Forum on Research for Innovation in ICT for the Western Balkan Countries

I Introduction


Global  structures  of  research,  development,  and  innovation  are  in  transition  as  global competition is mounting.  The roles of Europe as a competitive and leading information and knowledge  society  depend,  to  a  significant  extent,  on  the  developments  in  the  field  of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

Such developments are underpinned by  strong  research  capabilities.  A  European  Research  Area  (ERA)  where  all  available resources are integrated and utilised efficiently and intelligently is paramount for Europe to remain competitive on a global scale.

The Western Balkan (WB) region has a history of inclusive research, scientific excellence and export of ICT and human capital.  Recent historical developments  have disturbed and fragmented these assets which have also led to a significant ‘brain drain’.  Strong regional cooperation in the field of scientific endeavour in general and ICT in particular will facilitate the regeneration of scientific excellence and reverse this trend.

This will lead not only to a stronger innovation capacity but will also strengthen the overall synergy and capabilities of the ERA. Moreover, it will enable the creation of a critical mass in the WB, essential for the region’s competitiveness.

Specific  ICT  research  priorities  as  well  as  common  challenges  and  barriers  to  research cooperation in the WB region have recently been identified by an extensive technological audit carried out by the European Commission. The technological audit studies conclude that the WB have the potential for propelling the regional development process through cooperation.  In order to release this hidden potential, WB states should invest their best efforts  in  addressing  open  regional  relations.  As  such,  science  is  both  a  means  to  find answers to critical questions and a way of connecting nations.

In  this  context,  the  Forum  on  Research  for  Innovation  in  ICT  for  the  Western  Balkan Countries  (the  Forum)  is  meant  to  improve  EU-Western  Balkan  research  cooperation, through the inclusion of all countries currently associated to the FP7.  The Forum aims to identify the areas of cooperation and agree on a regional strategy based on knowledge and innovation,   while   taking   into   account   the   specific   characteristics   of   each   country. Neighbouring countries and EU Member States Slovenia and Bulgaria may act as a bridge in pursuing the above.

II Reasons for conducting a Western Balkans Forum

The aim of the Forum is to establish a permanent dialogue and cooperation between (a) political   leaders   and   (b)   high-level   officials   in   charge   for   ICT   and   Research   and Technological  Development  (RTD)  within  the  WB  region  and  between  the  WB  region countries and their European counterparts.

III Objectives to be achieved at the Forum

The Forum aims to find the means to achieve a number of objectives including;

1.       Coordination of regional policies in RTD in general and ICT in particular;

2.       Discussion and exchange of good practices and experiences stemming from the implementation of national ICT policies;

3.       Facilitation of the exchange of scientific knowledge and researchers;

4.       Facilitation of networking between researchers and policy makers;

5.       Consolidation of scientific potential, and;

6.       Sharing of research assets and infrastructure.

IV Implementation of objectives

It is essential that Governments continue to take action in order to support an enabling and competitive environment for the necessary investment in ICT RTD. In order to provide a timeframe for the achievement of the Forum objectives, a Roadmap for the implementation of common policies agreed between the officials in charge of ICT RTD in Western Balkan States is established.

Some suggestions of the means which will contribute to the objectives are:

1.       An agreement to make this Forum permanent and to coordinate ICT activities in the Western Balkan Countries, including neighboring countries, to implement the Roadmap;

2.       Definition of the objectives and operational modalities of the permanent Forum;

3.       Strengthening  of  cooperation  between  the  relevant  Western  Balkan  Ministers  and their services by agreeing to meet regularly to assess the progress of the implementation of the Roadmap;

4.       Perseverance of delegates in charge of ICT and RTD from the WB region to insist on strong initiatives to implement measures needed for further progress of innovation in ICT and encourage cooperation between RTD and business sector;

5.       Adoption of the Roadmap.

V Conclusion

Within the ERA all available resources should be integrated and utilised efficiently in order to remain a leading information and knowledge society. The WB region has the potential to enhance  European  ICT  RTD  by  investing  in  regional  and  international  cooperation.

Increased cooperation would also lead to a more prosperous and inclusive society in the region.

This Forum aims to define an open relationship between Governments of the WB region based  on  mutual  interest  and  openness  and  should  provide  a  platform  to  capture  this opportunity, and hence to reinforce ICT growth in Western Balkan region.


Forum on Research for Innovation in ICT for the Western Balkan Countries

30 November 2010, Hyatt Hotel, Belgrade, Serbia



Prof. dr. Milos Nedeljkovic

Ministry of Science and Technology


State Secretary

Dr. Stephan Pascall

DG Information Society and Media, European Commission


Mr. Milos Stevanovic

Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society

State Secretary

09.00 – 09.30 Arrival and registration
09.30 – 10.00 Welcome speech by the hosting Serbian Ministers

• Božidar Djelić Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Science and Technological Development

•      Jasna Matić Minister of Telecommunications and Information Society

10.00 – 10.15 Introduction by the European Commission

•      Zoran Stančič Deputy Director-General of EC DG Information Society and Media

10.15 – 10.30 Western Balkan  Integration  in  the  European  Research  Area  (ERA):  the  need  for  intra-regional cooperation – Best practices

•      Speaker to be confirmed

10.30 – 10.45 Western Balkan  Integration  in  the  European  Research  Area  (ERA):  the  need  for  intra-regional cooperation – Best Practices from Slovenia

•      József Györkös State Secretary of the Slovene Ministry of Higher Education, Science and


10.45 – 11.00 Priorities, Challenges, Common Solutions

•      Stephan Pascall Adviser International Cooperation, Integration of New Member States and

Regional Aspects for RTD – EC DG Information Society and Media

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break
11.30 – 12.30 Leading Initiatives in the region to meet the challenges

•      By Delegates

12.30 – 13.00 Open Debate

•      By Delegates and participants

13.00 – 14.30 Lunch break
14.30– 15.30 Statements by the Delegates: common challenges and ways to address them
15.30 – 16.00 Coffee break
16.00– 16.10 Joint Declaration – Purpose and Description

•      By the Ministry of Science and Technological Development

16.10 – 16.30 Discussion of Delegates on the Joint Declaration
16.30 – 16.40 Conclusions and adoption of Joint Declaration

•      Milos Nedeljkovic State Secretary of the Serbian Ministry of Science and Technology


16.40– 16.50 Roadmap – Purpose and Description

•      By the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Society

16.50– 17.10 Discussion of Delegates on the Roadmap
17.10 – 17.20 Conclusions and Adoption of Roadmap

•      Milos Stevanovic State Secretary of the Serbian Ministry of Telecommunications and

Information Society

17.20 – 17.30 Closing Statement

•      Stephan Pascall Advisor, DG Information Society and Media, European Commission

20:30 Farewell dinner by the Ministries of Telecommunications and Information Society and Science and

Technology Development in the Parliamentarian Club




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