This regional study is prepared within the project “Creating synergy in Western Balkans for strengthening education, research and science”, supported by Western Balkan Fund. It is implemented by a team of experts from European Movement Albania in partnership with Balkans Policy Research Group, Kosovo and European Movement Novi Sad, Serbia.
The Western Balkan countries have made significant steps forward through the strengthening and improvement of national systems of education, scientific research, technology and innovation, nevertheless there remains a considerable difference in the level of performance among countries. In order to improve the situation in the region, different initiatives are undertaken by the EU in cooperation with WB countries during the last decade, such as the Western Balkans Regional R&D Strategy for Innovation (WBRIS-TA), South East Europe 2020 Strategy (SEE 2020 Strategy, The EU Strategy for the Danube Region, The EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region (EUSAIR) and the Berlin Process. With the persistent contribution of the EU, WB countries have explored the possibilities of joint use of EU funds for research and development, and other international funds, and have further accelerated the integration of the region to ERA and Innovation Union.
This study provides a comprehensive map of all state structures, adopted national strategies, legislation and budget dedicated to the areas of research and education, offering a clear view of current situation in all Western Balkan regions in general, focusing on Albania and Kosovo, including Serbia’s positive experiences. In addition, through a regional angle it tackles the factors that hinder the absorption of EU funds in education and research. Being a first of its kind, by comparing the WB countries current situation through qualitative and quantitative data gathered and analysed, the study serves as a valuable mean to address and communicate the broad picture in Western Balkan region, common challenges and particularities of the countries, followed up by concrete recommendations.
Education and research in Western Balkan Region