Four universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina - International Burch University, University "Džemal Bijedić" in Mostar, University of Bihać, and University of East Sarajevo - signed today, February 15, 2023, at the premises of International Burch University, an agreement on student exchange within the project "Introducing Student Research Mobilities to BH Universities" (INSTREAM), funded by the European Union with approximately €180,000.
The Rector of International Burch University, Prof. Dr. Mersid Poturak, hosted the Rector of the University of Bihać, Prof. Dr. Fadil Islamović, the Vice-Rector for Finance of the University "Džemal Bijedić" in Mostar, Prof. Dr. Armina Huban, and the Vice-Rector for Science, Research, and Development at the University of East Sarajevo, Prof. Dr. Jelena Krunić, to sign the agreement.
Prof. Dr. Poturak emphasized the opportunities that this project offers. "The project aims to help young students and researchers to carry out research mobilities between these four universities and work on their graduate, master's, and doctoral theses. In this way, these four universities link their infrastructure capacities in terms of laboratories and equipment necessary for scientific research."
Prof. Dr. Poturak particularly thanked the European Commission and the Delegation of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina for recognizing the four universities, which have the capacity to implement such a project.
These four universities participate in the mentioned project as partners, together with the "1 December" Alba Julia University from Romania. The project's goal is to improve the higher education sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina through student scientific research exchange and thus enable universities to avoid duplicating their own research infrastructure and specialize in specific types of research.
INSTREAM will support over 60 students from all four universities participating in the exchange program with a monthly scholarship of approximately BAM 1,100 / €550, covering transportation costs, other living expenses, and consumables necessary for research for 180 months of mobility.
"The biggest advantage of this project is the consolidation of our capacities, both research, through laboratories, equipment, and machines, as well as additional capacities we rely on. With this project, we actually become four times stronger than we are now," said Prof. Dr. Islamović.
Furthermore, students will be supported in their scientific research through access to a unique but related research infrastructure that is not available at the student's home institution. Research infrastructure can be physical infrastructure, such as laboratories, or human resources, specific expertise or even unique research opportunities that are otherwise not available at the students' home institutions.
"It's difficult for all of us to have what we need for research in every field, and this way we enable students from our university to use the research capacities of the other three universities," emphasized Prof. Dr. Krunić.
The project is funded by the European Union through its Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance, as part of a broader program to support the higher education sector with three other projects in the areas of strengthening cooperation between universities in their actions towards government institutions, developing scientific research project proposals, and introducing career management skills into the wider university education offering.
According to Prof. Dr. Hubana, the four universities will collaborate to provide young researchers with an integrated range of capacities, including scientific, spatial, personnel, and all other infrastructure capacities.
After a meeting on topics related to inter-university cooperation, future project proposals, further collaboration on the implementation of three related projects, and specifically the next steps within the INSTREAM project, Prof. Dr. Poturak led the guests from the other three universities on a tour of the scientific research infrastructure of the International Burch University.
Keywords: INSTREAM, International Burch University, University "Džemal Bijedić" in Mostar, University of Bihać, University of East Sarajevo