Science and Research have been traditional strongholds in Eastern Europe. Switzerland has two programmes aimed at fostering scientific research in the Western Balkans and at developing partnerships between institutions in Switzerland and the region.

Scientific Cooperation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland: SCOPES – 2009-2012:

Started in 1990, the programme aims to integrate researchers from Eastern Europe into the global scientific network, to strengthen tendencies towards reform-oriented research policy and to support the establishment and reorganization of research institutions. The programme covers all major scientific areas: mathematics, natural and applied sciences, hydrology, geology, environmental sciences, agriculture and forestry as well as medical sciences, economics, social sciences and humanities. The target countries are those of the Western Balkans, South Caucasus, Central Asia, Moldova and Ukraine. Additionally, partners from other Eastern European States may be co-opted.

The main programme instruments are:

  • joint research projects (JRP), wherein SCOPES promotes either bilateral or multilateral partnerships between Swiss and Eastern European research institutions to deliver high standard research projects;
  • institutional partnerships (IP), wherein research groups and institutes in Eastern Europe are strengthened in their capacity to networking, development of young researchers and curricula as well as some infrastructure.
  • conference grants, preparatory grants and valorisation grants to enable researchers from the region to participate in important conferences, prepare JRP or IP as well as disseminate and discuss their results with counterparts elsewhere.

For the implementation of the programme, SDC has mandated the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). For more information, please refer to the booklet SCOPES – Experiences and Results ().

Last year, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Agency for Develop-ment and Cooperation (SDC) launched a new phase of the programme “SCOPES - Scientific co-operation between Eastern Europe and Switzerland”.

In the framework of SCOPES 2013–2016, two calls are foreseen

  • a first call for proposals for Joint Research Projects, open from 20 March to 20 September 2013 (this call is closed)
  • a second call for proposals for Institutional Partnerships (= IP, open from 20 May to 15 November 2014).

Preparatory Grants (PG) can only be submitted during an open call in order to prepare a JRP/IP. Applications for Valorisation Grants (VG) are usually submitted towards the end of a successfully conducted JRP/IP. Applications for Conference Grants (CG) can be submitted throughout the entire duration of the programme.

SCOPES Call Document (PDF, Number of pages 14, 183.8 kB, English)

Regional Research Programme in the Western Balkans – RRPP 2008-2013

The programme aims to strengthen the research capacities in transition-relevant social sciences in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia through the provision of research grants for national and regional research projects, the creation of research networks and the financing of a series of training courses in research methodology and management. The RRPP follows a bottom-up approach. The thematic focuses have been chosen by the participants themselves:

  • State and Nation Building in Bosnia-Herzegovina;
  • Knowledge, Power and Social Change in Macedonia;
  • Citizenship, Social Cohesion and Development in Albania;
  • Governance, Identities and Development in Kosovo;
  • Governance, Social Change and the Information Society in Serbia.

The programme ensures regional ownership and responds to explicit needs put forward by local researchers and their respective institutions. It integrates and promotes Governance, Gender and Youth while monitoring progress with indicators of achievement. Furthermore, it supports advocating activities to ensure a meaningful recognition of social sciences in individual countries, while, at the same time, its results contribute to the development of transition relevant policies.

For the implementation of the programme, SDC has mandated the University of Fribourg and its Interfaculty Institute for Central and Eastern Europe (IICEE). The networks are run by institutions selected by the participants. For more information consult the RRPP's website: