In the framework of the Western Balkan Process, EU member states and leaders of the region decided at the Trieste Summit held in July, to start the process of establishing a Western Balkans Research Foundation with an envisaged budget of 70 million euros.
Earlier in 2016, PERFORM supported young researchers from the region to present a position paper at the 2nd Joint Science Conference, which pointed out their precarious situation and gave recommendations on how to improve their position in the national science systems.
At the Paris Western Balkans Summit in July 2016, the Heads of State requested the Joint Science Conference of the Western Balkan countries to propose a funding mechanism for excellent young researchers from the Balkans. PERFORM was part of an international Expert Group which was subsequently formed to develop a comprehensive blueprint for a new Western Balkans Research Foundation targeting young scientists.
The Foundation is designed to enable outstanding junior scientists from the Balkans to build research labs and teams within a period of five years through individual grants, which will also allow a training period of one to two years in top research organisations in Europe.
Through these grants, a critical mass of excellent researcher teams will be formed in the Balkans, which will be the driving force of change. The national education and science systems will profit from brain gain, transfer of excellence and sustainable improvement.
PERFORM will further continue to support junior scientists in the region to advocate for improvement of their position based on other recommendations of the Joint Science Conference.