Three main lines of intervention were identified for Serbia


Exploring Potentials for Collaboration between SSRS & Private Sector


Collaboration between the private sector and Social Science Research Sector (SSRS) so far has been on a very low level. Occasional initiatives to establish such cooperation have mostly been unsuccessful. Aside from the idea that Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) should be connected to the economy, it has remained unclear what the economy needs or if SSH institutes are able to meet these needs, in which areas and what this cooperation should be like. 

Lack of this type of collaboration is mainly due to lack of interest of both parties in establishing such cooperation. Private sector companies have shown little interest in social science research results, as they are seen as insufficiently applicable. On the other hand, there is a widespread opinion in SSH that scientific research primarily means scientific work within disciplinary areas, which have their own, immanent logic of development. There is also a lack of policies and funding schemes, specifically targeted at involving SSH research institutions in collaborative projects with the private sector. As a result, the concept of what this collaboration should entail and what concrete areas of collaboration would be has not been developed so far.

Intervention Logic +
In order to explore the potentials and obstacles for collaboration between the private sector and social science research, PERFORM supported a study on identifying economic sub-sectors and companies in Serbia that would benefit from a collaboration with social science research sector, and the thematic areas in which they are interested to cooperate with SSR. The Study on Potentials and Obstacles for Establishing Firmer Collaboration between Social Science and Humanities Research Institutes and Private Sector Companies in Serbia also provided insights into capacities, motivation and constraints on the side of SSH institutes to engage in collaboration with private sector companies. 

Upon the completion of the study, PERFORM gathered a group of five SSH institutes that showed interest in developing project proposals that could be funded by the private companies. Project proposals aim at improving the quality and type of services that companies from different sectors provide to their clients (e.g. tourism, publishing, etc.). 

PERFORM supported the development of project proposals, and in cooperation with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (Innovations Department) will facilitate meetings between the SSH institutes and a number of private companies. At these meetings, SSH institutes will have an opportunity to present their project proposals to companies and acquire direct funding. Those project proposals that companies find the most relevant and interesting to support, PERFORM will co-fund. 
Expected Results +
  • Up to 4 collaborative pilot projects between the SSH research institutes and private companies developed and implemented, with support and co-funding of PERFORM; 
  • Improved reputation and increased capacities of research institutes that participated in pilot projects for continuous collaboration with the private sector; 
  • Research institutes have increased capacities to diversify sources of their funding by developing and implementing projects for private companies; 
  • Established linkages between the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the SSH research institutes. 
Next steps to expand systemic change +
Once pilots are completed, PERFORM will be able to draw lessons, procedures and possible challenges in this process. These lessons will then be shared with other SSH institutes, with a goal of encouraging them to enter into similar endeavours, and eventually become more oriented to the ‘market’ for research – both in terms of grant funds and for other forms of performance - linked research funding. 
PERFORM will also share these lessons with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and support the Ministry to seek options to establish funding schemes and/or other incentives for collaboration between SSH research institutes and private sector companies.