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ERA-NET proposes Regional Programme for Cooperation with South-East Europe

By Redazione

The SEE-ERA-NET has published a raft of recommendations aimed at bringing the scientific community in the Western Balkans closer to that of the EU. Proposals include the establishment of a
Regional Programme for Cooperation with South-East Europe.

ERA-NETs were designed to encourage the coordination of national and regional programmes. The SEE-ERA-NET was established to promote integration between EU Member States and southeastern
European (SEE) countries within the European Research Area (ERA).

The network has published a white paper linking the research systems of southeast Europe, and an accompanying Joint Action Plan.

The proposed Regional Programme for Cooperation with South-East Europe (ReP-SEE) would seek to facilitate the participation of Western Balkan institutions in consortia participating in EU
programmes. It would also create a favourable environment for young scientists in the region, and integrate the Western Balkans’ new innovation structures into innovation networks and clusters
of the EU Member States.

The Joint Action Plan describes how ReP-SEE would be built around four pillars: a joint call for European research projects; accompanying measures to facilitate joint research; a young
scientist programme and an innovation programme. The joint call would fund collaborative research projects, preparatory grants for collaborative research projects, and ‘docking grants’,
enabling SEE teams to join existing consortia.

The SEE-ERA-NET also sets out a range of initiatives for building up infrastructure in the Western Balkans. These include compiling an inventory of existing science and technology (S&T)
infrastructures in the region, as well as of those within the EU, setting up a mechanism to define medium-scale S&T infrastructure needs, and arranging for a systematic, demand-driven
transfer of used laboratory equipment from the EU Member States to Western Balkan institutions through the establishment of a web-based marketplace.

The Joint Action Plan also has measures for institution-building, including assistance with evaluation and benchmarking, and measures for developing human potential. In addition to programmes
established under ReP-SEE, science management training should be offered through internships for science administrators. A Diaspora Task Force should also investigate ways in which Western
Balkan scientists could be repatriated.

An additional priority for the SEE-ERA-NET is the dissemination of information. Proposed measures include regular presentations to Commission officials on the strengths of specific scientific
fields in the Western Balkans, and strengthened press activities.

The SEE-ERA-NET brings together 17 ministries and funding bodies from 14 European countries, including all the Western Balkan countries.

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