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As in Grant Period 2, in Grant Period 3 we are offering development opportunities through training schools.

The third training school will take place in Saints Cyril and Methodius University of Skopje, Macedonia from 18th – 22nd March 2019.

We ReLaTe in Podogrica, Montenegro February 2019

Over the 21st and the 22nd February 2019 our Action held working group meetings, a Management Committee meeting and a Core Group meeting in Podgorica, Montenegro.  Our hosts there were colleagues from the University of Montengro which was founded in 1974; as such it is the oldest higher education institution in Montenegro and it has over 20,000 students.

As we readied ourselves in the Civil Engineering building to begin our Working Group activity on the 21st February we were delighted to be served priganice with cheese and honey.  These doughnut-type snacks are local fare and are traditionally served to welcome people.  They fulfilled that purpose excellently and following a contribution from Ms Milena Milonjic, the COST country representative for Montenegro, and from our local primary host, Prof Bilijana Scepanovic, we began.  Our work for this day was associated with Working Groups 4 and 5, ‘Seeking and identifying new knowledge’ and ‘Articulating new models’ respectively.  Between the groups we considered the questionnaire data that we recently gathered and looked to begin a synthesis of other data gathered to date; both of these activities were designed to help us to achieve our objectives as noted in the Action’s MoU.  The work continued after lunch.

Following the day’s work our colleague Bilijana gave us a wonderfully informative tour of the city which was made all the more pleasant by Spring weather. Many of our group met for dinner that evening in an Italian restaurant where we could continue our conversations, learn more about the city and country we were visiting, and bolster the strong connections that are evolving through the support and focus of the Action.

Day 2 began with the sixth Management Committee (MC) meeting followed by the Core Group meeting.  In the MC meeting we discussed the imminent training school which will take place in Macedonia, we heard from colleagues who have completed STSMs, and we anticipated next grant period’s work in terms of activity and the locations of our gatherings.  The MC meeting was followed by the second half of the Core Group meeting at which we refined some of the ideas proposed that morning in order to progress them.

Across the two days there was, as ever, a high degree of commitment to the work and good progress made.  In addition, we maintained the tone and approach that is central to our work and recorded as one of our capacity building objectives, to ‘model good practice in terms of international collaboration founded on robust ethics, sound values and respect for difference and diversity’.

We concluded the event expressing our sincere thanks to Bilijana and Stevo for the huge work that they put into our visit.

The next event in our Action is the training school in Macedonia.  That will be the last event for this grant period.  The next grant period begins on 1st May; this new grant period will bring additional training schools and other research opportunities.  Colleagues interested in keeping up to date with the Action should keep checking the website.

We ReLaTe members met in Hungary in October 2018

Over the 4th and the 5th of October 2018 our Action held working group meetings, a Management Committee meeting and a Core Group meeting in the beautiful Hungarian city of Pécs.  Our hosts there were colleagues from the University of Pécs which traces its origins to the first university in Hungary which was founded by King Louis the Great in 1367.  This architecturally rich city was European Capital of Culture  in 2010 and even the briefest of strolls around the city would not leave one in doubt as to why it achieved this designation.

Our work began on the 4th October in the stunning Art-Nouveau Hotel Palatinus.  During these working group meetings we furthered our discussions on addressing the outstanding work required to fulfil objectives 3,4, 5, 6 and 7 of our MoU.  This involved concentrating on questionnaire design and initial mapping of a case studies publication.  There was a high degree of commitment to the work and good progress made.

On the evening of the 4th our hosts had provided colleagues with the option of attending a concert given by the visiting Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra in the contemporary Kodaly Kozpont concert hall. The event entitled Polish Pomp featured Polish Dances, Symphony No. 2 in B flat major (Op. 19, No. 2) by Karol Szymanowski, and an utterly breath-taking performance of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor (Op. 11, No. 1).  This was an astounding display and an absolute joy to attend.

Our work on Friday revolved around our fifth MC meeting followed by the Core Group meeting.  In the MC meeting we learned about the training schools we have hosted and the STSMs we have supported.  We also considered where we are in the project and spent some time looking to the next two years of work.

We concluded the event expressing our sincere thanks to Istvan and Attila for the huge work that they put into our visit.

Short Term Scientific Missions Experiences

One of the popular COST Action networking tools is STSMs (Short Term Scientific Missions) which are exchange visits between researchers allowing them to work together on a particular research question related to the COST Action’s objectives.Over grant periods 1, 2 and 3 we have awarded 10 STSMs. The recipients of these awards have captured the STSM experience in their reflections here.

Full reports of the STSMs are available here

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From 10th – 14th of September ten colleagues, including early career researchers, took part in our Autumn Training School which was kindly hosted by our colleagues in the European University of Tirana, Albania. At the training school participants looked at research methods topics including:

  • focus groups and questionnaires as data gathering tools,
  • collaborative thematic analysis of data,
  • using thematic analysis to inform the design of an online quantitative questionnaire,
  • considering the broader use of qualitative and quantitative data gathering and exploring potential applications within one’s own research and/or institution.

The school was facilitated by Professor Jessie L. Moore (PhD), Elon University and Associate Professor Peter Musaeus (PhD), Aarhus University. We are very grateful to these colleagues for giving their time and sharing their expertise.

Details of our training schools and other networking activities can be found here

Our next event will be the working group meeting and management committee meeting in University of Pécs, Hungary , from 4th – 5th October 2018. We are delighted that some of our Near Neighbour Country (NNC) colleagues will join us at this event and thank our hosts for the preparations they are making for our visit.