The European Union’s funding of the development of research and innovation has boosted scientific excellence and strengthened Europe’s industrial competitiveness, contributing to growth and employment across Europe. Through various EU funds, the European Union aims to enlarge Europe’s competitiveness, sustainability, innovation and job creation, enabling the growth of new ideas that enrich everyday lives and improve societies.
In order to present successful stories of EU investments in the development of innovation across the Western Balkans, the EU Info Centre organised an interactive panel “EU Funds Foster Innovation? Tell me More!”, within Sarajevo Unlimited 2018, the first regional forum on innovation, entrepreneurship and technology.
“Innovation is vital to European competitiveness in the global economy. The EU supports the development of innovations and is dedicated to investing in research and development. Through programmes like Horizon 2020, we have already achieved and will achieve more breakthroughs and discoveries, taking great ideas from labs and scientific facilities straight to markets,” said Khaldoun Sinno, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The panel gathered local and regional best practice stories of initiatives and innovations funded through various EU programmes and projects. Successful innovators shared their insight and knowledge of the application process for EU funds that promote innovators, such as Horizon 2020, the largest EU Research and Innovation programme, Erasmus+ and other EU programmes and projects available to the countries of the region. “We are impressed with the talent, ability and desire to do things differently within this country, and we wish to tap into it, to support these innovators and the talents they possess, which have been recognised abroad,” Sinno added.
Darko Ivanković, representative of Civil Alliance, a Montenegrin NGO, presented a mobile application that the organisation developed for reporting violations of civil and work rights. The application was developed within an EU-funded project and enables citizens to locate and describe the problem, and to report the institution they claim has violated their rights, “The sustainability of the project is achieved by people using it, and we want to create more people-focused innovations, enabling them to connect and express their opinions,” Ivanković added.
The regional innovations forum, Sarajevo Unlimited, provides educational content and know-how through an intersectional approach of workshops and activities led by regional and international mentors. During the three-day forum, the EU Info Centre organised the “The Cool Kids and 3D Vision Workshops” and “Unlimited 30” presentations. The 3D workshop gathered primary and high school pupils from across Bosnia and Herzegovina, providing them with a unique opportunity to learn and create 3D products mentored by some of the leading local and regional experts. During the “Unlimited 30” panels, in an effort to showcase best practices, initiatives and businesses helping to sustain their local communities, some of the most successful and prominent young entrepreneurs and innovators presented their activities and inspiration behind them.