, the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness. Running from 2014 to 2020 with an approximate budget of €70 billion, the EU’s new programme for research and innovation is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe.

  • Finding project partners

    If you are searching for project partners, please refer to some of the links indicated below. You are also welcome to use the news section of this portal to publish your parner search (reaching over 3000 registered users), or one of our social media channels (eg. you can reach via our Facebook profile over 1120 persons interested in WBC and cooperation in RTI.  

  • Finding open calls

    Please notice that we publish only some of the existing calls that are of interest for WBC. Regarding Horizon 2020, please refer to the participant portal as the main infopoint for this programme. 

  • Information useful for financial project managers

    Here you will find useful information in particular relevant for financial project managers.

  • Useful information regarding dissemination activities

    Here you will find some useful information regarding dissemination activities.

  • Mobility and circulations of researchers

    Coming soon

  • Social Sciences

    Coming soon

  • Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT)

    Coming soon..

  • Research Infrastructures

    Coming soon

  • Cluster Development

    Coming soon