About RRPP


The RRPP is aimed at fostering and promoting social science research in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia). Social science research aids in the understanding of the specific needs for reform and in identifying the long-term implications of potential policy choices. Researchers receive support through research grants, methodological and thematic trainings, as well as opportunities for regional and international exchange and networking. The RRPP is coordinated and operated by the Interfaculty Institute for Central and Eastern Europe (IICEE) at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). The programme is fully funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

What have we achieved so far?


The RRPP consolidation phase started in 2014 with the selection of 21 regional research projects embedded in such thematic areas as Migration, Governance/Decentralisation and Welfare State/Social Disparities. These current research projects have developed an institutional research partnership with established universities and research institutes from Europe and overseas within the Academic Mentoring Programme.

In October 2014, the Policy Bridging Initiative (PBI) was launched as a new capacity development programme. Its aim is to support the RRPP research in maximizing the production of policy-relevant outputs, as well as building the insight to bridge the resulting analysis into a target policy-making process. The PBI started officially at international Policy Conference and Orientation Meeting for the Policy Bridging Initiative (PBI) in Belgrade, in November 19-20, 2014.

Throughout the 2008-2015 period, under the umbrella topic “Political, Social and Economic Change in the Western Balkans” 71 research projects have been implemeted in the region, valuing 7.5 million CHF. These RRPP research projects deal with topics relevant to transformation in political sciences, sociology, social work, cultural and gender studies, economies and other relevant fields.

In addition to these projects, a total of 24 regional trainings have been organised and conducted by international specialists for research methods and management, gathering a total of 364 participants so far. In order to improve capacity building impact and research quality, we have financed individual mentoring sessions and participation at international conferences for research teams supported by the RRPP.

By 2015, a total of four annual scientific conferences were organised, involving over 600 regional and international scholars. Aside from the benefits gained via networking, such conferences provide researchers an opportunity to present their work, exposing it to critical review.

Furthermore, the RRPP initiated several projects related to “National Policy Dialogues” in all countries involved with its objective. These focused projects are aimed at influencing necessary systemic changes in social science research, simultaneously involving a number of relevant stakeholders such as ministers/ministries, rectors, deans and researchers from different disciplines representing a range of ages.

During 2012, support was granted to an additional pilot project entitled, “Data Centre Western Balkans”. It is currently coordinated by the University of Zurich. This project aims to assemble survey data relevant to social sciences in the Western Balkans, leading to easy and open access to said data. After the initial phase, should it be deemed successful, the project’s ownership shall be transferred to the region.

Finally, during the 2008-2011 period, the RRPP fully supported the “Regional Gender and Women’s Studies Network Project”, gathering scholars interested in regional gender studies. The project was implemented by the Euro-Balkan Institute in Skopje, Macedonia.
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RRPP Joint Volume

The RRPP is proud to present the volume Stagnation and Drift in the Western Balkans.
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New RRPP Flyer 2014

Please click here to download the current RRPP flyer.

09.08.2016

Round table "Members of parliament – chosen by the people or by party leaders?" took place in Belgrade, Serbia. Organized within the RRPP project, the event aimed at presenting the most relevant findings of a "Voter Study" conducted in the run-up to the parliamentary elections in Serbia (April 2016). The most gripping results reveal that the two thirds of Serbian citizens do not know the number of Members of Parliament (MPs) and express the lack of interest about politics. The low level of knowledge and interest enables politicians to act on their own and not be held accountable.
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09.08.2016

The book "Figura e armikut" was published as a part of the RRPP-funded project and had its promotion at the Albanian Ministry of Culture. The book gathers 24 articles written by Serbian and Albanian scholars, aimed at questioning the common prejudices between the two nations. In the words of the editors and commentators, this is the most comprehensive account on Serbian-Albanian relations available in Albanian so far, and the one that brings the most welcome critical view of the previously held assumptions about the centennial hostility between the two nations.
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14.07.2016

Research Academy "Introduction to Social Science Research Methods for Junior Researchers in the Western Balkans" was held in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and addressed the most relevant aspects of social science research methods. It helped 35 junior researchers to improve their methodological, analytical, and writing skills. The programme was composed of eight one-day and highly interactive modules run by 13 trainers from both West-European and regional universities and research institutes.
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14.07.2016

Conference "The way forward: The Role of the Academic Community and Research in Policy Development and Evidence-based Decision-making" was held in Prishtina and aimed at presenting the achievements of the RRPP National Policy Dialogue 2012 – 2016 in Kosovo. It was concluded that the development of credible and high quality research was the foundation upon which policy-making process should be built. Moreover, de-politicization of scientific research was a step towards an independent, innovative and socially responsible academic space.
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07.07.2016

Workshop on "Informality and Corruption in Kosovo: New Empirical Approaches" was held in Prishtina, Kosovo and aimed at presenting the findings of the RRPP-funded project Mapping Clientelism and its Causes: Rents, Rent-seeking and Democracy in Kosovo and Albania (1998-2013). The results unequivocally showed that corruption had a net growth-reducing effect in Albania and Kosovo and thus offered valuable insights to better target anti-corruption efforts.
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20.06.2016

Conference "The Challenges and Opportunities for Employment of Marginalized Groups by Social Enterprises" will be organized on 24 June in Skopje, Macedonia. The event is organized within the RRPP-funded project and aims at presenting the research findings for Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo, while depicting the local and regional models and typology of social enterprises, the legal and institutional environment for social enterprises development and their potential to employ marginalized groups. The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and a policy debate.
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07.06.2016

Round table on "Social identities of youth in Western Balkans: Relations and importance of ethnic, religious and national affection" was held in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina within the RRPP-funded project From inclusive identities to inclusive societies: exploring complex social identities in Western Balkans Youth and brought together around 65 participants. The findings demonstrated that in Bosnia and Herzegovina religious and ethnic identities were most meaningful even to the post-war population. The politicization of these identities still had psychological and social consequences, leading to the perception of other ethnic groups as the enemy in the political process.
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01.06.2016

Round Table "Out of Sight: Poverty, Rurality, Gender" was held in Belgrade within the RRPP-funded project Gender that Matters: Poverty and Social Inclusion – Social Protection Status in Rural Kosovo and Serbia carried out by the Centre for Ethics, Law and Applied Philosophy (CELAP) from Belgrade and the Centre for Communities Development (CRZ) from Kosovska Mitrovica. The main objective of this event was to bring together various actors involved in the process of creating and implementing social policies, and thus to enable discussion on the opportunities for the improvement of the current situation in the field of social protection. It was concluded that social protection system must be stable and durable, regardless of the political changes and economic turbulences.
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31.05.2016

Press release: A third of BiH citizens believe that democracy is not appropriate political system for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The document has been issued within the RRPP-funded project Balkan Electoral Comparative Study: Impact of Personal Vote on Internal Party Democracy. It entails the preliminary results derived from the general population survey conducted by the BiH research team: A considerable number of respondents (23%) are not at all interested in politics, while 70% rarely or never follow political events in the country. Only 36% have a strong intent to vote in the upcoming elections.
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25.05.2016

Round table on "Reintegration of Young Asylum Seekers in the Albanian Education System" is held on 25 May in Tirana, Albania. The event is organized within the National Policy Dialogue in Albania and addresses the compelling need of re-integration of young returned asylum seekers in the education system. The debate centeres on the following questions: What are the upcoming initiatives and policies to enable and support a sustainable reintegration of returned asylum seekers, especially school children? Are these initiatives based on comprehensive processes? What are the potential challenges while preparing such initiatives and how to address them?
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13.05.2016

RRPP project Figuring Out the Enemy: Re-imagining Serbian-Albanian Relations was presented at the Center for South East European Studies, University College London (UCL). The introductory note by the project members was followed by a panel discussion focused on the challenges of overcoming the present enmity and promoting cooperation between Serbs and Albanians in the region. The emphasis was put on the innovative and valuable contribution of this project to researching the mutual relations between the two nations, as it aimed to offer neutral overview of these relations over the last two centuries on both sides.
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13.05.2016

"Scientific Café" IV entitled "The Road ahead: The New Law on Higher Education and the State of Scientific Research in Kosovo" was organized in Prishtina as a part of the National Policy Dialogue. It focused on the current process of amendment of the Law on Higher Education and its impact on the state of scientific research in Kosovo.
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13.05.2016

Conference "Social Identities of Youth in Kosovo: Interplay between ethnic, religious and national belonging" was held in Prishtina, Kosovo within the RRPP-funded project From Inclusive Identities to Inclusive Societies: Exploring Complex Social Identity in the Western Balkans. Its main goal was to present research findings from Kosovar case study and examine how they could be used to foster cooperation between Kosovar Albanians and Kosovar Serbs. Inter-ethnic relations in Kosovo remain difficult with over 70% of participants reporting to never have had contact with members of an ethnic out-group.
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13.05.2016

International Scientific Colloquium "Solidarity in Transition? Researching Social Enterprise in Post-Communist Societies" was organized in Tirana Albania. It took place at the initiative of a member of the academic mentoring team within the RRPP project Challenges and Opportunities for Employment of Marginalized Groups by Social Enterprises. The event brought together 30 researchers from Central and Eastern, as well as Western Europe to discuss how 'social enterprise' is understood and has been promoted in their countries. The event represented the first step towards creating a network for social enterprise research in the region.
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13.05.2016

Conference "Challenges and Opportunities for Employment of Marginalized Groups by Social Enterprises" was organized in Tirana and aimed to present and discuss the research findings of the RRPP project. It provided a general overview of social enterprises, characteristics of their development and opportunities for employment and integration of marginalized groups. Different experiences of the legal framework and practices from several European countries were also depicted.
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13.05.2016

Workshop on "Building Capacities of Social Science Research System (SSRS) in Albania for Policy Impact Assessment and Evidence-informed Policy-Making" was organised in Tirana, Albania within the National Policy Dialogue. It brought together 25 participants, representatives of the Albanian Prime Minister’s Office (SPU), of the Albanian Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth (MSWY), social science researchers. The workshop aimed to familiarize the participants with the concepts of policy impact assessments (PIA) and evidence-informed policy-making (EIPM) and provide insights and related examples from Switzerland.
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University of Fribourg
Interfaculty Institute for Central and Eastern
Europe

Bd. de Pérolles 90
1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
Tel +41 26 300 79 97
Fax +41 26 300 96 26
office@rrpp-westernbalkans.notexisting@nodomain.comnet