14 March 2018 | General
Spreading excellence, enhancing synergies; perspectives from South-Eastern Europe

On the 14th March 2018, Stakeholders gathered for a conference at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, to ensure more European regions can benefit from Horizon 2020.

With nearly €80 billion of funding allocated, the 7 year Horizon 2020 programme has been the largest EU Research and Innovation initiative ever implemented. However, despite the high levels of fiscal investment, a participation gap between higher-and-lower performing regions has actually increased. 

The conference in action

The Spreading Excellence, Enhancing Synergies; perspectives from South-East Europe conference which was jointly organised by the University of Ljubljana and The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, a network of 19 of the most distinguished research-intensive universities, aimed to address this issue and use the event to release a new Guild position paper on Spreading Excellence.

Academics from the Western Balkans joined representatives from the Slovenian Government, European Commission and COST programme to discuss ways of closing the research and innovation (R&I) divide between Europe’s regions by using EU Framework programmes in synergy with Structural funds.

A central aim of the conference was to demonstrate the benefits that ‘widened participation’ brings to Europe through connecting talented researchers and infrastructure. COST Director, Ronald de Bruin highlighted the COST organisations’ 45 successful years of facilitating research collaboration and participation during his keynote address ‘The importance of networking for enhancing scientific collaboration: Transnational COST Actions:’

“A strong desire to be independent is present in every good scientist, but it is only through knowledge sharing and coordinated activities that risks can be reduced and innovative solutions to problems achieved. Networking is not easy, it requires active participant engagement and open pathways to join established networks, through COST this has already been made possible for 48,000 researchers from across Europe and near neighbour countries.”

COST Director Ronald de Bruin speaking with Andjela Pepic, Chair of COST Targeted Network, BESTPRAC  at the event

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