This morning, within the framework of the 5th Annual Forum of the EU i Strategy for the Danube Region (Danube Strategy), ministers and their representatives responsible for research and innovation, together with the European Commission, met to discuss how to coordinate investment activities in the field of research and how to prevent the brain drain from the region.
The brain drain, especially with respect to young researchers, is a problem affecting most countries of the Danube region. In an effort to counter this trend, we need to support investment into human potential and create suitable conditions that enable researchers to pursue long-term careers in science and ensure an optimum work-life balance for them.
The Slovak Minister for Education, Science, Research and Sport, Peter Plavčan, together with representatives of the relevant departments in 14 countries involved in the Danube Strategy (nine EU Member States and five non-EU countries) and the Vice-President of the European Commission for Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič i, assessed research and innovation activities in the Danube region and outlined the way forward. Today, ministers discussed joint funding of research and innovation activities, technology transfer, capacity building and adoption of measures to prevent qualified researchers from leaving the region. They also discussed ways to improve management of the Danube Strategy and cooperation on smart specialisation.
Ministers and their representatives supported the Danube Funding Coordination Network established by the representatives of the Danube Strategy countries in May 2016. The main aim of the platform is to coordinate and synchronise research and innovation activities in the Danube region at national, regional and international level. We believe that all Danube region countries will join this mechanism. We support the creation of these networks, but we would point out that their functioning and sustainability will depend on political support and active engagement of the competent institutions of particular states.
The Slovak Minister for Education, Science, Research and Sport, Peter Plavčan, had this to say at the press briefing following the talks: 'The brain drain, especially with respect to young researchers, is a problem affecting most countries of the Danube region. In an effort to counter this trend, we need to support investment into human potential and create suitable conditions that enable researchers to pursue long-term careers in science and ensure an optimum work-life balance for them.'
The Danube-INCO.NET project, which is co-funded under the EU Framework Programme, is an example of successful cooperation between the countries of the Danube region. A total of 70 universities and hundreds of research institutes in the Danube region are involved in this project, which aims to bring together researchers from the entire region and keep them informed of funding opportunities.
The DREAM project is another example. It focuses on the hydrodynamics and ecology of the Danube river, as well as on improvements to conditions for river transport.