CCIS part of the Kickoff Meeting for Erasmus + Project USIA

The Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education Project “University to Society Innomediaries in Albania: Co-Production of knowledge and research that matters” / U-SIA kicked off on 23rd – 24th February 2021. In the plenary session, speakers highlighted the relevance of the university to society cooperation for the development of Albania and the European integration process.


Prof. Assoc. Dr. Xhindi, USIA Project Manager, on behalf of the Mediterranean University of Albania (MUA) and the project team, welcomed the participants and emphasized the importance of the project USIA for MUA and encouraged the partners for sustainable cooperation and successful implementation of the project.

Prof. Dr. Ardian Civici, Rector of MUA, underlined the importance of University-Business Cooperation to provide an array of benefits for higher education institutions (HEIs), students, business and society alike.

Mr. Nikolin Jaka, President of the Chambre of Commerce and Industry in Tirana, echoed the same message on the need for more cooperation between university and business, considering the high potential and relevance of research for the overall development of Albanian society and economy and the European integration process.

Mrs. Mirela Muça, Head of the National Agency for Scientific Research and Innovation (AKKSHI/NASRI), presented the funding opportunities for research to business links from public agencies, highlighting also the changes in the policy framework enabling such cooperation.

Dr. Blerjana Bino, Co-Founder of the Centre Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV) confirmed that the entire USIA consortium is strongly committed to enhancing an enabling higher education environment that supports university to society collaborations in order to co-produce knowledge and research with impact that is not only academically insightful but also applicable to the development of Albania and responding to our contextual challenges including COVID19 pandemic, digital transformation, and others.

USIA Project is launched based on a gap analysis conducted previously. What emerges is that universities in Albania are in perpetual transformation trying to re-envision their position in society. The European Commission Report for Albania and other independent reports point out that Albania’s capacity for research, development, and innovation remains low.

The recent legal and policy framework on the HE sector in Albania encourages a Triple Helix Model. This is a welcoming measure. However, achieving effective and productive university-business collaboration remains challenging due to limited availability of research funds & infrastructure; lack of incentives to engage in business cooperation; general distrust in the quality of research; limited capacity to absorb and introduce innovations, and other reasons.

Traditionally universities exist as institutions for the creation and dispersion of knowledge, but in our current world, universities must engage with their own socio-economic context. Triple helix offers a model for creating innovation as an output of institutionalized and structured interactions between university, government, and industry.

Building upon this, the project introduces in Albania a Quadruple Helix Model. In addition to the university, business, and government, this model includes civil society, media, and grassroots organizations to co-create knowledge, research, and innovation output.

Thus, this project proposes a model of co-creation of knowledge for finding solutions to current and future challenges in Albania. research uptake by policy and the business sector remains a challenge and we aim to address that.

As various European Commission documents highlight: “Quadruple Helix Model is the next challenge, where government, industry, academia and civil participants work together to co-create the future and drive structural changes far beyond the scope of what anyone organization or person could do alone”.

The final results of USIA shall be:

  • A strong network of universities, research centers, civil society organizations, businesses, and public policy institutions established to work on the foster effective and sustainable university to social collaboration in Albania
  • Knowledge transfer and innovation brokerage units established in partner universities in Albania with the support of EU partners
  • Foster also regional cooperation and exchange of experience between EU and non-EU countries.

The Kickoff meeting was organized online on Zoom Platform by (Mediterranean Center  – Mediterranean University of Albania (MUA) as a project leader with the participation of all project partners. During the two-day online event, consortium members had the opportunity to discuss and agree on relevant topics for the implementation of the project.

Full video of the plenary session.

Full Agenda.

CCIS intro USIA_ppt_template_kickoff

USIA_ppt_template_kickoff_WP7_CCIS (1)USIA_ppt_template_kickoff_WP7_CCIS (1)

Organization of the 2nd on-line meeting for CheeseCulT project, co-funded by “Interreg IPA II Greece-Albania Programme 2014-2020″

Center for Comparative and International Studies was part of The 2nd meeting of the project “CheeseCulT – Cheese route as an innovative cultural heritage driving force for rural tourism development in the cross-border area”, which is co-funded by the Interreg IPA II Greece-Albania Programme 2014-2020, through European Union and National Funds of Greece and Albania, was successfully implemented on Thursday 25th of February 2021.

The meeting was attended by all partners and, among others, Professor Ioannis Skoufos, Associate Professor Mr. Eleftherios Bonos and Ms. Evangelia Gouva from the Department of Agriculture – University of Ioannina that is also the project’s Lead Partner, Dr. Alexandra Mega from the Hellenic Agricultural Organization – Demeter: Director of the Dairy School of Ioannina, Ms. Aurora Lazaj representing the University “Eqrem Çabej” Gjirokastër, Ms. Ilda Mara from the organization ARGJIRO. The meeting focused on deliverables related to the diagnosis of needs between the CB Dairy Value Chains & Tourism potential, which will lead to the design/ mapping of a joint Cheese Route.

Specifically regarding the produced cheeses, the relevant specialized analyses made by the Department of Agriculture of the University of Ioannina in collaboration with the Dairy School of Ioannina were presented. The analyses show high quality and distinct categories of milk and cheese products of Epirus (kefalograviera and feta) from specific regions and breeds of sheep and goat, which positively contribute to human health, have special quality characteristics and at the same time, have a low environmental footprint, following the current consumer trends at European level. The relevant research will deepen even more on the local sheep and goat products that are produced in the cross-border area, so that they form the backbone of the new Cheese Route, which is the desired result of the project for the promotion of the cross-border areas.

For further developing the Cheese Route, a useful tool is the mapping through GIS based on  activities such as selection criteria procedure and development of a respective database, using regional data for the production of various thematic routes, which is currently in progress.

In addition to the above, partners discussed the development of other project deliverables (training seminars, Cheese Exhibitions Centres, an electronic version of a Joint Cheese Cookbook, a Cheese Agri-tourism network to include all interested tourist enterprises of the CB area and link them to the Cheese Route initiative), as well as, the needs caused by the global health crisis, which resulted in the postponement of certain activities for a later stage of Project implementation, compared to the original schedule.

It is noted that CheeseCulT is designed to capitalize the CB area’s agri-food focus on dairy production, and incorporate it to local sustainable tourism on a viable development plan for the regions involved.

For more information on the meeting, please visit the project website (www.

The Interreg IPA CBC Programme “Greece – Albania 2014 – 2020” supports the cooperation between the two countries. Under a common fund, the two countries join forces and capitalize on the advantages of the cross-border region to achieve benefits for both countries.



Youth involvement in a constructive dialogue: Communist Past in Contemporary Western Balkan (YOU-WB)

A project funded by Europe for Citizens Program

 Deadline: 28 February 2021

The Centre for Comparative and International Studies (CCIS), is implementing a project financed by Europe for Citizens Program – “Youth involvement in a constructive dialogue: Communist Past in Contemporary Western Balkan (YOU-WB)”

The project is implemented in partnership with Mediterranean Center; SCiDEV; Patrimoine sans Frontières: PERIPLI and CCM, targeting youth in 4 programs’ eligible countries Albania, France, Italy, North Macedonia.

The project aims to Foster national and transnational youth activist’s dialogue about the reflection of past communist regimes in contemporary Western Balkan (WB) and EU.

In this regard CCIS and project partners will organize the following activities:

Workshop 1. Rules, norms, rights, practices and customs during the communist regime: youth reflection.

Workshop 2. The effect of rapid social changes during post-communist transition and people’s  perceptions in Macedonia and Albania.

Workshop3. Political Culture in Italy from 1989 and on

Workshop 4. National Identities and Collective Memory in an Enlarged Europe

Tirana Conference: Post-Communism and Democracy in WB

Interested young people in Albania should fill in this application form in English and submit it till Feb 28, 2021.

Only the shortlisted candidates will be contacted.