Science, technology and innovation in Albania are evaluated as fundamental for a knowledge based society through all phases of the economic development. Investment in the creation, diffusion and application of knowledge is done to the effect of meeting the long term development objectives.
The research system includes the higher education institutions, scientific research, development of knowledge and technology (innovation), as well as private undertakings operating in the field of research, development and innovation.
The launched higher education reforms aim at integrating these systems into one by encompassing:
- Higher Education Institutions (public and private),
- Research centres/agencies under the authority of the line ministries,
- Research, Technology, Development and Innovation Units within the ministries,
- Military research centres/institutes and,
- Institutes/centres/foundations/public and private units of Research and Development in industry.
The basic research priorities are based on the priorities of the sector strategy of the development of economy and are determined by the Parliamentary Committee for Education and Public Information Media.
The financing of the scientific research is supported, monitored, and evaluated by the Research, Technology and Innovation Agency (AKTI).
The financing by AKTI is based on competition, on contemporary EU standards, for priority programs of research in various fields of science, depending on the country’s strategic development. A considerable impact on the scientific products has been exercised by the compliance of the research activity with the EU directives and European initiatives.
The National Strategy, 2009 – 2015, of Science, Technology and Innovation emphasized that the vision and priorities are translated into concrete objectives and timing by ensuring a systematic monitoring and assisting the program progress. The low percentage of KZH in the higher education sector is mainly the outcome of the insufficient financing and human capital being available to date.
This strategy provides an increase in the budget for Research and Development by reaching the level of 0.6% of GDP. The current support of the World Bank is for the teaching and research laboratories under the loan structure for the Higher Education. This support amounts to 6 million Euro for 2007 – 2010.
THE REFORMS AND THEIR FOCUS
The deep reform of the scientific research system launched by the Albanian Government in 2006 was the integration of the higher education system and scientific research into one, in 2007. The reorganisation of the Academy of Sciences according to the European model functions through a selected community of scientists organised in sections. The research institutes of the Academy of Sciences, as well as some other institutions under the line ministries, are integrated into the higher education system. The research institutes of the line ministries were reorganised into Centres of the Transfer of Technologies.
“The Brain Gain” program supports the return to Albania of master e and PhD graduates from abroad, while “The Excellency Fund” programs support the best researchers to study in world best universities. A large number of PhD students, coming from these programs, are appointed in public and private universities.
THE RESEARCHERS AND THEIR QUALIFICATION
The recruitment of the teaching and scientific personnel at the higher education and research institutions is based on open competition. The Senates and Administration Councils at the universities determine the number of job openings at the faculties and departments, which are subsequently approved by the Ministry of Education and Science.
The minimal qualification levels according to the teaching and research categories for every respective position are determined by legal and bylaw acts – Law on Higher Education in the Republic of Albania. The Regulations of the universities and research centres determine the full criteria of employment for every position as well as the recruitment procedures.
The Higher Education Law determines the minimal criteria for every position (Professor, Docent, University Reader, Doctor) which tend to encourage the fast promotion of the young people, specifically those with experience in research or teaching at foreign universities/foreign research centres, as well as enhancing the level of scientific research published in foreign scientific magazines. The promotion for the “Doctor” degree and “Associated Professor” title are entirely done at universities. The promotion for the title “Professor” is done in cooperation with the National Commission of the Evaluation of Titles and Ranks, at the Ministry of Education and Science.