Three main lines of intervention were identified for Serbia


Participation of Junior Scientists at the Second Joint Science Conference


Junior scientists in Western Balkan Countries (WBC) have limited space and freedom to conduct quality research at universities and institutes in WBC. Research in general is not valued enough as a contribution towards solving critical issues and problems of society, economy and politics.

Furthermore, the interlinking between research advancement and university curriculum and teaching methods is weak and only marginally appreciated. Universities - which harbour the grand share of research activities – tend to consider themselves primarily as institutions for academic education mainly through teaching; research is mostly in the interest and responsibility of individual scholars, lacking de facto the deserved appreciation. Most often, it is the responsibility of PhD students to acquire grants for their doctoral research and mobility at institutions abroad.

Intervention Logic +
PERFORM has recognised Joint Scientists Conference under Western Balkan Process as an opportunity to develop intervention in order to improve the position of young researchers across the Western Balkans and particularly in Serbia and Albania. This intervention is led by PERFORM RMU in cooperation with German Academy of Science Leopoldina and Austrian Academy of Science, while PERFORM NCU Serbia will further develop interventions related to national science systems.
PERFORM has been in close contact with groups of junior researchers, especially from social sciences, in order to ascertain potential opportunities for collaboration and support. In doing so, PERFORM is building on the network that was developed earlier by RRPP in WBC as well as on prior research focused on the position of junior researchers in national science systems of WBC.

Representatives of PERFORM and JSC-WBP have engaged in a dialogue on the issue of enabling the contribution of junior scientists to the JSC-WBP and the overall Western Balkan Process. This includes – inter alia – a reflection on an improved positioning of junior researchers in their national science systems and the enhancement of intra-regional (WB) exchange and cooperation. 

Against this background, PERFORM facilitated a process of drafting a position paper by junior researchers and academic professionals from the WBC, as a preparatory step for the 2nd JSC-WBP in Vienna, 22-24 May 2016. Three representatives of junior researchers had the opportunity to participate at the 2nd JSC-WBP in Vienna, as full members of the main stakeholder group. Thus they were involved both in the main consultations and in the post-meeting negotiations on drafting the 2nd Joint Statement. The latter will be subsequently inserted into the consultations of the 3rd Western Balkans Process Summit (of heads of government and ministers), to be held in Paris, in July 2016. 
Results +
1) Established non formal coordination among Junior Scientists in the Western Balkan Countries.  
2)  Developed Junior Scientists’ Opinion in the Frame of the Joint Science Conference of the Western Balkans Process. 

3) Declaration of Second JSC-WPB takes in consideration contributions of the Opinion and advocates for improvement of position of Junior Scientist. 
Next steps to expand systemic change +
Enabling young researchers to present the issues of their concern at the top level decision makers form the national science system, national governments and EU bodies will increase the awareness of providing solutions and concreate measures for improvements in the Science Systems.

PERFORM will continue to work closely with partners from JSC-WBP and with young researchers to follow and facilitate the implementation of the proposed recommendations related to enabling framework for young researchers. 

*Photo by Aleksandar Andjic

Related News