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About the FREE Network

The FREE Network is a joint policy research initiative formed by leading economic think tanks in Eastern Europe and Central Europe.

The Forum for Research on Eastern Europe and Emerging Economies (FREE Network) is a joint initiative by SITE (Stockholm), BEROC (Minsk), BICEPS (Riga), CEFIR at NES (Moscow), CenEA (Szczecin), ISET-PI (Tbilisi) and KSE (Kiev). Together, these research institutes form an extensive network of leading academic experts on economic issues in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The institutes also conduct research about development, emerging markets, as well as economics in general. By publishing the weekly FREE Policy Brief Series, these institutes provide short and informative analyses on current economic policy challenges in Eastern Europe and emerging markets. The writings are based on academic research papers or policy work. The ambition of the FREE network is to bridge the gap between ongoing academic research and policy making, to stimulate and contribute to the international debate as well as to intensify the interaction and discussion with other researchers, policy-makers, and business representatives across the world.

In 2019 the FREE Network, with the support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) initiated the Forum for Research on Gender Economics (FROGEE). The aim of FROGEE is to contribute to the discussion on gender inequality, with a specific focus on the region of Central and Eastern Europe. By highlighting different dimensions of gender inequality and its consequences for socio-economic development, FROGEE aims at bringing the issue of gender equality to the focus of both general public and policy makers. These objectives are addressed through publication of reviews and policy briefs, organization of conferences, seminars, and workshops, as well as further development of research collaboration on gender economics with other institutions.

In 2021 the FREE Network initiated the Forum for Research on Media and Democracy in Eastern Europe (FROMDEE). The long-run goal of FROMDEE is to help strengthen media and democracy in the region and bring together researchers with experience doing empirical work on these topics while facilitating the exchange of data and contextual knowledge across the FREE network, as well as building capacity to work on the frontier of social and data science.

In 2021 the FREE Network initiated the Forum for Research on Eastern Europe: Climate and Environment (FREECE). The long-run goal of FREECE is to provide guidance for policymakers in the region on how to promote economic development that is environmentally sustainable.