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[Event review]: "Towards 2020: New Horizons for RTD and Innovation in the Western Balkan Region" - WBC-INCO.NET Final Conference & Brokerage Event

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The WBC-INCO.NET Final Conference & Brokerage Event was successfully held at TechGate Vienna on 27 and 28 March, 2014. The conference provided an open forum for more than 176 science policy makers, scientists and industry representatives from the Western Balkan Region, SEE, Danube Region but also other EU countries who were interested in cooperation with WB countries. Please find here the full programme of the conference as well as the conference programme booklet for download

Background

The Western Balkan countries (WBC) are an exciting region to work with and in, facing however many internal and external struggles—aspiring EU Membership, improving their governance and policies—with the area of Research and Innovation being only one of them, and often not one of high priority. The scientific performance in the region is for the most part below that of the average EU country. Technology transfer activities are scarce in the region and collaboration with industry tends to be driven by occasional opportunities rather than by strategic, long-term partnerships.

However, the past years have seen the association of almost all countries from the region to the 7th EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development; more or less active participation in the ERA and its governance; different efforts to improve the mobility of researchers, the exchange of knowledge, etc. Regional cooperation and participation in several support activities have been one way to tackle the challenges.

At the "Horizon 2020 Regional Launch Event for Western Balkans" on March 4, 2014 in Budva, Montenegro it was confirmed that the association procedures for Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are under way and well on track. This means that these WBC will participate in Horizon 2020 on equal terms like the EU Member States and not as "third countries". For all currently open calls, participants from the region and their consortia may prepare proposals as if they are already associated.

Towards 2020

The conference addressed the following main topics:

  • Research and innovation in WBC – main achievements, challenges and actions towards 2020
  • Regional cooperation in RTDI, synergies and framework conditions
  • Participation of WBC in Horizon 2020
  • Innovation potential in the Western Balkans

 

Main topics in view of the upcoming calls in Horizon 2020 (discussed within the parallel sessions on the first day)

  • "Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies"
  • "Information and Communication Technologies" (organised by FORSEE)
  • "Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy"

Main topics focusing the Research and Innovation Sector in WBC (discussed within the parallel sessions on the second day)

  • Human resources and brain drain
  • RTDI Infrastructures
  • Knowledge and Technology Transfer

Key notes were provided by:

  • 1st Key note speech: Slavo RADOSEVIC, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
    "Technology upgrading and RTD challenges in Western Balkan region: issues and policy options"

  • 2nd key note speech: Peter POLAJNAR, EC DG Enlargement
    "How efforts on research and innovation contribute to economic development and integration into the European Union"

In line with the aims of the conference – Towards 2020, WBC-INCO.NET final conference intended not only to present and discuss own results, but also

  • To debate on results and lessons learned within other RTDI initiatives in/with the region within different panels and parallel sessions. For example, FORSEE Project is organiser of the parallel session on Information and Communication Technologies. In total, more than 45 presentations were given - please find all presentations here.
  • To offer the opportunity to young researchers, diaspora researchers but also to innovation experts to share and discuss their research results along the axis achievements, challenges and way forward;
  • To offer the opportunity to different initiatives to showcase their own results during the 2-day Project exhibition; please find here an overview.
  • To offer the opportunity to meet potential collaboration partners in individually planned B2B meetings and share new project ideas or own innovation products/services or to discuss more in detail participation in one of the upcoming Horizon 2020 Calls. More than 164 bilateral meetings were sheduled - here more information about the participants is provided, including the contact details.  an overview of all participants
  • To offer even more practical information and assistance on different aspects of participation in Horizon 2020, a number of NCPs was invited to join the Conference and in particular the Brokerage event.

Summing up:

  • 2 successful days with more than 45 highly interesting presentations
  • over 259 registrations expressing the interest to colaborate with WBC -  including contact details
  • over 176 conference participants over 2 days
  • over 27 countries involved
  • more than 15 different projects and organisations exhibited in the project exhibition
  • more than 164 bilateral meetings scheduled in the Brokerage event
  • 1 Austrian band playing live at the top of the TechGate
  • 12 student volunteers, who helped to make things run smoothly
  • All given presentations are available for download on the conference homepage.
  • Here you can find more photos from the conference.
  • More information about the conference: please access the official homepage.

   

Country
Austria
Geographical focus
  • SEE
  • WBC
Scientific focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences

Entry created by Ines Marinkovic on April 2, 2014
Modified on March 30, 2015