Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

SCORE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 045384
Funded under: FP6-IST
Country: Greece

ICT comes of age in the Western Balkans

As young Western Balkan states solidify their identity and industry, their foray into the 21st century can benefit from EU expertise. The EU is giving the region a strong boost in ICT.
ICT comes of age in the Western Balkans
Harmony and innovation within the EU depends on its relationship with the rest of the world, particularly with its neighbours. An important component of this premise is the close academic ties with non-EU countries in the Western Balkans. With this in mind, the EU set up a support initiative called SCORE that addresses the need for well-defined future research and development priorities with the concerned nations.

The countries included in the project are Albania, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. The project enhances scientific and research cooperation between the Western Balkan region and the EU in information and communications technologies (ICT). It was financed almost in its entirety by the EU for this very purpose.

Essentially, SCORE aimed to contribute to the development of a consultation culture in priority setting and policy-making within the region. The consultation process involved several stakeholders - including the public - from the Balkan states in question and the EU itself.

Four ICT workshops in different countries were organised in 2008 to help realise key objectives of the project. The workshops helped transfer EU research results to the Western Balkan ICT R&D communities and helped develop EU-Balkan R&D networks. In effect, these workshops have provided the participants with knowhow on current EU research developments and state-of-the-art technologies in ICT. They also encouraged partnerships between the participants and EU research experts, rendering EU researchers more aware of the research potential in the Western Balkans. Moreover, the workshops helped stimulate public debate and obtain feedback from stakeholders on how Western Balkan countries can enhance their research collaboration with the EU.

One of the most important successes of SCORE was the development of a document, called 'Shaping EU-Western Balkan cooperation in the field of ICT research & development in the period 2008-13: priorities and recommendations'. The paper outlines the main findings of the consultation process in the region and addresses decision-makers both within the Western Balkan countries and the EU. This has a direct effect on Western Balkan policy-makers, governmental officials related to the field of ICT, academia and the private sector.

Both the paper and the workshops have set the stage for enhancing ICT capabilities in the Balkans and strengthening ties with the EU on many levels. The positive repercussions of this project will go on for many years.

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