Final Report Summary - WEB-MOB (Development of researchers mobility policy guidelines for the region of Western Balkans)
The main output of the project was the preparation of a series of guidelines related to researchers' mobility policy in the region of western Balkans that could be useful to national governments for the formulation of common policy in terms of enhancing researchers' mobility policy and eliminate existing mobility barriers in the region. Additionally, the use of a plethora of dissemination tools (the WEB-MOB portal, organisation and participation in workshops, participation in international conferences, local and regional events, production and dissemination of informative material, etc.) highlighted the attractiveness of western Balkan region for mobile researchers and achieved maximum visibility for the results of the WEB-MOB project.
For the project management needs, three bodies were established: the steering committee, the secretariat and advisory bodies (national expert groups). During the duration of the project, four steering committee meetings were carried out aiming at establishing the management procedural structures and discussing various issues related to the project implementation. The secretariat, part of the coordinator's team, ensured the day-to-day management and control. Regarding the establishment of national expert groups, four groups were established in the end (five groups were initially planned). In the first implementation year, the Croatian and the Albanian national expert groups were established, while in the second year the Serbian and the one for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The names of the members of the national expert groups could be found at the WEB-MOB portal.
During the first year, a mapping exercise of the existing legislation related to mobility obstacles in the countries of the western Balkan region was completed. These mapping exercises on legislation review for mobility obstacles led up to the development of five national legislation reviews, each for every western Balkan country participating at the consortium. All legislation reviews can be found at the WEB-MOB portal. All partners conducted three mapping exercises for identifying research and academic organisations capable of attracting researchers; identifying web-links of portals containing information related to mobility issues (i.e. entry conditions, visa requirements, work permits, etc.) and, finally, specifying focal points with ministries, governmental organisations, local authorities, professional associations and chambers capable of offering information or assistance in terms of overcoming mobility obstacles. All collected data were integrated in a database which is available at the portal.
Furthermore, one thousand multilingual leaflets were prepared in order to inform the target groups briefly about the purposes of the project, while all questionnaires were properly developed and disseminated to stakeholders. Furthermore, the power-point presentations were prepared and used in the workshops uploaded to the portal, as well.
Regarding awareness campaign activities, one workshop was organised by FSB-UZ on 2 March 2006 in Carlovac, Zagreb. The main goal of the workshop was to introduce the WEB-MOB targets, the experiences of the mobile postgraduate students, professors and industry representatives to the public. There were 7 speakers and, approximately 70 participants from different sectors (industry, higher education, research institutions, local government representatives and the general public). Finally, all participants contributed to the design of the WEB-MOB portal's structure and to the collection of the information uploaded. From the first year, the portal was in operating state and ready for internal testing.
During the second period of the project, the consortium's main objective was to produce the guidelines for reducing and eliminating mobility obstacles.
All partners of the consortium got involved in the promotion of the project and its goals. Partners of western Balkans countries organised or participated in a series of events in their countries where they presented the project, handed out leaflets and answered questions about it. CERTH, according to the contractual obligations proceeded in three international conference announcements in Paris, in Sofia and in Thessaloniki presenting the WEB-MOB project. These presentations had such a great impact in the audience that CERTH was invited by the Austrian ministry of science and education (BMWF) and by the scientific and technological research council of Turkey (TUBITAK) to present the WEB-MOB project.
Finally, special attention was given by the consortium to maintain a well organised and always up-to-date portal which would include all activities and efforts of the consortium regarding the project.
It is believed that the results of the WEB-MOB project will strongly impact mobility policy in the western Balkans region, while, additionally, the results could promote and enhance the process of the European Research Area (ERA) integration of those countries and improve the relations with the European Union (EU) in the field of research. WEB-MOB, not only contributed to INCO's general measures, but, also, to the Lisbon's mandate related to the mobility strategy for ERA and the priorities of the action plan for Science and technology (S&T) cooperation between EU and Balkan countries of 2003.
The main deliverable of the project, the 'Synthesis report and the policy guidelines for reducing and eliminating obstacles to the mobility of researchers', is meant to be used by national governments and policy makers in order to forward ERA goals and strategies. The main results of the report showed that even though major steps have been done, many issues still need to be prioritised in the policy agendas and integrated in national legislations. Specific recommendations for each country have been developed and are available for consultation by national governments and European stakeholders.