Conference: “Systemic Changes for the Improvement of the Status of Social Sciences in Serbia”



On Thursday, 6 December 2012, the conference on “Systemic Changes for the Improvement of Social Sciences Status” was held in Belgrade. The conference was organised within the RRPP “Policy Dialogue in the Field of Social Sciences in Serbia”. The conference was attended by more than 70 researchers, policymakers and non-governmental sector representatives.

The main objectives of the conference were
  • to present the draft document on “Social Science Research Sector in Serbia: An Overview of the Current Situation, Main Challenges and Policy Recommendations“,
  • to discuss how specific issues mentioned in the document “Social Science Research Sector in Serbia: An Overview of the Current Situation, Main Challenges and Policy Recommendations“ can be improved for the betterment of research in Serbian social sciences.
The conference was opened by the Director of the Institute of Economic Sciences (IES), Dejan Erić, and RRPP senior advisor, Ivan Stošić. The introduction session featured Mr Tibor Sabo, Deputy Minister of the Education, Science and Technological Development, who held a presentation on the current state of science in Serbia, with particular focus placed on social sciences in comparison to relevant countries. The improvement of scientific production in Serbian social sciences is made evident in examining the past 10 years. However, as Mr Sabo pointed out, Serbian scientists are still behind benchmark countries. Two of the possible reasons for this are the global economy and low levels of investment in science in Serbia—approximately 0.3% of the GDP, while the trend in developed countries is approximately 1% of the GDP.

After the opening ceremony, the conference broke down into five sessions as the working group members presented the main findings of their analyses and recommendations within the project “Policy Dialogue in the Field of Social Sciences in Serbia”.

In the first session, Mr Predrag Cvetičanin and Ms Mina Petrović presented the main findings of their research entitled, “Assessment Levels of Both Scientific and Research Capacities in Serbian Social Sciences and Identification of the Salient Problems Faced by Researchers”. The analyses were performed on a representative sample of 626 researchers (more than two-thirds of all Serbian researchers in the field of social sciences), which provided interesting insights illustrating current trends in Serbian social sciences. Some of the results, according to the research, demonstrated that 71.2% of researchers are still employed at the institution wherein they started their scientific career, 16% of them had an opportunity to spend some period of time abroad for scientific training purposes; only 10% of examinees published two or more papers in international journals.

In the second session, Mr Dušan Pavlović and Mr Branko Urošević provided brief remarks on the Scientific Evaluation System. Their findings indicate that the rewards system in the field of social sciences is not developed in a way that motivates researchers to produce quality research and publications. They proposed several policy measures in order to create a stimulating environment for research, including the improvement of the publishing evaluation system, domestic journals, recruitment policies at universities, etc.

During the third session, Ms Dubravka Valić-Nedeljković and Mr Marko Kmezić gave a presentation on “Young Researchers and Perspectives of Social Sciences Research in Serbia”. Their proposals expressed how to improve the socio-economic status of young researchers, what is required in order to improve work evaluation and how to improve currently inefficient processes of diploma recognition.

It is the general opinion of the scientific community, confirmed during the conference discussion, that the level of communication between policymakers and the scientific community is left unsatisfying. Ms Mirjana Rašević, Ms Tanja Pavlov and Mr Dejan Stanković presented their analyses and recommendations related to these issues under the topic, “Implementation of Research Findings and Cooperation Between Decision-Makers and Researchers”, in the fourth session. They stressed the importance of cooperation among scientists and governments, presenting two-fold recommendations comprising both the scientific community and policymakers/public institutions.

Finally, in the last session, Mr Dejan Stanković presented the idea to establish an association of social science researchers, an idea which was received well by researchers present at the conference. The notion of a ‘regional network’ and the benefits resulting from such an organisation were also expanded upon.

Conference participants, after each session, participated in vivid discussions and gave proposals on how policy measures proposed by working group members might be improved, additionally identifying important issues left untouched by the project.

The conference closed with final remarks given by Mr Jovan Babić, president of the working group. Underlying the values of the debate and spirit of academic discussion taking place throughout the conference, Mr Babic pointed out that all suggestions and constructive criticisms would be considered in order to improve the quality of “Social Science Research Sector in Serbia: An Overview of the Current Situation, Main Challenges and Policy Recommendations“, as well as policy proposals. The final publication and policy paper are expected to be released by May 2013.

The conference was covered by local media representatives.

Programme

Videos of the Conference (in Serbian)


Video1
Dejan Erić, Director of the Institute of Economic Sciences, provided the welcome speech.

Ivan Stošić, RRPP LCU Serbia, Senior Advisor on RRPP activities in Serbia.

Tibor Sabo, Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development, gave a presentation on Serbian sciences development in the last ten years, with a special focus on social sciences development.

Video2
Predrag Cvetičanin, Center for Empirical Cultural Studies, and Mina Petrović, Institute for Social Research, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade, presented their survey on Capacities, Practices and Problems of the Scientific Community in Serbia.

Video3
Dušan Pavlović, Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade, gave a presentation on current scientific evaluation systems.

Branko Urošević, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, held a speech on how to improve incentives for the benefit of research quality.

Video4
Dubravka Valić Nedeljković, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad, and Marko Kmezić, Faculty of Law, Graz University, gave a presentation on how the perspectives of young researchers in Serbia may be improved.

Video5
Mirjana Rašević, Institute for Social Research, Belgrade, and Tanja Pavlov, Group 484, gave a presentation on the importance of strenghtening coopeeration between researchers and policy-makers.

Dejan Stanković, Institute for Educational Research, Belgrade, gave a presentation on the importance of better cooperation among social sciences researchers presenting the initiative for establishing a Social Science Researchers Association.

Jovan Babić, President of the Board for Social Sciences within the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, provided concluding remarks.

Press

TV javna odbrana: The position of social scientists in Serbia (in Serbian)

Our RRPP Coordinator in Serbia, Mihajlo Djukic, in an interview about the RRPP and why social sciences and research matter (in Serbian langugage)

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