The region's ministers of science and research made the commitment at the Ministerial Conference "Developing
Regional Research Strategy for the Western Balkans". In a Joint Statement, they agreed to place cooperation
on the Regional Research and Development Strategy high on their political agendas and establish competitive regional
centres of excellence in the fields of interest, thus also facilitating integration of the Western Balkans into the
The ministers encouraged increase of knowledge transfer through networks of researchers and scientists from the Western Balkans, and within the entire South East Europe (SEE); building young scientists' research capacity by supporting the scientists networks across the region and facilitating their training and cooperation; cooperation between the science and research community, and the business sector, particularly Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs); and creation of cross-border regional clusters in competitive sectors.
Opening the event, RCC Secretary General Hido Biscevic stressed that regional cooperation in the field of research was necessary for the overall development of SEE.
"Building a knowledge-based society is a precondition for a sustainable social and economic development in the region", Biscevic said. "And given the current economic crisis, the role of science and research is paramount to increasing competitiveness."
Deputy Czech Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Vlastimil Ruzicka, drew attention to the three pillars of knowledge - education, research and innovation, and their regional and EU dimension.
"Utilization of talents and competences is a priority for the Western Balkans, also in view of successful
regional cooperation and EU accession."
The EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik, highlighted the European perspective as essential for the stability and prosperity of the region.
"By engaging together in research, the countries of the region will facilitate their integration into the European Research Area, which is an important step in the pre-accession process for European Union membership."
The conference participants, which also included representatives of other RCC members from SEE, international organizations and important stakeholders, agreed to include a roadmap of future activities in the Regional Research and Development Strategy. The roadmap will be implemented by the regional stakeholders. The RCC will at the same time continue to facilitate the activities on the development and implementation of the Strategy.
Read the Joint Statement from the Ministerial Conference "Developing Regional Research Strategy for the Western Balkans": Final_JS.pdf (161.47 KB)