24.03.2017

Conference on the Challenges of Social Science Research at Western Balkan Universities has ended


The conditions for scientific research work in the Western Balkan countries are highly unfavourable. The investment in scientific research is low, academic staff are overburdened with teaching activities, and they do not have time to conduct scientific research. In consequence, scientific research work in the region is generally characterised by a small number of research projects, a modest number of research papers published in international refereed journals, and a low level of participation in international projects and networks.

In spite of this, no significant measures have been taken in the last 20 years to incentivise the development of scientific work. Countries from the region, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, lag behind the rest of Europe when it comes to investment in the field.

The conference Challenges of Social Science Research at the Western Balkan Universities was held on 7 March 2017, with the aim to determine the causes of this state of affairs and identify potential approaches to improve the working conditions for scientific researchers in the field of social sciences in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region. The conference was organised by the RRPP Local Coordination Unit for Bosnia and Herzegovina in cooperation with the University of Banja Luka. It brought together eminent academics and representatives of line ministries and other institutions or organisations operating within the field in BiH, Serbia and Croatia.

The participants agreed that scientific research staff from universities in the Western Balkans are facing numerous challenges. Despite the unfavourable climate, there are certain possibilities and ways to intensify the scientific development in BiH, they concluded. It was recommended to introduce gradual and clearly defined changes in order to improve the quality of scientific performance, develop objective evaluation and foster cooperation at different levels, especially international cooperation. Realistic avenues of overcoming the identified problems and limitations for academic staff include membership in various academic networks, COST actions, exchange programmes such as Erasmus+, and participation in international conferences.

Solutions should be systemic and implemented at the state/entity/institutional level, starting with line ministries and other institutions. They should include drafting of strategic documents that aim to support internationally recognised scientific work, as well as laws and other legal acts, creating funds to support scientific research, and adopting stringent criteria for the conferment of academic titles. Attention should be devoted to the creation of centres of excellence, especially with the aim of supporting independent research and young researchers with post-graduate specialisations. Social development should be based on university research, which should also form the backbone of economic development, as is the case in Europe and some other parts of the world.

Finally, while there is a critical mass of researchers at universities in the Western Balkans who can meet the challenges of scientific research in social sciences, it should be remembered that raising academic criteria and adopting a more systemic strategic approach to joining the European research area are necessary to achieve the set objectives.

Detailed conclusions from the conference can be downloaded HERE (in local languages).

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RRPP Joint Volume

The RRPP is proud to present the volume Diversity of Migration in South-East Europe.
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26.03.2017

Centre of Excellence on Policymaking Systems in the Western Balkans (CEPS WeB) has been created. The mission of the CEPS WeB is to promote the use of research as the basis for policy- and decision-making in the Western Balkans by providing evidence-based and high-quality contributions to advance the existing policy processes.
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26.03.2017

The project The Impact of the Socio-Economic Structure of Rural Population on the Success of Rural Development Policy provides evidence-based understanding of the farmers’ behaviour and their interpersonal relation with other farmers. The research results show that there is a lack of skills and knowledge that needs to be addressed by training and a lessons learned campaign.
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26.03.2017

The research project The Impact of Fiscal Decentralisationon Local Economic Development in Serbia and Montenegro analysed and evaluated financial flows between central and local governments, and assessed the impact of the existing fiscal decentralisation model on the local economic development in both countries. The results are available online.
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25.03.2017

Research results of the project Care for the Carers: Policy Analysis of Informal Care Provision in Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been published recently. The objective of the project was to analyse the informal long-term care system focusing on informal carers, as well as policy advocacy efforts in Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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25.03.2017

Economic Research and Policy Institute Finance Think Skopje in cooperation with ACSER Albania and FREN Serbia used newly created Delphi questionnaire to forecast the size and effects of remittances and emigration in four regional countries. The results suggest that remittances in the projected five-year period will increase in Macedonia and Serbia, and drop in Albania and Kosovo.
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25.03.2017

Research results of the project Migration as Social Protection: Analysis of Macedonian, Albanian and Serbian Remittance-receiving Households are now available online. The research examines how remittances affect various facets of household vulnerability in Macedonia, Albania and Serbia, large recipients of such transfers.
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25.03.2017

Policy brief on the project The Dynamics of Women’s Inclusion in Socio-Economic Life – the Cases of Albania and Macedonia have been published recently. The results confirmed the negative impact of the economic crisis on women’s labour participation.
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25.03.2017

Research Network on Decentralisation and Subnational Governance in Southeast Europe established. The goal of the network is to bring together researchers on decentralisation from SEE for closer cooperation, as well as internal and external networking.
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24.03.2017

The conference on the Challenges of Social Science Research at Western Balkan Universities has ended. The goal of the conference was to examine the problems and identify potential solutions to bridge the obvious gap at universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of the region between the working conditions for researchers on the one hand, and the formal requirements for the conferment of academic titles on the other.
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24.03.2017

The project Engendering Forced Migration, Socio-Political Transition and Mental Health in BiH, Serbia, and Kosovo, has come to an end. The list of all outputs and resources prepared during the project is now available online.
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RRPP Local Coordination Unit in Bosnia and Herzegovina organized an event about The Future of Research Impact: New Technologies for Better Promotion and Cooperation. Professor Andy Miah presented a strategic approach to social media and other web-based tools in research promotion and development. Video from the event is now available online.
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20.03.2017

The RRPP-funded research project From Inclusive Identities to Inclusive Societies has recently come to an end. A complex research design intended to explore antecedents and consequences of social identity inclusiveness in a sample of young people from Serbia, Kosovo*, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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20.03.2017

RRPP Local Coordination Unit in Kosovo in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of the Republic of Kosovo (MEST) organised a training on Writing Competitive Proposals for EU funded Projects in Prishtina. The goal of the training was to enhance the participants’ skills and knowledge on how to design competitive projects within the scope of the EU calls.
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16.03.2017

On 16 February 2017 the Foundation Open Society Macedonia (FOSM) organised the closing conference Challenges and Opportunities for Scientific Research Funding in the Republic of Macedonia within the RRPP National Policy Dialogue. The aim of the conference was to promote the newly designed model for funding scientific research activity (SRA) in the Republic of Macedonia.
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22.02.2017

The Regional Research Promotion Programme (RRPP) Local Coordination Unit for Bosnia and Herzegovina in cooperation with the University of Banja Luka is organising a conference titled Challenges of Social Science Research at Western Balkan Universities. The conference will be held at the Rectorate of the University of Banja Luka, on 07 March 2017, starting from 09:00.
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09.02.2017

Within the RRPP National Policy Dialogue activities in Macedonia, the Foundation Open Society Macedonia will organise a closing conference titled Challenges and Opportunities for Scientific Research Funding in the Republic of Macedonia.The conference will be held at the Hotel Holiday Inn in Skopje, on 16 February 2017, starting from 12:00.
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01.02.2017

The results of the RRPP-funded research project Courts as Policy-Makers?: Examining the Role of Constitutional Courts as Agents of Change in the Western Balkans have recently been published. The project examines the contribution of constitutional courts to democratic transition in five successor states of the former Yugoslavia: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia.
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26.01.2017

Local Coordination Unit of the RRPP for Bosnia and Herzegovina is organising a seminar/workshop followed by a discussion about The Future of Research Impact: New Technologies for Better Promotion and Cooperation. The event will be organised within the National Policy Dialogue in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at hotel Bristol Sarajevo, on 09.02.2017.
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26.01.2016

Centre for Political Courage from Kosovo and Development Solutions Associates from Albania conducted a research titled Mapping Clientelism and its Causes: Rents, Rent-Seeking and Democracy in Kosovo and Albania (1997-2013). The research was funded by the RRPP, and the results, published in the form of policy briefs, are now available online.
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30.12.2016

The research brief Social Capital, Migration, Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance: a Multidisciplinary Evidence from South-East Europe has been published within the RRPP-funded project Social Capital and Migration – Evidence from a Post-conflict Environment. The research identifies common and specific determinants of social capital, as well as similarities and differences between periods of crisis and normality.
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30.12.2016

Between May and December 2016, a series of roundtables on Ethics in Research has been organised at public universities around Albania. The purpose of these events was to present the main findings and recommendations deriving from the analysis undertaken by young researchers, as well as to promote constructive debate among researchers and university management structures.
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