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The Western Balkans consists of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro. As the region emerges from a recent period of economic and political instability, questions arise on how best to draw on the readily available resources they offer for future growth.

The project EU-BALKAN-FABNET works on the premise that stimulating international cooperation in research, carried out in both academia and industry, is a way to face the challenge. This means encouraging stronger participation in funded research projects within the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme (FP7) in a focused and comprehensive way. For Europe as a whole, competitiveness in the international arena will be enhanced.


When you consider that over half of Albania's workforce is represented in the agriculture sector, it is clear that greater involvement in the Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology (FAB) theme of FP7 should be the project's focal point. Indeed, EUBALKAN- FABNET introduces topics directly related to this theme which have also been identified as key research areas for the Western Balkan (WB) countries.


EU-BALKAN-FABNET has identified and incorporated as partners key National Contact Points and experienced multipliers from the region's six countries, who will participate in mapping, networking, training and awareness-raising activities. These partners represent gatekeepers for their country's respective research communities. The strategy of imparting knowledge to these project partners ultimately means reaching the local target audiences.

Through the project, all partners are well equipped to assist the target groups, identified via a mapping activity, in a number of ways. For example, by providing assistance on an FP7- related query such as the search for suitable partners, or by supporting individual participation in major international events. Furthermore, in this role, project partners are able to actively promote the networking of local researchers and act as a conduit of information exchange.


The project is pragmatic in its approach. Each partner, for instance, is responsible for organising three workshops for their local audiences. The first workshop targets local multipliers, who could help in motivating the research community. The other two workshops focus on the researcher's audience: one provides introductory information, such as a briefing session on the FAB programme, the basics for project financing, suggestions on networking and exploring existing opportunities; and the other workshop builds on this by providing a more indepth presentation on the financial and legal aspects of FP7, information on constructing effective proposals and a guide for project management.

Furthermore, the partners will compile an electronic handbook to further extend the project's reach to potential FP7 participants. The handbook will cover basic information such as project funding types and will be translated into the language of each WB partner. The project's website is also a reference point, containing support information for FP7 participation and providing tools to facilitate partner search and consortium building.

List of Partners

  • Food Industrial Research and Technological Development Company (Greece)
  • Sustainable Economic Development Agency (Albania)
  • Agency for International, Scientific, Educational, Cultural and Technical Cooperation (Montenegro)
  • University of Belgrade, Faculty of Agriculture (Serbia)
  • Ss. Cyril and Methodius University Skopje (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia)
  • University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Agriculture (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, Directorate for International Cooperation (Croatia)
  • Agency of the Promotion of European Research (Italy)
  • Euroquality (France)
  • Brussels Enterprise Agency (Belgium)
  • Euro Project (Bulgaria)
Full title:
EU-western Balkan network for training and the promotion of cooperation in research activities within the food, agriculture and biotechnology of theme FP7
Contract n°:
Project co-ordinator:
Gorgias Garofalakis,
ETAT and
EC Scientific Officer:
Jean-François Maljean,
EU contribution:
€ 570,864
Specific Support Action

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Last update: 06 December 2007 | Top