Within the WP4 – Analytical Evidence on Research and Innovation in the Danube Region, the Danube-INCO.NET team has recently finalised a survey for identifying those social, political and economic bottlenecks as to S&T cooperation in the Danube region and to put forward corresponding policy recommendations.
One of the major goals of EUSDR is to overcome obstacles hindering the social and economic development of the Danube region. In this process, one of our starting activities has been to identify barriers hampering cooperation. The main task of this research has therefore been to identify the barriers which inhibit researchers from the Danube region countries from international R&D cooperation in order to provide policy makers with the analytical backgrounds to create policy measures for facilitating research cooperation.
The main focus of the study is on identification of the factors which hamper the international RTDI cooperation of Danube region countries as well as the differences in perception of barriers between group of countries in the Danube region. The differences in perception of barriers were done in relation to the following groups of countries in the Danube region:
- EU MS and regions upstream the Danube: Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany – in particular Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria;
- EU MS and regions downstream the Danube: Bulgaria, Romania;
- Enlargement countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia;
- Neighbourhood countries: Moldova and Ukraine (in particular area of Odessa, Uschhorod, Ivano-Frankiwsk and Czernowitz)
The factor analysis resulted in the following classification of barriers: personal barriers; administrative and bureaucratic barriers; institutional support barriers; capacity barriers on the country level; barriers to scientific excellence; socio-cultural and political barriers; and project management barriers.
The analysis of preferences, regarding the selection of countries for cooperation, showed that the most preferable countries for RTDI cooperation among the R&I community in the Danube region are Austria and Germany (Bavaria and Baden Württemberg). The most preferred countries outside the Danube region are Germany (other than Bavaria and Baden Württemberg), followed by Italy, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and the US.
The results revealed the statistically significant difference in the perception of the barriers between groups of countries in the Danube region. Also, the study confirmed a significantly lower extent of participation in international RTDI projects by R&I community in the Enlargement countries compared to the other countries in the Danube region.
The barriers relating to the capacity on the country level and the barriers relating to the project management are perceived as the most important with regard to the RTDI cooperation among the Danube Region countries. Country capacity barriers relate to the objective situation in the country, financial support and investment in science. Project management barriers relate to the low capacity of researchers to submit and manage the project.
In addition to identifying and measuring the importance of barriers, activities for overcoming barriers such as information on IPR rules, language courses, project management trainings, participation in brokerage events etc. were also identified.
The study recommends a number of measures to be implemented on the various levels and different stakeholders to overcome barriers and eventually achieve an efficient cooperation among the Danube Region countries.