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.

21.01.2016

How are the research institutes financed and do they have enough space for young researchers? A short, online story about young researchers’ perspective in Serbia addresses various challenges that young researchers in Serbia face on a daily basis: Difficult financial situation; inadequate conditions for scientific work; rigid Ph.D. programmes; insufficient applicability of the acquired knowledge. Politicians always speak about necessary and indispensible investing in youth in order to achieve a sustainable development. Do they really care about the future of young researchers in Serbia? Why are young researchers employed at the research institutes dissatisfied with their status?
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21.01.2016

Research Results: Performance Audit and Policy Evaluation in the Western Balkans - On the Same or Parallel Tracks? are now available online. While in Montenegro and Serbia there is no systemic approach to policy evaluation, it has already been introduced in Macedonia but only for legislative procedures. Relatively poor experience and legalistic public administrative culture have been hindering the potential of performance audit to make a positive change. What is more, there has been almost no evidence on the existing links between performance audit and policy evaluation so far.
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21.01.2016

Research Results now online: Country Studies on Electoral and Party Systems. A Perspective of Internal Party Democracy Development. Written within the RRPP-funded project Balkan Electoral Comparative Study: Impact of Personal Vote on Internal Party Democracy, they tackle a crucial but underresearched field of inter-party democracy in Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are some main patterns observable across the region: The informal decision-making process within political parties; the personality of a leader matters much more than a party programme; weak opposition and difficulties of new parties to handle the electoral threshold; social demagogy and avoiding accountability.
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08.01.2016

Upcoming: Regional Conference on "Communication in the Context of Citizen Protests: The Experiences from the SEE Region" takes place on 21 January 2016 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Organised within the RRPP-funded project, the event aims to discuss the communication practices in the context of citizen protests in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, the way the protests are framed in the media content, and how the three major stakeholders (journalists, activists and party/government officials) perceive the communication practices during the protests.
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18.12.2015

Workshop on Developing Effective Strategies & Communication Tools for Policy Advocacy was held in Petrovac, Montenegro. The training brought together 20 participants from 11 RRPP funded projects. It was convened within the Policy Bridging Initiative and it served developing the strategic capacity of participants to design a targeted and policy relevant advocacy campaign in order to achieve their desired policy objectives.
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18.12.2015

Call for Applications: Training Seminar on "Qualitative Data Management and Analysis" to be held on 5-6 February 2016 in Belgrade, Serbia. It aims to address the very process of qualitative data management and analysis and provide practical tools to deal with it. It is centered around various ways in which unstructured data can be turned into structured data before being processed further either qualitatively or quantitatively. The Call is now open, the deadline for applications: 05 January 2016.
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15.12.2015

The final RRPP Annual Conference will take place on 2-3 September 2016 in Tirana, Albania. The Call for Papers and further organisational issues will be communicated in due course. Stay tuned.
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15.12.2015

Book promotion "The Figure of the Enemy" within the RRPP-project Figuring out the Enemy: Re-imagining Serbian-Albanian Relations took place on 27 November in Belgrade within the RRPP-funded project implemented by the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory and KPZ Beton. Becuase the dialogue between Serbia and Albania has usually been hampered by political factors and inherited prejudices, the authors of this book aim at broadening debate on common issues between Serbians and Albanians by inclusion of theoreticians from Kosovo, Serbia and Albania.
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11.12.2015

International Conference on "Labour Migration and Industrial Citizenship" took place at the University of New York Tirana, Albania. It was organized within the RRPP-funded project Industrial Citizenship and Migration from the Western Balkans: Migration from Albania and Kosovo towards Greece, Germany and Switzerland and was a joint effort of the RRPP grantees from the University of New York Tirana, University of Prishtina and their mentoring Institution, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Attended by remarkable 120 high-level participants, the conference highlighted the missing role of the state in regulating issues related to migrants’ working legal status, recognition of the time of employment, the ability to combine working years in several countries to obtain adequate pensions.
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10.12.2015

Scientific Café III: How Social Science Research Imagines Kosovo - American Impressions was organised as part of the Policy Dialogue for strengthening social science research in Kosovo. Guest speaker of the meeting, Dr. Mark Baskin from the State University of New York, pointed to the still missing good quality research on crucial but typical issues such as political parties, public policies, urban-rural divides. Kosovo is still regarded as an "interesting experiment" associated with post-conflict challenges that will hopefully develop into a "boring" case, similar to other small countries in Europe - also for scientific comparison.
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10.12.2015

Call for Participants - Research Academy: Introduction to Social Science Research Methods for Junior Researchers in the Western Balkans, 11-18 April 2016 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Participants will be guided through all stages of the research process and the sessions will be highly interactive and practice-oriented. The program will be delivered by a team of 13 trainers coming from European and regional universities and research institutes. Deadline for applications: 15 January 2016.
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09.12.2015

Round table on research results: "The Politicized Life in Serbia - Rules of the Game“ was held on 30 November in Belgrade, Serbia within the RRPP-funded project Informal Practices of Capturing Economic Resources by Political Elites: Exploring Party Patronage in Kosovo and Serbia. The event unvailed that the employment based on belonging to political party is one of the key mechanisms in the process of 'capturing' of public resources.
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04.12.2015

Now in English: Web Platform PolicyHub Dedicated to Development of Social Research is availabe also in English: http://www.policyhub.net/en and easily accesible at the policy hub twitter account @policyhubWB. The platform is dedicated to the development of social research, with a focus on policy-relevant and applied research in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans.
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02.12.2015

The Round Table on "Migration as social protection: Analysis of Albanian remittance-receiving households" was organized in Elbasan by the Albanian Centre for Socio-Economic Research (ASCER) within the RRPP-funded project Migration as social protection: Analysis of Macedonia, Albanian and Serbian remittance-receiving households. According to the preliminary findings, remittances seem to affect poverty by fueling every-day consumption. Their positive effects are also related to other non-income aspects of vulnerability, such as health, housing and leisure.
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19.11.2015

"To UNESCO or not to UNESCO: Serbian Cultural Heritage in Kosovo between Sovereignty and Protection" by Aleksandar Pavlović and Jelena Lončar has been published at the Balkans in Europe Policy Blog within the RRPP project Figuring out the Enemy: Re-imagining Serbian-Albanian Relations. It touches upon the legal status of Serbian cultural heritage in Kosovo, its forced adoption and the opposition to its implementation. Shifting the focus from the question of sovereignty to the legal framework of this cultural heritage in Kosovo seems to be the most productive option in the long run.
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18.11.2015

International Workshop for Managers of Research Organizations in the Western Balkans and the EU took place on 19-21 October 2015 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Organized by the Center for Social Research Analitika in cooperation with the RRPP and the Think Tank Fund of the Open Society Foundations it addressed the needs of managers of research organizations while facing obstacles in their daily work: Unpredictable socio-political contexts, insecure sources of funding, high staff turnover and a shortage of trained staff, as well as an increasing competition.
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18.11.2015

International Conference "Informality in Central and South-East Europe: Linkages between Political and Economic Actors" was held at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, on 30-31 October 2015 within the related RRPP research project. It highlighted actors as well as resources of the party patronage in the political field in Serbia.
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18.11.2015

Round table on "Socio-economic position of the remittance-receiving households in Serbia" was held on 2 November in Belgrade and was organized by the Foundation for the Advancement of Economics (FREN) within the related RRPP-funded project. It proves that the received remittances do serve as an informal social protection for households in rural areas and contribute to a decrease of the overall vulnerability of the household.
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06.11.2015

Save the date: International Conference on "Labor Migration and Industrial Citizenship. Albanians on the move - Citizenship, Identity and Development" will be held on 13-14 November 2015 at the University of New York Tirana.
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05.11.2015

Research results of the RRPP project The Impact of Socio-Economic Structure of Rural Population on Success of Rural Development Policy are now available online. Rural areas of Macedonia, Serbia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina face common problems such as intensive depopulation, low activity on the labour market but at the same time large differences in the socio-economic structure of rural areas between and within the countries, as well as among surveyed farmers and their farm households.
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05.11.2015

Round Table entitled "Young Researchers in Social Sciences: Education and Support" was organized by the Institute of Economic Sciences on 23 October 2015 in Belgrade to present the research on institutional support and education for young researchers in humanities and social sciences.
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05.11.2015

RRPP project Figuring out the Enemy: Re-imagining Serbian-Albanian Relations will be presented on 18 November at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University. In his lecture, Mr Aleksandar Pavlovic will try to identify common views and practices that could deescalate the present enmity and promote cooperation.
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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