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Research Capacity in Western Balkans

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 01 January 8 2019

January 2019

The University of Barcelona has published a report on harnessing the potential of research capacity in the Western Balkans. The methodology consisted of analysis of Scopus; a questionnaire among academics and leaders of universities and research units in the region; and a number of on-site interviews. As the report itself states, this makes it a collection of opinions. But in view of the response (1382 respondents from 70 HE institutions) and the convergence of opinions, it does allow some credibility for the findings.
These findings are that there is not enough research funding (around 0.5% of GDP against the 2.04% EU average), research governance, infrastructure and administration are weak, and academics see themselves foremost as teachers, with research as an unpaid side activity.
One crucial question left unaddressed in the study: what can and should be done about this at the level of the European Union; and what should/must be left to the national governments – whether they are up to the task or not?

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