Public research institutes instrumental to upgrading Western Balkans competitiveness, concludes regional workshop

09 March 2010

RCC recognizes the role that education, science and research play in increasing competitiveness of South East Europe. (Photo RCC/Samir Pinjagic)

RCC recognizes the role that education, science and research play in increasing competitiveness of South East Europe. (Photo RCC/Samir Pinjagic)

ISTANBUL/SARAJEVO – The role of public research institutes in technological development of the Western Balkan countries is instrumental to upgrading the competitiveness of the region, participants of a two-day South East European workshop agreed in Istanbul today.

The event, which ended today, was co-organised by the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Secretariat and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), under the auspices of the Turkish Chairmanship-in-Office of the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).

The workshop discussed ways to raise knowledge on the contribution of public research institutes to an overall progress of a society; establish their mutual links and networks in the region; share good practices and lessons learned as well as identify strengths and challenges the Western Balkan countries may encounter in the development of research infrastructure.

In his opening address, Head of the RCC Secretariat’s Building Human Capital Unit, Mladen Dragašević, said that development of education, science and research is fundamental for strengthening administrative capacities and increasing long-term competitiveness of Western Balkans, as well as for the region’s successful EU integration, given the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy and Europe 2020.

“I am truly convinced that our joint efforts will not only open opportunities for establishment of contacts and cooperation in the research area, but will also increase our capacity to create genuine knowledge-based societies. In view of the current global economic crisis, and its adverse effects in our region, the role of science and research is paramount to increasing competitiveness and crucial for the continuation of sustainable development of South East Europe as a whole.”

The workshop concluded that the research infrastructures play an increasing role in the advancement of knowledge, technology and their exploitation. They stimulate industrial impacts and build an interface between science and industry. Further on, research infrastructures create ‘knowledge factories’ and inspire technological innovation.

The workshop gathered representatives of public research institutes and ministries responsible for science and education of the RCC members from South East Europe, as well as representatives of relevant international organisations and respective stakeholders.

Opening remarks at the workshop were delivered also by TÜBİTAK Vice President, Ömer Anlağan, and representative of the Turkish SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office, Güçlü Kalafat.