East and South East Europe

Dialogue Conference


29-30.09.2021, online

The 13th East and SouthEast Europe Dialogue Conference (ESEE DC) was conducted online due to the remaining danger of COVID-19 by the Resources Innovation Center at Montanuniverstät Leoben. This time the focus was on Albania. The event entitled “Meet the Albanian Raw Materials Community” aspires to inform, stimulate and engage professionals of the raw materials ecosystem in a meaningful discussion about their perspective in EIT RawMaterials – the largest innovation community in the raw materials sector, worldwide. The ESEE DC, which is dedicated to the mining industry of Albania, new technologies and innovations in this sector took place on 30.09.2021. During the conference different speakers from the Albanian industry, Albanian public authorities, the Polytechnical University of Tirana and from Montanuniverstät Leoben discussed a broad advantages and opportunities of the EIT RawMaterials community and how Albania could benefit from it. The Albanian colleagues guided the participants through the mining activities of the region and familiarized the international audience with the mineral potential of the Balkan country.
The main event was preceded by an introductory entrepreneurship workshop “Pre- Jumpstarter” on 29.09.2021, which served as an entry point into the EIT RawMaterials start-up funding possibilities. The Pre-Jumpstarter prepared its participants to apply to the EIT Jumpstarter. The EIT Jumpstarter is the first funding step for innovative start-ups. Experts from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands shared their experience and provided some valuable insights on how to implement ideas, run a business and showed the most important aspects of entrepreneurial activity.


03-04.11.2020, online

The 12th ESEE Dialogue Conference was moved to the virtual space due to the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2018 European Committee of Regions report “Addressing brain drain: The local and regional dimension” brain drain is defined as: “…the brain drain phenomenon refers to a region’s permanent loss of skilled workers or students. Local and regional authorities in these regions have to cope directly with the socio-economic effects caused by the significant loss of talent.” With this conference the EIT RawMaterials Regional Center Leoben opened the discussion on brain drain in the ESEE region within the raw material sector (Day 1) as well as in other sectors (Day 2). The Dialogue Conferences are an ideal tool for this as they have proven to be a valuable first step in starting discussions and creating new cooperation among industry, academia and research in East and South East Europe. With this conference EIT RC Leoben channelled its efforts to the discussion the effects on brain drain on the levels of education, industry & policy, and our means within the EIT and its KICs. Knowing that brain drain is neither sector- nor country-specific, the Center has opened the conference to participants from all countries and sectors. Especially concerning brain drain an inclusive and overarching discussion is relevant and important.

I. Dialogue: Brain Drain and Education

II. Dialogue: Brain Drain in Industry and Policy

III. Dialogue: The EIT Regional Innovation Scheme and Brain Drain

IV. Dialogue: Across the borders – Actions Tackling Brain Drain


03-04.10.2019, Zagreb     Pictures

The 11th ESEE Dialogue Conference with more than 100 registered participants took place from 3-4 October in Zagreb, Croatia.

This year, Leoben’s RIC team organized the conference in conjunction with EIT Raw Materials’ ESEE Education Conference. The main topic “Sustainable Resource Use – Tailings / Wastes / Slags” reflected the great potential within the ESEE region for secondary raw materials. This term is used for raw materials, extracted from previously disposed spoil heaps, tailings and slag from mining and metallurgical processes. Many successful projects are focussing on these resources in the ESEE region. A common theme of the projects presented during the conference was the strength of the EIT RawMaterials community to create strong teams combining business, academia and entrepreneurs. Presentations covered topics such as the creation of geopolymers out of tailings and fly ash, and the recovery of metals and rare earth elements out of slag and mine tailings. In a project idea competition, creative minds were invited to present ideas covering the secondary raw materials potential of the ESEE region. The idea to produce iron out of red mud won the first prize, a 3000 Euro donation and the support of EIT RawMaterials to obtain funding.


27-29.03.2019, Leoben     Pictures

The 10th ESEE Dialogue Conference with more than 100 registered participants was held from 27th till 29th of March in Leoben, Austria. The conference brought together relevant stakeholders from the mining, mineral processing and metallurgy field to discuss the past and future development of the ESEE region. The first day was of strategic importance with the following speakers: Milan Grohol from the European Commission, Robert Holnsteiner from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism (BMNT), the rector and vice rector of Montanuniversitaet Leoben, Krzysztof Kubacki from EIT RawMaterials (CLC East) and many more. The day ended with a tour to a famous Austrian company in the beverage industry.

Arnulf Grübler from the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA) opened the second day with his keynote on “Technological & Societal Changes and their Impacts on Resource Use”. After that the ESEE Connect – anopen science and business fair started where the participants were able to meet all relevant stakeholders from the EIT RawMaterials Consortium. This was highly appreciated by all participants as it was a great possibility to discuss the past and future development of the ESEE region. Furthermore projects from the consortium with impact to the ESEE region and strategic topics like “EIT RawMaterials HUB Regional Center Adria” by Sibila Borojević Šoštarić where presented in separate rooms during the ESEE Connect. The conference was rounded off with a field trip to Zentrum am Berg, which is an underground research and training facility of Montanuniversitaet Leoben.

Download Presentations, MiniTalks, Workshops;


06.11.2018, Podgorica; Hotel Verde Complex     Pictures

In the 9th edition of the ESEE Dialogue Conference organized by EIT RawMaterials and Montan University Leoben Regional Center in Austria and Regional Hub Adria, 58 participants from research, education and industry gathered at the Verde Complex in Podgorica to discuss the Raw Materials sector of Europe and Montenegro and connected issues. The EIT RawMaterials is a 125-partner pan-European network of raw materials stakeholders of industry, education and research that through its activities tries to tackle the raw materials challenges of Europe and turn raw materials into a major strength for Europe.

The conference started with a warm welcome of the vice-rector of Montan University Leoben, Peter Moser, who pointed out that the aim of the conference is to establish a dialogue about raw materials across Europe. Of the seven speakers that led through the morning session, Biljana Jestrović, General Director of the Directorate of Mining and Geological Explorations, opened the conference with a general statement on the framework and current set-up of the raw materials sector in Montenegro, stressing the overall societal importance of the sector and the need for European collaborations. This was followed by an elaboration of Slobodan Radusinović, Deputy Director of Geological survey of Montenegro, on the general raw materials potential of the country and connected challenges of the sector. Krzyzstof Kubacki and Antonis Politis of the EIT Raw Materials introduced the local community to the structures of and opportunities of participation in the EIT RawMaterials network. The take away message for the audience was: “the EIT RawMaterials wants to make raw materials a major strength in Europe and does so by offering lots of opportunities so get involved!”

The last two presentations before the working lunch focused on best practice examples of the Regional Center Leoben at Montan University in Austria that was one of the founding members of the EIT RawMaterials network as well as the Regional Hub Adria. Both hubs are focusing on local outreach activities in the ESEE Region. In the afternoon participants were able to participate in two different workshops depending on their expertise. One workshop focused on the already ongoing project RESEERVE, in which the Geological survey of Montenegro is a partner. This project revolves around conducting an inventory of the primary and secondary raw materials in the Western Balkans. The second workshop focused on education in the raw materials sector and students form a local school participated to spark their passion. It included a quiz about raw materials as well as experiments involving specific high-tech materials just like in the EIT RawMaterials project RM@Schools.  

The aim of the conference is to connect the EIT RawMaterials network with the region of East and Southeast Europe (ESEE) to discover joint pathways for leveraging raw materials related projects and sector development. Raw materials are the basis of today’s society and important for the entire world and future societal development, however, in Europe specifically, raw materials supply needs to be secured for a strong future economy. Such a future economy is undoubtedly connected to sustainable development, meaning clean and environmentally friendly energy, mobility and all other societal necessities. To realize this, new technologies are needed for which in turn many different raw materials are needed. Whether or not companies will develop their technologies inside Europe strongly depends on raw materials supply security and existing value chains. In this way, we need to develop our own sector to not fall into supply dependencies and thus short of development. The ESEE region is an important region as there is huge raw materials potential. Raw Materials have huge potential to leverage economic development in the region and in this way strengthen it but at the same time strengthen the European raw materials base and economy. Frameworks that enable successful development of the raw materials sector need to be established. These are, amongst others, adaption of policy frameworks that enable legal security and transparent permitting as well as decision making for investors. Others are the provision of educational frameworks that secure future graduates with the necessary skills as the backbone of the sector, the focus on resource efficient approaches along the value life cycle of materials as well as secure and affordable energy.

The conference was rounded off by a report from workshop participants and a reminder that the Regional Centers Leoben and Adria are prime contact points for everybody who is interested in getting involved, also people outside the conference.


26.06.2018, Tuzla; Hotel Tehnograd      Pictures

The 8th ESEE Dialogue Conference in Tuzla (Bosnia and Herzegovina) took place on the 26th June 2018. It was a successful day packed with information on the EIT RawMaterials and reflection on how the world’s largest partnership on raw materials can be relevant for research and development in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The participants gained valuable insight into the activities of EIT RawMaterials and were presented with a great atmosphere for networking. Thus the agenda of the KAVA project presentations and informational talks was balanced by a working lunch and networking cocktail. During the working lunch participants were asked to stick colour codes according to their interest to their name tags to facilitate networking. Many stakeholders from industry, research and education were engaged and used the opportunity to establish valuable contacts. On the subsequent day, the RC Leoben and some of the conference’s participants went to two interesting site visits near Tuzla: The fly ash deposits Šljačište and the abandoned asbestos deposit PK Delić Brdo – Petrovo. The geologist Toni Nikolic was as kind as to guide the site visits and to provide the participants with insightful information on resources in Bosnia and Herzegovina. At each site an official from the respective company talked to the participants and ideas for cooperation where discussed.


16.11.2017, Belgrad; Hotel 88 Rooms      Pictures


14.11.2017, Skopje; Hotel Continental     Pictures


28.-30.11.2016, Budapest; Hotel Mercure     Pictures


15.-16.06.2016, Zagreb; University of Zagreb     Pictures


12.-13.10.2015, Leoben; MUL – Hauptgebäude


05.05.2015, Linz; voestalpine stahlwelten


18.-19.11.2014, Leoben; Montanuniversitaet Leoben