Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - EURAXESS MK (EURAXESS Service Network Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)

Executive Summary:
The EURAXESS Network has existed within the European community for almost a decade, when the FYR of Macedonia took the first steps toward joining the network of experienced professionals looking to further the career of researchers in the European Research Area. In 2011, on a completely voluntary basis, the FYR of Macedonia launched the first draft version of the EURAXESS MK network. A portal was set up, and a launching even held, where the public was made aware of the launching of the network in the country and the first steps were taken to join the European community towards creating a better environment where research and innovation can thrive. The gap slowly started to close between the FYR of Macedonia and the rest of the EURAXESS member countries and in September 2013, the FYR of Macedonia made the official entry into the EURAXESS network. During the scope of the project, the main objective was to establish the EURAXESS Network in FYR of Macedonia by creating the EURAXESS Service Centres and training the personnel, or the newly-appointed Local Contact Points, at the key universities across the country in dealing with the issues relating to mobile researchers. At the same time, promotional materials were developed, and two guidebooks, which serve as to help both national and foreign researchers in their move abroad or to Macedonia. This, alongside with the many workshops that were held during the duration of the project also helped to raise awareness about the importance of supporting researchers in their career development, and overall promoting a healthy and thriving research and innovation environment in the country.

Project Context and Objectives:
The main objective of the project was to establish an efficient running EURAXESS MK Network. With this goal in mind, the main task at the beginning of the project was the establishment of the Steering Group. The Steering Group consisted of experts in the field of science, education and policy-making which helped to steer and advise the development of the network through the duration of the project. After the formation of the Steering Group, and after the first kick-off meeting, the BHO (Bridgehead Organization) started to work on the development of the national mobility network. The Bridgehead Organization is the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts which was nominated by the Ministry of Education and Science in 2011 to serve as the BHO for the EURAXESS Network. MANU as the BHO, first created the operations protocol and a communication strategy to ensure proper allocation of responsibilities and flow of information between all concerned actors in the network. The EURAXESS Service Centre was established at MANU as a helpdesk where incoming and outgoing researchers can come and find first-hand support in being mobile researchers. After the service-centers were established, the coordinator of the project, Professor Ljupco Kocarev contacted directly all the rectors of the major universities in Ohrid, Shtip and Bitola. After the personal meetings with all rectors, one person who was already employed in the department for international relations at each respective university was assigned the new title of Local Contact Point. The role of these LCPs is to be fully trained and qualified, after the end of the project, to offer assistance to incoming and outgoing researchers at their specific universities, and their geographic regions. After the establishment of the network was concluded with the nomination of the LCPs, MANU focused its efforts on revamping the EURAXESS MK Portal. The portal was updated to include information on issues arising from relocation of researchers, such as entry conditions, work permits, social security, recognition of diplomas, intellectual property rights, accommodation, day care, schooling, language courses and pets.

One of the important objectives of the project was also the development of two Mobility Guide handbooks. The first handbook was a Foreign Researcher’s Guide go Macedonia. The second handbook was a Practical Guide for Macedonian researchers looking for a career abroad. The Foreign researchers guide to Macedonia is a comprehensive booklet covering information such as practicalities on getting to Macedonia, finding an apartment to live, and schooling for children, day care, and legal procedure for bringing pets. The booklet also contains interesting facts about Macedonian history and culture as well as the social life and social events typical for the country, as well as an overview of the educational system, and the working and living conditions. The booklet clearly outlines visa procedures, work permits, labour law, health security, and recognition of diplomas. The second booklet, or the Practical Guide for Macedonian researchers looking for a career abroad outlines career opportunities for Macedonian researchers in the European Research Area, focusing on Marie Curie actions, the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, Blue card directive, European Supplementary Pension Fund, etc.

With the purpose of encouraging participation and raising awareness on issues of mobility, two seminars were organized which targeted research departments, policy-making bodies, human resources managers from the industry sector and researchers themselves. These training sessions informed relevant stakeholders on general mobility issues, mainly the four pillars of the EURAXESS network, such as funding opportunities, mobility services offered by EURAXESS, the EURAXESS Jobs portal, and the EURAXESS Rights, mainly the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. The first seminar was organized after the first year of the project and experts from neighboring countries were invited to give presentations on the EURAXESS network. As well as the foreign experts, there were national experts invited, from the Ministry of Education and Science, researches that had spent time abroad and returned to continue on their research career in the country, as well as representatives from the industry sector that specifically work in research. This proved to be a very effective and informative seminar for all the participants involved. The second seminar was held in Ohrid, and with national experts covering the issues outlined by the EURAXESS Network ranging from visa formalities, bank procedures, work permits, to social security issues, this time the southern part of the country was informed on all things EURAXESS. In parallel to this, three workshops were held for the staff involved in the project. The main objective fulfilled during these workshops was to establish an efficient and well-trained network of contact points and officers involved in the EURAXESS network.

Another big objective of the project was to raise awareness about the EURAXESS network and entice conversation amongst the public and relevant stakeholders about the attractiveness and importance of the research career. Towards this goal, three dissemination workshops were organized in the scope of the project. During these dissemination workshops, the promotional material that was produced throughout the project was presented and distributed amongst the participants. This included the national EURAXESS portal, as well as the two guidebooks on mobility, and other promotional material that was created during the project duration (from informative leaflets on each pillar of EURAXESS to coffee mugs, pencils, notebooks, etc). Other initiatives were presented during this time as well, such as the Marie Curie actions and the Charter & Code. The result of these workshops was that we managed to stimulate the dialogue about R&D on a national level, to start thinking about the development of new policies towards promotion and stimulation of mobility of researchers, discuss the barriers to researcher’s mobility, etc.

Project Results:
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Potential Impact:
Research and innovation are the key to Europe’s successful economic growth and a way out of the economic crisis we are facing today. Europe has recognized the value in investing in research and innovation as a key to growth, and with the goal of creating 1 million new research jobs while the natality rate in Europe is dropping, With Europe 2020 growth strategy, and specifically the Innovation Union Commitments, an even greater emphasis is placed on stimulating the profession of researchers, encouraging researchers to stay in Europe, and bringing researchers from abroad to work and live in Europe. Many young researchers in the country are uninformed about the European Job opportunities and decide not to embark on a mobile research career. This project contributed to significantly increase the mobility of researchers from the country towards the Union, enabling them access to state-of-the-art research facilities, and collaboration with high quality research groups. Over the long term this networking will create bridges for other generations to move along established research networks to and from the country, directly contributing to growth and the Horizon 2020 of cross-national and international circulation of researchers

List of Websites:
Structure of the Macedonian network of service centers
The national network of service centers has been developed according to the needs of the Universities in different cities in Macedonia and one of its many functions is to promote the Euraxess Initiative on a local level. The Bridgehead organization is set up at the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts, where there is also a service center for the Capital of Skopje which has the largest university in the country - Ss. Cyril & Methodius University. There are three other service centers in the cities of Ohrid (at University of Information Science and Technology “St. Paul the Apostle”), Stip (at Goce Delcev University) and Bitola (St. Clement of Ohrid University) which cover the other state universities outside the capital. With these service centers 100% of the academic institutions are geographically covered.

Skopje – Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Neda Kocareva: euraxess@manu.edu.mk
Bitola - St. Clement of Ohrid University
Renata Petrevska-Nechkoska: Renata.PetrevskaNechkoska@UGent.be
Ohrid - University of Information Science and Technology “St. Paul the Apostle”
Olgica Apostolova: olgica.apostolova@uist.edu.mk
Stip - Goce Delchev University
Biljana Kosturanova: biljana.kosturanova@ugd.edu.mk

Project website: http://euraxess.mk

Related information

Reported by

MACEDONIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCES AND ARTS
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
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