European integration in higher education and research in the Western Balkans (NORGLOBAL) (completed)

This project seeks primarily to strengthen the basis for evidence based policy making in the area of higher education and research in the Western Balkans.

For updated information on news, publications and results, see external project website.

About the project

Reliable data and solid analysis of systems of higher education and research are crucial for the ongoing processes of integration of WB countries to EU and NATO, as well as the underlying reforms taking place in a number of policy areas. However, the necessary data about the countries in the region does not exist yet in a consolidated form; therefore it is not possible to study these issues in a comparative manner. So far, this has resulted in the lack of solid evidence basis for policy development on the national or regional level. Higher education institutions or research centres on their own seem not to have the necessary capacity (technical or human) to develop and maintain the data base and do the analysis. The project will cover the period January 2011 – December 2013.


The primary objective is to strengthen the basis for evidence based policy making in higher education and research in the countries of the Western Balkans (WBC). It is expected that this will ensure a stronger contribution of higher education and research to sustainable economic growth, social and political development, through strengthening the capacity for analysis of higher education and research systems.


Expected outcomes include: development and maintenance of data base on higher education and research policies and recent reforms in the region, with a special focus on changes related to European integration and Europeanization of universities; production of joint research, to be published as scientific articles and books; production of 2 PhD and 1 postdoc projects focusing on higher education and research in WBC; organisation of joint research workshops and seminars; preparation of joint applications for research projects to other international funding agencies.

For more information on outcomes, see


The project aims at addressing the following research problem: How can the change dynamics in the higher education and research systems in the WBC be interpreted? The research will therefore be guided by the following research questions:

  1. What is the current knowledge base for higher education and research policy in the WBC?
  2. To what extent can the changes in higher education and research in WBC be linked to European policies and initiatives in this area?
  3. How are current changes in higher education institutions linked to economic, social and political developments in WBC?
  4. What are the key indicators for analysing the change dynamics and impact of higher education and research on economic, social and political development in the WB region?

The analytical framework will be founded on the combination of two theoretical perspectives, one focusing on contribution of higher education and research to development and the other focusing on Europeanization, European integration and “Europe of knowledge”. When it comes to choice of methods, the project will employ both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis, given that the data base to be developed will include (1) relevant documents (legislation, policy documents, institutional strategic documents, course descriptions etc) and descriptions of systems of higher education and research, as well as data collected through study visits to WBC and interviews with key regional, national and institutional actors; and (2) quantitative data organised around indicators of (a) contribution of higher education and research to economic, social and political and (b) Europeanization of higher education and research.


The project is primarily financed by the Norwegian Research Council through the NORGLOBAL programme. The University of Oslo will also contribute to part of the project costs.


Through close cooperation between institutions from Norway (Pedagogisk forskningsinstitutt and ARENA – Centre for European Studies from the University of Oslo and NIFUSTEP) and the region (University of Zagreb in Croatia, Faculty of Political Sciences of the University of Belgrade in Serbia and Centre for Education Policy in Serbia), the project will support the development of technical and human capacity to address these issues in a comprehensive and sustainable manner.
Although partners are from Croatia and Serbia, the project will cover the entire Western Balkan region, i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Research category

Applied research


Published Sep. 20, 2010 1:21 PM - Last modified Mar. 12, 2015 2:38 PM