On Monday, June 7, 2021, SCiDEV as WP1 leader and the University of Shkodra “Luigj Gurakuqi” organized a focus group discussion on the collaboration between research and other actors such as businesses, policy actors, civil society, and media. Participants from the University of Shkodra and their partners in the business sector and local government that joined the focus group confirmed that
Currently, cooperation between the institution and the society exists. There are some institutional agreements, but they are general and do not go into detail. The agreements are mainly used to facilitate the performance of professional internships, part of the curriculum of the first and second-level study programs. Collaborations often remain within the framework of personal acquaintances (not formalized in institutional arrangements). These are used for students to carry out professional internships, to do field studies by students or professors themselves, to fund scientific conferences or other activities, or even to be included in evaluation boards to evaluate students’ works or ideas. Some of the key challenges highlighted were:
Informal agreements do not give longevity to the agreement, they bind the company with the individual but not with the institution, which makes the agreement temporary and with short-term effect.
The connection to the media is seen only in the context of presenting a news item, but the University forgets that the media remains a business that is offering a service, for which it has to be paid.
Lack of payment of students for internships. This would create the possibility of mutual benefit in the case of internships, as often students in internships become a burden for the business.
Students have shortcomings in meeting labor market demands.
Municipalities and local units do not have an institutional framework for cooperation with institutions (including the University).
Businesses do not know or do not believe in the University’s research capacity, doing business or not doing market research, or paying elsewhere for a study at a much more expensive cost than at the University.
There are bureaucracies and difficulties in setting up a cooperation office (within the institution) to create its own agenda of activities and to be independent in managing its resources.