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A new project aims at opening up ERA to the Western

The project ERA WESTBALKAN aims at integrating the Western Balkan Countries (WBC) into the European Research Area. In the course of two years, the National Contact Points in BiH, Serbia, Montenegro and FYR of Macedonia are established, trained and supported. In addition, an overview of the national research landscape is carried out and provides important information on the research community.

The principle objective of the project is to raise the quantity and quality of participations from the Western Balkan Countries (WBC) in the 6th EU Framework Programme (FP6). In order to achieve this, the creation and support of the network of FP6-National Contact Points (NCPs) in the countries of the region will be the key issue of the project. This project is submitted at the present time, as for the first time participants of the WBC will be offered broad opportunities of financially supported possibilities to participate in FP6. The support for NCPs in the Westbalkan comprises above all: Provision of training to selected NCP regarding detailled know-how on preparing and implementing FP6 projects, producing local info material, organising information campaigns; ,Provision of training on how to use trans-national networks for e.g. partnersearch, CORDIS and presenting its information on the web; ,Elaboration of an overview of the research community in the participating countries and advise on ways of communicating with the clients In total, 16 persons in Bosnia-Herzegovina, FYROM, Montenegro and Serbia who will in the future act as NCP on the national level of their republic will be trained. Based on this training, NCPs being multipliers in their republic will further train local "institutional contact points" at universities, large companies, etc. There is an ongoing FP5-NCP training project in Croatia and Albania, called "CROSTIM". The NCPs of these two countries will be invited to several activities which have not already been dealt with in order to get a coherent approach to WBC inclusion into FP6. As most of the WBC-partners of ERA WESTBALKAN are the responsible ministries for R&D in their countries, the advice on how to best deal with FP6 in operative terms will be complemented by policy advice activities of a more strategic nature. This advice will be addressed to R&D policy makers with the objective to assist them in the creation of a favourable environment for FP6 participation. For further information, please refer to following website:,http://www.bit.ac.at/erawestbalkan

Keywords

International Cooperation

Countries

Austria, Greece, Slovenia