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Enhanced bi-regional STI cooperation between the EU and the Black Sea Region

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BLACK SEA HORIZON (Enhanced bi-regional STI cooperation between the EU and the Black Sea Region)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-07-31

BLACK SEA HORIZON (BSH) project is funded under Horizon 2020 for a period of three years and was kicked off in February 2015 in Bucharest. It is one of the coordination and support actions that are being used to step up the cooperation and coordination of research activities carried out at national or regional level in the EU Member States and the Black Sea region. The consortium is led by the Centre for Social Innovation (Vienna, Austria) and consists of 19 institutions from 16 countries, of which 10 represent the Black Sea region: Armenia (AM), Azerbaijan (AZ), Bulgaria (BG), Georgia (GE), Greece (GR), Moldova (MD), Romania (RO), Russia (RU), Turkey (TR), Ukraine (UA). The three main objectives of the BSH project are:
• to support the EU’s external relations with the target region by significantly contributing to ongoing bi-regional and regional STI policy dialogues, and by increasing the knowledge base about the EU’s external environment,
• to stimulate bi-regional STI cooperation and to strengthen the EU’s economic competitiveness
• to contribute to the establishment of supportive framework conditions by facilitating the pooling of resources and by identifying challenging thematic areas for mutual STI cooperation.
BLACK SEA HORIZON aims to contribute to the EU’s external relations with the Black Sea region by building on the “Black Sea Synergy” initiative, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) and other ongoing policy dialogue fora by providing specific services and tools tailored to identifying and eliminating existing cooperation obstacles and tackling common problems in the field of international STI cooperation. Through analytical work, BSH aims further to increase the knowledge base about the EU’s external environment in order to substantiate the bi-regional STI dialogue in the Black Sea region. To facilitate the pooling of resources the project will establish a group of committed funding parties, endowed with a functional call infrastructure and a clear set of rules and regulations, ready to implement a joint call for proposals. The participation of Black Sea researchers in HORIZON 2020 will be operationally facilitated through (i) identified common research topics taken-up in future calls for proposals, (ii) provision of up-to-date relevant information and good practices to participate in HORIZON 2020 to a large group of researchers, (iii) an increased number of joint research proposals through direct face-to-face meetings of, (iv) a young generation of social scientists trained in HORIZON 2020 and ready to promote and back up future RTI cooperation and (v) an increased readiness of programme owners both from the EU and Black Sea countries to engage jointly in JPIs and future COFUND ERA-NETs. Furthermore, the project will increase understanding of cluster policies and cluster management, establish direct business contacts between cluster managers from the EU and target countries and raise awareness on the programming of as well as on the advantages of inclusive, sustainable and social innovation.
The project’s results will be broadly disseminated to increase awareness on bi-region STI cooperation activities and opportunities and will be exploited towards an enhanced introduction of the Black Sea region to the ERA.
• Two planned Policy briefs were published and disseminated based on profound background studies (contributing to operational sub-objectives 1, 2)
• Links to relevant policy dialogue foras were established in a systematic way and involving all partner countries and beyond (contributing to operational sub-objectives 1, 2, 3)
• Preparatory activities for the upcoming EU-BS STI Cooperation Programme and the planned Conference in 2017 were started (contributing to operational sub-objectives 1, 2, 3, 5, 6)
• A learning loop with two workshops was organised and results from BS ERA Net and other similar actions were summarized in two deliverables (contributing to operation sub-objectives 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7)
• A group of funding partners was identified with the support of all project partners (contributing to operational sub-objectives 1, 3, 5, 6, 7)
• Task leaders prepared ToRs for a joint call now to be further adapted (contributing to operational sub-objectives 1, 3, 5, 6, 7)
• A regional peer reviewer database was developed, the registration process of reviewers successfully started and is on-going activity (contributing to operational sub-objectives 1, 3, 5, 6, 7)
• Three thematic workshops were successfully organised bringing together eminent researchers and defining future joint research topics that can be jointly exploited in the future calls, addressing other active funders also from EU MS/ACs within their regular calls or bilateral programmes (contributing to operational sub-objectives 1, 3, 5, 6, 7)
• Seven webinars were organised so far covering jointly set H2020 topics (contributing to operational sub-objectives 1, 3, 6)
• A workshop contributing to the future inclusion of BSH countries in ERA NET COFUND or similar initiatives was prepared (to take place in Oct 2016, contributing to operational sub-objective 3, 5)
• A number of relevant clusters were identified and presented on the website of the project (contributing to operational sub-objectives 1, 2, 3, 4, 6)
• A workshop concept for a workshop in Kiew) was prepared to improve knowledge and enhance cluster functionalities in the BSH countries by means of training and cooperation support for research based clusters (contributes to operational sub-objectives 1, 2, 3, 4, 6)
• Cooperation with Balkan & Black Sea Conference “Days of Cluster” was established; furthermore a paper informing cluster manager and other relevant stakeholders about cluster related activities in BSH was prepared and submitted to be published in conference proceedings of the “7th Balkan & Black Sea Conference Days of Cluster 2016” (contributing to operational sub-objective 3, 4)
• A quality assurance plan was developed, accompanied with all relevant guidelines and templates relevant for smooth implementation of the quality assurance process (contributing to all operational sub-objectives)
• BSH Website and BSH internal platform were established and are actively used by all partners for internal and external communication (contributing to all operational sub-objectives)
• Dissemination and communication plan as well as complementary exploitation strategy were developed, updates for m19 prepared (contributing to all operational sub-objectives)
• Social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube channel were established and are actively used to share the information (contributing to all operational sub-objectives).
• So far three E-information Newsletter (BSH Newsletter) were disseminated to over 2600 subscribers (contributing to all operational sub-objectives)
• A Kick of Meeting was organised in Bucharest in the 2nd month of the project, a General assembly was organised in Vienna in month 17 both with full presence of partners.
• Virtual meetings were organised to ensure timely exchange among all partners about progress achieved and upcoming activities (meeting minutes, recording of the meeting and presentations available at the BSH internal
Thematic fields identified have the potential to influence other policy fields like the operations of DG MARE Dg environment. Moreover the identified thematic flied of agriculture would potentially have impact on the operations of the ENI CBC and also the bilateral cooperation focusing on agriculture.