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Creating R&D Capacities – Conference held in Sarajevo

Sarajevo. In the frame of the Tempus IV project “Creating R&D Capacities and Instruments for boosting Higher Education - Economy Cooperations” a conference with all project partners was held from the 28th to the 29th of September in Sarajevo.

The title of the 2 day conference “Adopting research structures to enhance university knowledge transfer” already made clear that the focus of this project is an ambitious one: due to the war in the 1990ies the whole region of South East Europe has to deal with a massive drawback of research and development (R&D) activities as well as a weak connection of their universities with stakeholder of the private sector of this region. The project now directly addresses these shortcomings by installing R&D Service Centres and hiring R&D Manager at the University of Sarajevo (BA), the University of Prishtina (Kosovo), the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University Skopje (MK) and the Universityof Montenegro (ME).

The first day of the conference was reserved for the project partners to present the findings of a self-assessment of their university’s R&D situation. This assessment’s aim was to analyze the as-it situation and to have a strategic document which will serve as basis to create an action plan for further activities. In the course of the presentations on this self-assessment it became more and more visible, that all four partner country universities face avery similar situation. There often is a lack of a coherent legal framework and an overall R&D strategy. Alongside, most of the universities are heavily undercharged in terms of budget allocated to research and development. But all project partners are strongly committed to turn things around together. Therefore they all can see the “same light at the end of the tunnel” as one participant put it very pictorially. As the partner country universities join forces, they can strengthen their capacities and establish new networks in the whole region. The individual experts emphasized the importance of such small steps towards creating a new and successful R&D environment. It’s the small victories that make it all happen!

The second day of the conference was open for the public and addressed more general issues on R&D. During this day of the conference many different topics were covered, including presentations on the national innovation systems, research services, technology transfer and good practice examples of the project partners of theEuropean Union, like the University of Leoben (AT), CIRPS – Sapienza Universityof Rome (IT) and the University of Oxford (UK). To change the way a society produces new knowledge is a very difficult task which has to involve stakeholder from the academic, the political and the private sector. Therefore it was very encouraging to see political representatives present at theconference such as the Prime Minister of the Canton Sarajevo, Mr. Besim Mehmedić.

All project partners concluded that the conference was a very important step forward in the overall project. It opened up the possibility to strengthen existing networks and to exchange experiences and share ideas. For the audience invited to the Rector Hall of the University of Sarajevo it was a good opportunity to get firsthand information on important topics on research and development.

Once again, WUS Austria wants to thank all involved partner for their valuable contributions to the conference and their commitment to push the project further. Besides, WUS Austria especially wants to thank the University of Sarajevo and its staff for their very heartily welcome and their generous hospitality.

If you liketo know more about the Tempus Project “R&D Capacities” and its aims and goals please visit the project’s webpage here.