Newsletter 2/2010 - Our South East Europe

OVERVIEW of cooperation among Academies of Arts and Sciences in Sout Eaast Europe, by Ljubisa Rakic, Vice President of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts

The origins of institutional cooperation of academies of arts and sciences from South East Europe (SEE) go back to 2001, when representatives of national academies of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Kosovo, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Turkey met in Venice at the initiative of the “Giorgio Cini” Foundation and a group of advisors of the President of the European Commission. On this occasion, they signed the “Venice Declaration” establishing the Inter-Academy Council for South-East Europe (IAC SEE).

The second meeting of the IAC SEE, held in Budva in 2004, contributed to the establishment of the Programme Committee (PC IAC SEE). The basic task of the Programme Committee is the establishment of cooperation of academies of the region on the research of joint projects and their integration in programmes financed by the European Commission and UNESCO and/or from the national academies’ sources. In that sense, several practical initiatives were proposed, such as joint activities in access to the FP7 funds, COST programmes and formation of global, i.e. regional projects.

Thus far, the Programme Committee held five meetings, the last one being in April 2009. The essence of the committee’s work was initiation of joint projects of the academies of the region and, in the previous period, a number of consultations were held among researchers of the regional academies aimed at formulating these joint projects.

Two projects have been launched: A Scientific Approach to Cultural Heritage in SEE (coordinator: Turkish Academy of Sciences – TUBA, with participation of national academies of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Kosovo, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Greece and Austria, and with support of the UNESCO) and the Balkan Endemic Nephropathy. The latter project has yielded a very successful cooperation, with the main coordinator being SANU corresponding member, Vladisav Stefanović. Five SEE countries have taken part in the project, plus ten more countries from Europe and North America. A series of gatherings has been held, as part of the project implementation, with the participation of a broad circle of researchers.

In the meantime, the third project has also been formulated: Technology and Competitiveness of the SEE (the main coordinator is SANU’s corresponding member Časlav Ocić). The project has been accepted by the academies of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Romania.

The national academies of IAC SEE have concluded agreements on bilateral cooperation in the fields of astronomy, catalysis, biodiversity, geo-sciences, archaeology, and position of national minorities, which can serve as a starting point for their transformation from bilateral into trilateral and multilateral regional projects.

After the meeting of the Programme Committee in Sofia last year, the initiative was launched to nominate IAC SEE and its PC as advisory bodies to the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC).  At the CEEN meeting in Smolenice in April 2009, Academician Ljubisav Rakić, in his capacity of the Chairman of the PC, informed the RCC Secretary General Hido Biščević of the initiative in a letter sent in May last year, and received positive preliminary feedback.        

The successful cooperation achieved so far within IAC SEE and bilateral cooperation between academies of the region enables the implementation of new projects of interest for the science in the region. This primarily relates to research in the sector of biomedical sciences, fundamental research and cultural heritage.

Professor Ljubiša Rakić is Vice-President of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He has been a member of this distinguished institution for over 36 years. He also served as President of the Joint Committee for Collaboration of the Council of Academies of Sciences and Arts of former Yugoslavia and the USA National Academy of Sciences. 


Ljubisa Rakic, Vice President of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) (Photo

Ljubisa Rakic, Vice President of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) (Photo