Performing and Responsive Social Sciences

PERFORM – Performing and Responsive Social Sciences - focuses on strengthening the relevance of social sciences for political and social reforms by addressing the national research systems in Albania and Serbia. By taking a systemic approach, focusing its interventions on sustainable system changes, the project constitutes a facilitator that stands outside of the system and catalyses changes within.

CONTEXT

The link between social science research and policy making, including a meaningful public debate, is weak in Western Balkan countries. The potentials of social science and research remain under-used in their contributions to quality, evidence-informed policy making and public debate. Although various thematic research projects and networks of high quality have emerged over the past years, they still require stronger linkages with and impact on policy making. 
Social science research (SSR) plays a paramount role in the critical exploration and analysis of problems related to reforms. Social sciences are able to draw attention to alternative policy options, reinforce the necessity of political reforms and nurture public debate. They can contribute to building a more open and democratic society.
 

THE PROJECT

PERFORM focuses on strengthening the relevance of social sciences for political and social reforms. The Project addresses national research systems in Albania and Serbia with a possibility of extending to other countries in the Western Balkans in the future.

 

The Goal

A strong, confident and publicly positioned social science research community meaningfully contributes to socio-economic and political reform processes
The overall goal can be achieved through the following three components (outcomes):
1. Strengthened social science community
This component will aim to improve horizontal structures and cooperation within the social science community as well as to enhance capacities of research.
2. Systemic linkages to political reform processes, civil society organizations, private sector and media
Component 2 will focus on facilitating the development of mechanisms and systems for the collaboration between social science and other domains of society.
3. Favourable framework conditions and financial mechanisms
PERFORM will work with the respective government institutions to facilitate and contribute to improved conditions in the overall framework for social science and research. Successful system changes under component 1 and 2 will also result in the creation of favourable framework conditions and financial mechanisms.

MAIN PARTNERS

Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Albania, Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia, other line ministries and relevant government institutions of the Republic of Albania and Republic of Serbia, social science research institutes, universities and their faculties  and civil society organisations in both countries.
 

SYSTEMIC APPROACH

PERFORM is taking a systemic approach, focusing its interventions on sustainable system changes in the areas described by the three components.
The choice of a systemic approach has significant implications on the role of the project and its relationship with partners and stakeholders in the social science research system, and government. PERFORM encourages and supports actors within the SSRS and government to take initiatives for systemic change. The project constitutes a neutral facilitator that stands outside of the system and catalyses changes within.
 

EXAMPLES OF INTERVENTIONS

Facilitating a process with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development in Serbia to change modalities for research fund applications, which will lead to more relevance, accountability and quality of social sciences
Facilitating linkages between Ministry of Urban Development in Tirana with social science research groups for supporting the development and application of concepts for better integration of marginalised communities in Tirana
Support to establish capacity building measures in Universities for young social scientists in fields such as research design, research methodologies and writing publications.
 

Phase I

January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2018

Budget

4,998,310.00 CHF

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