How POLICY ANSWERS is Planning to Award Youth Innitiatives

POLICY ANSWERS is planning a set of dedicated, carefully selected activities in order to support change and increase impact on the ground in the Western Balkans (WB). These will foster participation in Horizon Europe and other EU programmes, promote the WB Agenda on Innovation, Research Culture, Youth and Sport and the development of institutional reforms at funding or implementing organisations.

The project aims at involving youth at different stages and processes. Pilot activities that will target youth will among others include researchers´ mobility and an innovation academy. A specific pilot activity will exclusively be targeted towards youth: a regional campaign focusing on youth, that shall be launched in the course of the project. The regional promotion campaign will address students and youth at various educational levels and to encourage careers in research, innovation and creative industries. The campaign will select and showcase STEM, entrepreneurship and creative endeavours of Western Balkan youth. The regional promotion campaign for youth is envisaged to further increase the visibility of existing success stories of the Western Balkan youth at regional and European level.

Specialised and transferable skills are increasingly demanded in nowadays fast-changing global economy. Education systems are struggling to keep up with the pace. The future is demanding education systems that provide more meaningful learning outcomes, broader skills, values and experiences to help youth and children developing a growth mindset and enhance their capabilities for innovation, collaboration, employability and citizenship. It becomes more pertinent than ever, that young people need to be at the forefront of development and decision processes designed to improve their lives, providing access to trusted resources and information in a world of mass connectivity. The regional promotion campaign for youth aims at amplifying students’ and educators’ efforts to acquire the skills needed in the future.

Feeding into the EU New Innovation Agenda´s goals and complementing its flagships, such as the „Fostering, attracting and retaining talents“, this pilot will increase the visibility of youth opportunities, share success stories, provide a networking platform for WB youth but also showcase the human potential of the WB to the EU Member States.

Stakeholder consultation on the design of the youth promotional campaign will be crucial in the designing process to target the final beneficiaries, who are young people and educators by means and tools most appropriate to trigger their participation. The stakeholder consultation will include, but not be limited to, the end beneficiaries such as educators and students and relevant national institutions from all WB economies. During the design process, international/regional organisations/agencies, as well as institutions from the EU Member States and WB experienced in designing and implementing similar support measures will be invited to contribute with their relevant expertise. The pilot aims at close cooperation and complementarity with ERISEEETFJunior Achievement EuropeMarie Skłodowska-Curie ActionsErasmus+ etc. Relevant regional actors and others can further contribute in dissemination of information at regional level and will be invited to participate at the stakeholder consultation.

As part of this campaign POLICY ANSWERS is planning to award a number of prizes to successful youth programmes and projects in the region, giving incentives for active participation of youth from all WB. The announcement of the Calls including Application Guidelines will take place in an open and transparent process. Successful examples will be promoted on regional level. It is expected that the campaign will encourage the integration of youth into research and STEM careers.

The final “Report on regional youth promotion campaign” will provide a result-based analysis of the lessons learned and policy recommendations. The report will be disseminated to policy makers and implementing agencies to assist them in future policy design and implementation. This pilot will increase the visibility of youth opportunities, share success stories, provide a networking platform for the WB youth.

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