On 15 October 2023, Center Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV) hosted the panel “The prospects of mobility driven Research and Innovation: How to strengthen Western Balkans integration into European Research Area?” part of the 2023 Civil Society and Think Tank Forum of Berlin Process, bringing together representatives from civil society organizations, universities, research centers and other stakeholders in the Westerns Balkans and in the European Union.
The panel, with representatives from the European Commission, civil society representatives, national ministries and funding agencies, as well as other experts from research and academia, was directed towards reflecting on how to strengthen the integration of the region into the European Research Area, ensuring the Western Balkan countries not only align with but also actively collaborate with their European peers in pioneering progressive initiatives.
The panellists emphasized the importance of education, scientific research, and innovation in promoting regional cooperation in the Western Balkans. They highlighted the importance of financing and supporting the ecosystem of research and innovation, cooperation within the WB and the EU for sustained economic growth and resilient societies, alongside accelerating integration of the region into the European Research Area. Access to research infrastructures and the importance of sharing experiences and best practices through maximising human capital and resources was another area highlighted where more needs to be done.
Lastly, the need to demonstrate the tangible impact of research and innovation initiatives to local communities achieved through collaborative efforts and evidence-based policy making were deemed essential to ensure that decisions are grounded in undeniable evidence and thorough research, while the involvement of various stakeholders, including businesses, is significant in this process.
As reflected by the work of the Thematic Working Group on Mobility, and by this panel discussion, research and innovation and knowledge transfer in the WB have the transformative potential of accelerating sustainable growth and convergence of the economies of the region with the EU. This potential can be attained only if the pressing challenges of R&I and mobility-driven innovation in the Western Balkans are addressed timely, to catalyze regional cooperation and facilitate integration into the EU, including the European Research Area.
- Publication date
- 17 October 2023
- Directorate-General for Research and Innovation