WBC-INCO.NET’s core objectives are to support the bi-regional dialogue between the EU, associated FP7 countries and the West Balkan Countries (WBC) and to enhance the participation of WBC researchers in European RTD projects by structural measures. The consortium includes 26 partners. Among them are the S&T ministries from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, FYROM, Montenegro and Serbia. In addition, S&T ministries from Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Slovenia and Turkey participate in the consortium to add critical mass and momentum. The political dimension at the bi-regional level is closely intertwined with the Steering Platform on Research for WBC, implemented under the Austrian EU Presidency together with the EC in 2006. WBC-INCO.NET also supports the dialogue within the region and an information exchange with several EC Directorates General and international stakeholders, such as UNESCO or World Bank. The dialogues are substantiated with several analytical inputs. For this purpose, top European and regional S&T analysis institutions participate in WBC-INCO.NET. It is aimed, e.g., to identify research areas of mutual benefit in an inclusive and comprehensive manner. Moreover, WBC-INCO.NET monitors the take-up of identified research areas in forthcoming RTD programmes and the participation of WBC researchers in collaborative FP7 projects. Existing cooperation patterns will be analysed by social network methodologies and barriers of cooperation explored by empirical investigations. WBC-INCO.NET also puts emphasis on the building of capacities and the facilitation of networking opportunities for researchers in order to improve absorption quantities and qualities and to enhance a better international recognition of existing WBC potentials. Several renowned European NCP-organisations and research agencies have committed their capacities to join WBC-INCO.NET and to support the integration of the WBC region into the ERA.
PACE-Net Plus is funded from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement n° 609490.