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EU Study: Albania, the most unprepared in the Region for technology transfer
Technology transfer is a mechanism for innovation and is therefore strongly encouraged by innovation policy.
A study by the European Training Fund, an EU mechanism, notes that the countries of the Western Balkans have adopted the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3), which channels RDI (Research and Innovation Development) funding to priority sectors, but Albania and Kosovo are weaker than other countries and are not yet ready to apply VTT (Vertical Transfer of Technology).
The study notes that Montenegro and Serbia are the only countries in the Western Balkans that have adopted the S3 strategy, North Macedonia was expected to adopt its S3 by the end of 2022, indicating a high level of preparedness.
Kosovo and Albania are both in the early stages of S3 development, while Bosnia and Herzegovina has not yet initiated its S3 process.
Existing policies in Albania support the development of a "quad helix" innovation model to support VTT (Vertical Technology Transfer), but this has not been reflected in policy implementation, says the EU study.
The Research Programs (RPK) and the National Development Strategy (NDS) are documents needed for funding vary widely across the Balkans, with only Serbia and North Macedonia establishing functional innovation funds, while Montenegro is planning this step. while Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo still lack adequate support for technology activities. Venture capital is at an early stage of development across the region.
The study reported that all Balkan countries have very low investments in Research and Development (from 0.25% of GDP in Albania to 0.9% in Serbia). This is reflected in their research capacity, including the number of researchers, scientific publications and patenting activity.
Serbia is seeing the most consistent improvement as a result of channeling EU funds into Research and Development. Meanwhile, the Global Innovation Index (GII) shows that Albania has the lowest performance in the region in the dimension of human capital and research. Patenting activity is low and mostly carried out by companies.
Bosnia and Herzegovina also ranks at the lower end of the regional spectrum for science and research capacity. The country is ranked and scored low for R&D production.
Kosovo is seeing a negative trend. The University of Pristina used to be able to compete with other similar institutions in the region, but today it has fallen behind in the global and regional rankings, although it is still above the University of Tirana.
Montenegro has a small population of researchers and very few researchers working in the business sector. However, the relatively good level of research excellence in academic publications has been recognized and is the result of strict long-term university policies for academic advancement.
The number of researchers in North Macedonia is also well below the EU average and research results are also low. Serbia, like Montenegro, breaks the regional trend in terms of scientific capacity, with improved output in the last decade.