FP7 and Serbia
Belgrade (RS) - 29/06/09
FP7 Information event in Serbia
On 29 June 2009 the JRC, the Commission's Research Directorate General and the Serbian Ministry of Science and Technological Development jointly organised a high-level conference in Belgrade entitled "Towards Serbia's Integration into the European Research Area". The main purpose of the event was to present and discuss a wide spectrum of research-cooperation opportunities in FP7, with a view to identifying specific areas and topics that would need special attention or support.
More than 400 experts attended the conference which featured 36 speakers from both the EU and Serbian side, including Ministers, Secretaries of States, Deans of Universities, Directors of Institutes as well as major media outlets. The conference was opened by Mr Božidar Đelić, Deputy Prime Minister for EU Integration and Minister of Science and Technological Development, and by the European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik. Deputy Prime Minister Đelić announced that Serbia plans to boost its research spending from the present level of 0.3% of GDP to 1.0% by 2014 and, moreover, that negotiations are underway with the European Investment Bank for an additional 150 M€ investment in research infrastructure. Commissioner Potočnik commended Serbia's good results in its first two years of association to FP7 and praised the assistance that the JRC is providing to the potential candidate countries in their preparation for the uptake of complex S&T-based EU legislation.
Prof. Francesco Fedi, President of COST, confirmed the excellent performance of the Serbian scientific community that in a short period of time joined over 60 pan-European research networks. Prof. Viktor Nedovic, Assistant Minister for International Cooperation and Serbia's representative in the JRC Board of Governors, underlined the important role of the JRC in support to Serbia's approximation of the EU body of law. As a measure to focus future collaboration between the JRC and the relevant Serbian organisations, Prof. Nedovic proposed signing a Memorandum of Understanding (JRC - Ministry Science and Technological Development) specifying priority areas and available instruments, including new positions for Serbian grantholders at JRC Institutes.
Deputy Prime Minister Đelić recognised the conference as the most important event that took place in Serbia in the field of research since its association to FP7. The topics and themes of the conference had been chosen based on specific interest expressed by Serbia (ICT, Energy, Food and Health), areas in which Serbia should pay more attention given its integration process into the EU, or topics which are new (presentation on FP7 Euratom and, for the first time, the specific programme "Ideas") or in which Serbia is underrepresented (FP7 "People" programme). Other participating Commission services included the Directorate General Information Society as well as Enlargement who presented the Pre-Accession Instrument (IPA) and how it relates to research capacity.