Advancing R&I ecosystems in the Western Balkans with regard to their ERA integration

September 4, 2020 12:00 - 1:30

About

The integration of the Western Balkans (WBs) into the EU is still a major political and economic endeavour aimed at guaranteeing stability and development in the region. In such a context, cooperation in R&I has been stimulated as a valuable tool to facilitate such process. WBs are actually facing a challenging framework in their R&I systems. Considering the fragmented scientific landscape, the heterogeneous capacities and the structural deficiencies in R&I sectors, a transformation process of the Balkans towards a knowledge-based and innovation dominated economy is necessary. Research conditions and environment still significantly differ among the WBs even if research capacity presents also common characteristics. However, and despite weaknesses and constraints, there is a strong potential for improvement of the situation. WBs prepared national strategies and carry out activities for the strengthening of their R&I capacities while association to the EU Framework Programmes contributed for many years to the motivation of researchers and to the enhancement of research capacity. This interactive roundtable intends to support the EU Western Balkans Strategy, and especially the Action Plan in Support of the transformation of the Western Balkans under supporting socioeconomic development. Themes for the debate will range from regional cooperation and mobility of researchers in view of integration into a true European Research Area as recently mentioned by new President-elect of European Commission, Ms. Ursula von der Leyen. Further key discussion points will include the increasing and attracting of human resources and capacity building in the R&I system, as well as inclusion of Open Science in WB policies and of Centres of Excellence, flagship initiatives (like SEEIIST) and research infrastructures into strategies. Finally, the round table will allow for discussions on the most effective way to use the widening approach in the upcoming Framework Programme and instruments such as S3 strategies, and also in their initial actions to improve infrastructure and R&I capacity.

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