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.


Finance Think – Economic Research & Policy Institute from Skopje is organizing the Economic forum: Migrants’ Money Matters for the Development of the Western Balkans, which will be held on 22 September 2016, in Skopje, Macedonia. The main objective is to present the results of the project research about the role of remittances in social protection in the Western Balkan countries, and to open up the discussion about policies that regulate the use of remittances and possibilities for their improvements.
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A presentation "Introduction of a new approach to public policies: The use of knowledge from behavioral economics and psychology in creating better and target public policies" will be held on 29 September in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The event is organized within the National Policy Dialogue in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The main objective is to present the latest trends, achievements and challenges in using insights from behavioral economics and psychology in the development of public policies.
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7th RRPP Annual Conference took place on 2-3 September in Tirana, Albania, and brought together over 100 young researchers from the region and beyond. Its leading topic was "Europe in Times of Crises" and related compelling challenges for the European Union and its neighborhood. Composed of two speeches, three panels, five scientific workshops and a research fair, the event constituted an opportunity to look back on the ten years of RRPP, its achievements and lessons learnt.
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First debate within the National Policy Dialogue in Macedonia: Priorities for support of scientific and research projects: Where to focus? took place in March 2016. It was centered around the question how the call for scientific research projects in the country should be organized: based on curiosity driven topics or specifically pre-defined ones. The discussants pointed out that the research themes should be specifically defined taking into consideration that experts, decision makers, and the business community need also to be consulted for defining priorities.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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University of Fribourg
Interfaculty Institute for Central and Eastern

Bd. de Pérolles 90
1700 Fribourg, Switzerland
Tel +41 26 300 79 97
Fax +41 26 300 96 26