POLICY ANSWERS – supporting research and innovation in the Western Balkans
12th April 2022 — On the 1st March, the "POLICY ANSWERS" project was launched to bring the Western Balkans closer to the EU in the areas of research, innovation and education. POLICY ANSWERS is funded for four years under the European Research Framework Programme Horizon Europe and stands for "R&I POLICY making, implementation ANd Support in the WEsteRn BalkanS". The project involves 14 partners from 8 countries. With its many years of experience in cooperation with the Western Balkans and the European Commission, as well as its expertise on the region, DLR-PT is one of the most important partners in the project.
A wide range of measures to support the Western Balkans
POLICY ANSWERS aims to strengthen cooperation between the Western Balkans and the EU. This is done both by supporting political dialogue between the European Commission and the ministries on the ground and through joint activities to network research institutions, universities, small businesses and other institutions in the EU and the Western Balkans.
Together with other partners, DLR-PT is responsible for organising high-level meetings of the European Commission with EU countries and the Western Balkans. At these meetings, the ministers responsible for research, innovation and education in the Western Balkans share views with the Research Commissioner and other EU representatives on research policy issues and joint initiatives. In this process, DLR-PT supports coordination with the European Commission and ensures a smooth process and quality assurance in organisation and implementation.
Identifying needs to increase research and innovation potential
The focus of the project is to enable partners from the region to participate even more successfully in European and multilateral research and innovation programmes in the future. To this end, customised training measures for researchers, students and entrepreneurs as well as workshops for ministries and administrative staff are being designed and implemented.
One of DLR-PT's tasks is to monitor and analyse the region's research and innovation systems and their progress towards integration into the European Research Area. From the results of this analysis, the needs in the region can be identified and measures can be derived to increase the research and innovation potential at research institutions, universities, companies and other institutions in the region. DLR-PT will design a mobility programme for researchers and students and test it in a pilot run. It will also organise training measures on strategic foresight, such as trend analyses or scenario development.
Long-term support for Western Balkan countries
The countries of the Western Balkans include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia. DLR-PT has been supporting these countries on their way into the EU and the European Research Area for a long time. On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, DLR-PT launched a funding announcement in 2019 under which 14 research projects with partners from the Western Balkan states are now being supported until 2024.