22 February 2019, Tirana, Albania
European Movement Albania (lead) together with Balkans Policy Research Group and European Movement Novi Sad organised the conference “Regional Forum on Education and Research in Western Balkan Region: An assessment of countries’ experiences and their performance in EU funded programmes”, with the support of Western Balkans Fund (WBF).
The report findings were presented by Elda Zotaj from European Movement Albania, Gresa Statovci, Balkans Policy Research Group contracted expert, and Nikola Bozic from European Movement Novi Sad, Serbia. The study assessed the capacity of postgraduate institutions in Albania, Kosovo and Serbia to absorb EU funding for education, research and scientific programs. This study through a comparative approach, aimed at providing an overview of the state of affairs in the field of education and scientific research in the Western Balkans.
Gresa Statovci presented the findings and key recommendations in the case of Kosovo. The findings show that scientific research in Kosovo is mainly financed by the Government of Kosovo. Although the Law on Scientific-Research Activities, (Law No. 04/L-135) foresees the spending to reach at least 0.7%, the total government spending on scientific research is only 0.1%. The key challenges of the University of Pristina (UP) according to the findings involve the high number of students, poor infrastructure, lack of professional advancement and lack of literature.
The second panel, comprising of Robert Dumi from The National Agency for Scientific Research and Innovation; Ingrid Jushi from Albanian Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth; Lek Sokoli, Deputy Rector of University of Durres; and Elona Karafili, Deputy Rector of Polis University in Albania, addressed the key challenges in regards to the absorption of the EU funds for research, education and development in Albania. Discussions involving representatives from public and private universities focused on research funding opportunities and the role of the Agency for Scientific Research and Innovation in Albania.
The conference was closed with a workshop with representatives of academia, research, and universities from Albania, Kosovo and Serbia. Participants were informed with more details about the funding opportunities and programmes at Regional and European levels and specific EU programmes, in particular about Horizon 2020, COST and Erasmus+. Those who successfully obtained grants from those programmes shared their experiences with other participants. Similarly, partnerships and cooperation among the research institutions and experts were explored and future joint initiatives and partnerships were fostered through interaction and networking.
The event gathered representatives from governments, university academic staff, researchers, NGOs and think-tanks from Kosovo, Albania and Serbia.