Spanning Boundaries Agents Testimonials: Blerjana Bino

A series of “Spanning Boundaries” Agents’ testimonials of Albanian professionals who, with the support of EU for Innovation, attended the 2nd cohort of SB Training Programme.


Dr. Blerjana Bino’s Profile

Dr. Blerjana Bino is a researcher in social sciences, with a particular focus on media and democracy, civil society, and participation considering European integration process. She has a PhD in Communication Sciences and a Master of Science from the London School of Economics and Political Science – LSE.

She is a former Swedish Institute Fellow at the Department of Media and Informatics, Uppsala University and the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Centre Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV), working closely with academia, civil society, policy, and media. Leading a network of outstanding scholars and policy researchers working on democratic development, good governance, media and communication, research to society collaborations and digital transformation. She is a research member of the Safe Journalists Network in the Western Balkans and co-founder of the Network of Albanian Women in STEM.


What is your role as a Spanning Boundaries Agent in your institution?

I am one of the co-Founders and current Executive Director of the Centre Science and Innovation for Development (SCIDEV). One of the fundamental features of SCiDEV, is its work in the intersection between academia and other actors in society. I am working closely with the SCIDEV Board, co-founders, network of collaborators and staff to strengthen SCiDEV’s profile as an intermediary between academia and other actors in society, especially civil society, policy, and media.

3 words that describe your job:
What was your motivation to join and what expectations did you have from the Spanning Boundaries Training?

My entire professional career is set in the intersection between university, civil society and policy and I have always believed that only through a collaborative approach, we can face challenges. My current personal and professional investment in the establishment and consolidation of SCIDEV, as a reputable think-tank in Albania and in the Western Balkans, requires even closer collaboration with academia. Currently SCiDEV works with academia, civil society, private and public institutions, in strengthening innovation and scientific research, advocating, and supporting the use of evidence for policy development, and undertaking capacity building activities to strengthen Quadruple Helix Model in Albania. I applied for the Spanning Boundaries Training, because I was looking for an opportunity to further strengthen my competences as a Spanning Boundaries agent, and develop SCiDEV’s profile in the intersection between university and other social actors.

What are some incentives/ success factors for a fruitful cooperation between academia and industry, in your opinion?

Each collaboration should be based on a sound assessment of the needs and expectations on each side, and with clear objectives of what’s to be achieved. It is important to build trust and have outcomes with an added value for both academia and industry. Brain circulation across sectors through exchange, mobility, second a research and other mechanisms are also beneficial to strengthening the cooperation. Sharing and promoting successful models can help expand the collaboration further and reach other stakeholders.

Any recommendations you might be willing to share on how to bridge the gap between academia and industry/ businesses in Albania?

As part of the Erasmus+ USIA Project, SCiDEV has conducted a detailed mapping of the current collaborations between university and society in Albania. We have proposed detailed recommendations on how to bridge the gap between academia and business. The full report can be accessed here. For instance, for universities, we suggest that it is recommended to establish or strengthen dedicated units, to coordinate collaboration and knowledge transfer, as well as databases of information that are open to third parties. For businesses we recommend being more proactive in initiating the dialogue and invest in R&D in collaboration with universities.

Would you suggest that programmes such as “Spanning Boundaries” continue to be introduced to the Albanian actors; both in Academia and Industry?

I strongly suggest that Spanning Boundaries continues to be implemented in Albania. It would be good to have more representatives from the business sector from Albania in the programme. Also other similar programmes are strongly recommended.

Any further comment on SB programme and/ or ‘EU for Innovation’?

The SB programme through the mentoring and workshops helped me and my organization re-focus our work in terms of strengthening Quadruple Helix with a focus on impact of digitalization on human rights.

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