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EU-Western Balkans network for training and the promotion of cooperation in research activities within the Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology area of FP7

Final Report Summary - EU-BALKAN-FABNET (EU-Western Balkans network for training and the promotion of cooperation in research activities within the Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology area of FP7)

The EU-BALKAN-FABNET project aimed at encouraging stronger participation of Western Balkan researchers in Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) projects. The project launched its activities on January 2007 and continued its activities for two years.

EU-BALKAN-FABNET had identified and incorporated as partners key National Contact Points and experienced multipliers in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, FYR of Macedonia, and Serbia, who participated in mapping, networking, training and awareness-raising activities. These partners represented gate keepers for their country's respective research communities. Furthermore, those project partners were able to actively promote the networking of local researchers and act as a conduit of information exchange. They were supported by partners from Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Greece and Italy.

The target groups received assistance with FP7-related queries on a one-to-one basis, such as the search for suitable partners, or by support for participation in major international events. During the course of the project 113 researchers have been supported, and 19 partners from the WBC received assistance to participate in proposals under the new FP7 calls.

Each West Balkan country partner in the project was responsible for organising a minimum of three workshops for the local audience. The first workshop targeted local multipliers, who could help in motivating the research community. The other two workshops targeted local researchers. The trainings for multipliers were of two-day duration and covered general topics such as FP7 structure and rules but also very specific topics such as writing a good proposal or using the electronic tools of the FP7. The training of multipliers also included practical exercises, quizzes, interactive discussions and visits of laboratories involved in research relevant for FAFB.

The trainings for multipliers were very successful as indicated by the number of participants and the level of acceptance by them. In total, 254 multipliers attended the training sessions offered by the project and, given their capacity in passing information to other groups of researchers, it can be safely assumed that the information passed on to them has been spread to a much larger audience.

The trainings of researchers were of shorter duration (one day) and broader audience. The topics covered offered an all-inclusive view of the FP7 aspects, focusing, however, also on practical aspects of participation (e.g. identifying the right content in the calls, getting increased visibility and better networking, etc.). The trainings for researchers met great acceptance by the audience and, on several occasions, requests of repetition were stated.

Furthermore, the partners compiled a handbook for FP7 participation to further extend the project's reach to potential FP7 participants. The handbook covers basic information (e.g. project funding types) and has been translated into the local language of each of the Western Balkan countries. A project website is available, at while the coordinator can be reached by e-mail at or by phone on +30-210-9270040.