Montenegro signs up to FP7

Montenegro has signed up to the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), thereby giving its researchers the opportunity to participate in all calls for proposals and compete for funding on an
equal footing with scientists from across Europe.

The EU’s Science and Research Commissioner, Janez Potocnik, and the Montenegrin Ambassador to the EU, Slavica Milacic, signed a Memorandum of Understanding at a ceremony in Brussels, Belgium,
on 25 January. The deal means that all countries of the Western Balkans, apart from Bosnia and Herzegovina, are now associated to FP7.

‘Today’s decision is a very positive and important one, not only for the scientific future of Montenegro, but also for its political future,’ said Commissioner Potocnik. ‘Full participation in
the research framework programme brings Montenegro into the European Research Area and I believe this is important in helping Montenegro prepare itself for membership of the EU.

‘In addition to forging links with scientists and companies across Europe, Montenegro will have new opportunities to work with its regional partners in addressing common challenges.’

Montenegro is a young country, having gained its independence less than two years ago. However, as Ambassador Milacic pointed out, the government has already adopted a number of key policies
which place a strong emphasis on the construction of a knowledge-based economy and society.

‘Today’s agreement represents one more crucial step forward in bringing Montenegro towards the European Research Area and closer to the EU,’ said Ambassador Milacic. ‘It proves that the
government is recognising the importance of innovation, education, research and technological development for building up a knowledge-based society.’

Participation in the EU’s framework programmes and integration into the European Research Area is a priority of Montenegro’s science and technology strategy. Montenegrin researchers are already
involved in a number of bilateral and regional research programmes, such as the SEE-ERA net (‘Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area in Southeast Europe’) project. The
initiative is funded by the European Commission and aims to help the countries of the region boost their research links both within the region and with the rest of the continent.

In preparation for its participation in FP7, the country has already set up a network of National Contact Points (NCPs) and organised information days to inform the country’s research community
about the opportunities offered by FP7. A number of research teams have already expressed their interest in participating in EU-funded projects. As a further incentive, the government is
offering ?1,000 for each positively evaluated proposal.

Bringing the western Balkan countries into the European Research Area is also a priority of the Slovenian presidency of the EU.

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