Project Acronym: CINEFOGO
Title of Project: Civil Society and New Forms of Governance in Europe - the Making of European Citizenship
Coordinator and institution: University of Roskilde (Denmark)
Funded under: FP6-Prioriy 7 Citizens
CINEFOGO is a research, learning and dialogue network of Excellence that seeks to promote citizens' involvement and social participation in policymaking; understand the impact of different forms of citizenship and civic participation; and identify factors that help co-existence of multiple identities. More than 35 institutions and 150 researchers in Europe are part of CINEFOGO which is coordinated by University of Roskilde, Denmark. CINEFOGO Network is supported by FP6-Priority 7.
CINFOGO aims to provide knowledge about civil society, citizenship and social protection, nourish a public debate on governance and strengthen intellectual cooperation.
The fields of interest for CINEFOGO are:
During the first 6 months of CINEFOGO project, 3 events were organised.
The first was the regular meeting of the Network Council, which took place in Vienna on 22-23 May 2006. Its purpose was to evaluate the first 6 months of CINEFOGO network and to discuss a first draft for the detailed programme of activities for the next 18 months of the programme. During the reference period CINEFOGO developed a number of activities on three main thematic areas:
Progress on these areas was commonly judged to be quite satisfactory by the members of the network council. A detailed schedule of activities for the second semester of CINEFOGO has also been discussed and agreed by the council.
The second event was a working meeting in which members of CINEFOGO examined the ways and means for the better possible Spread of Excellence (Vienna, 24-25 May 2006). The meeting was open to media representatives and members of civil society. The Spread of Excellence team gathered many ideas on how dissemination of Excellence could reach target groups such as academia, students, the media and policymakers.
The third event was the PhD network meeting on Civil Society and the Third Sector (Vienna, 25-28 May 2006). The meeting was attended by 35 PhD students and 10 senior scholars who discussed a lot of dissertation topics of the project in small groups and plenary sessions. All three meetings were hosted by the Wirtschaftuniversit?t in Vienna (Austria).
An updated calendar with future CINEFOGO activities is available online at www.cinefogo.org, as well as detailed newsletters on past events and various texts of the project.
Project Acronym: CRIME AND CULTURE
Title of Project: Crime as a Cultural Problem. The Relevance of Perceptions of Corruption to Crime Prevention: A comparative cultural study in the EU-Accession States Bulgaria and Romania, the EU-Candidate States, Turkey and Croatia and the EU-States Germany, Greece and United Kingdom
The official meeting marking the beginning of CRIME AND CULTURE, a three-year EU funded project which brings together partners from seven European countries, was held on 2-3 February 2006 in Sofia. By addressing a fundamental aspect of FP6, 'Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge-Based Society', the consortium's main objective is to develop means to optimise the prevention of corruption in Europe. Corruption is a universal problem. Within the EU, and especially with reference to the europeanization of South-Eastern Candidate Countries, it is considered to be a severe threat which may lead to hindrance of European integration and enlargement procedures and, in an extreme situation, be a menace to social order. EU policymakers have already acknowledged the multifaceted problem of corruption and have therefore put in place policies aimed at preventing this phenomenon. So far, these strategies have consisted of administrative, legislative and law enforcement measures based on a definition of prevention of corruption developed by political institutions. In other words, these policies rely on a 'top-down' procedure.
Against this background, the CRIME AND CULTURE project adopts an original 'bottom-up' approach to the problem of corruption. The consortium does not seek to conduct a detailed inquiry into the concept of corruption, but rather to understand its perception on behalf of various stakeholders within national boundaries. Based on the conviction that varying perceptions of corruption have significantly different influences on a country's awareness of the problem, the project aims at identifying the fit between institutionalised prevention policies and how these policies are perceived by a wide range of subjects, ranging from policymakers and institutions to the average European citizen. Particular attention is given to the role of the media, as it is known to have a considerable influence on the social patterns of corruption recognition and perception.
By conducting a comparative study between the EU Accession Countries (Bulgaria and Romania), the EU Candidate Countries (Turkey and Croatia) and three EU Member States (Germany, Greece and the UK), CRIME AND CULTURE aims at producing novel information on corruption and perception thereof. The 2006 workshops of Lisbon, Istanbul and Spetses, which focused on reconstructing the cultural patterns that underlie the perception of corruption among institutional actors, media and other target groups, have already produced the first important findings. Based on these results, the project will enter a new phase, in which bottom-up strategies for the prevention of corruption will be developed. CRIME AND CULTURE will ultimately produce data which will encourage a revision of the existing anticorruption systems, enable the design of new prevention policies, and, more generally, contribute to combating corruption in Europe.
Project Acronym: LLL 2010
Title of Project: Towards a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: The contribution of the educational system
In March 2000, the European Council adopted the so-called Lisbon Strategy, a comprehensive and coordinated policy aimed at making Europe the "most dynamic and competitive knowledge based economy" by 2010. To achieve this ambitious goal, the EU policymakers agreed to carry out a radical transformation of the European economy as well as a modernisation plan of Europe's education and social welfare systems. Within this framework, a policy aimed at increasing the participation rate of adults in lifelong learning was developed.
As part of the European Commission's 6th Framework Research Program, the project 'Toward a Lifelong Learning Society in Europe: The Contribution of the Educational System' (LLL 2010) aims at collecting and analysing information on the patterns of lifelong learning across Europe. More specifically, the five-year project seeks at assessing the effect of relevant institutions and educational policies on the participation of adults in, and their access to, lifelong learning. The project focuses on questions like: 'Are there differences in terms of lifelong learning between EU countries and, if so, do these depend on country-specific institutions?' and 'What are the barriers to lifelong learning and how can these be overcome?'
The end of 2006 marks the conclusion of the first of five LLL 2010 subprojects, 'Review of Literature and Policy Documents', which commenced in September 2005. The focal objective of this subproject consisted of a critical assessment of the notion of lifelong learning and the conceptualisation of the various notions related to it: learning citizens, learning cities/regions and learning organisations. Moreover, this first part of the project aimed at examining to which extent different models of lifelong learning apply in national and European contexts; at developing a typology of policy measures focusing on lifelong learning policy; and at mapping the range of initiatives to encourage the participation of socially excluded groups.
So far, the main results indicate a clear trend across Europe to promote lifelong learning as a key means of addressing extensive economic and social changes and of focusing on labour market issues. Despite this general tendency and notwithstanding the consensus about lifelong learning's importance and desirability, this concept is perceived in different, and sometimes contradictory, ways. For example, the research team found that some countries, with no clear distinction between 'old' and new EU Member States, focus on the human capital aspect of lifelong learning, while others stress its social and personal development aspect. Other dissimilarities regard the approach to the problem of social exclusion through the creation of better learning opportunities for disadvantaged and marginalised groups. Translated into recommendations, the research team concluded that the diversity of national context implies that a single model of lifelong learning is not likely to be achieved and that EU common guidelines will be strongly influenced by institutional, social and ideological elements.
Further subprojects will focus on adult learners' perspective of formal provision for lifelong learning. Thanks to the development of an agenda for a better understanding of the tensions between the knowledge-based society, lifelong learning and social inclusion in the context of EU enlargement, LLL 2010 is expected to have a major impact on the competitiveness and cohesion of the EU.
Project acronym: PLATON
Title of project: EU Innovative SMEs Online Database
Co-ordination: Q-PLAN North Greece Ltd, Thessaloniki, Greece
Funded under: FP6-Prioriy 7 Citizens
PLATON is a European research project which aims to support EU SME Groupings and interested EU SMEs to respond better and proactively to their changing global macro-environment. European Union SMEs can benefit from PLATON operation by taking advantage of prominent European research results as well as through their participation in research projects in the areas of economic, political, social sciences and humanities under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities theme of FP7 (FP7-SSH).
PLATON addresses SME Groupings (associations, chambers, networks or clusters of SMEs), highly innovative SMEs and socio-economic research organisations. All these social actors can join PLATON network, submit the required collaboration profile or use any of the project's free services.
PLATON offers services for both researcher and economic actors. Emphasis is being placed on connecting science and economy in various events and activities in order to identify common research issues and provide information/support for project submission and utilisation of project results.
PLATON addresses the needs of SMEs / SMEs Groupings and researchers from all EU-27 States but its diversified activities primarily take place in 6 countries: Greece, Italy, Germany, Poland, UK and Estonia. Duration of the PLATON project is October 2005-December 2007 and coordinator of the project is Q-PLAN North Greece Ltd, Thessaloniki, Greece.
To achieve its targets, PLATON offers a wide range of free services, addressing the needs of SMEs / SMEs Groupings and researchers from all Europe and beyond.
More specifically, PLATON offers SMEs & SME Groupings the opportunity to:
Proper utilization of PLATON services generates important benefits for SMEs such as the opportunity to:
Additionally, PLATON offers Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) researchers the chance to:
Recently, PLATON successfully completed its first year of activities. An online partner search web-tool is now available on the PLATON website. This is quite a useful instrument that aims to facilitate consortium building under FP7-SSH. More than 250 'Collaboration Profiles' are already available in PLATON web-database and more than 400 organisations have been registered to benefit from the project's activities and services. As a result, all interested organisations may search for potential partners for proposal submission. Interested parties can also benefit from selected and processed proposal ideas in the SSH field.
Project acronym: TRANSITIONS
Title of project: Gender, Parenthood and the Changing European Workplace: Young adults negotiating the work-family boundary
In the present context of workplace and family uncertainty, falling birth rates and an overall reduction of welfare in many European countries, there is an increasing need to know how parents make decisions on motherhood and fatherhood and, more specifically, how they negotiate their family-work boundaries.
The TRANSITIONS project addressed the relation between 'Gender, Parenthood and the Changing European Workplace'. As part of the Fifth Framework Programme, this cross-national project aimed at understanding how young European women and men deal with parenthood within the context of different national welfare regimes, family and employer support. This EU funded project, which focused on adults aged 18-30 from seven European countries, took place from January 2003 to December 2005. Its main objective was to analyse the ongoing conflict between globalisation and intensification of work loads and the parents' need to be able to care for their children.
The main findings of the study reveal that parents across Europe are facing growing demands both at home and the workplace. More explicitly, a young person's decision regarding parenthood is heavily influenced by macro social factors, such as ethnicity, socio-economic status, education, availability of house care as well as workplace practices and conditions.
The research carried out in private and public sector workplaces found that companies and governments have already started to adopt, to various degrees, family friendly policies aimed at maintaining a 'work-life balance'. These policies include, for example, flexible working hours, childcare arrangement, part-time opportunities, work outsourcing as well as parental leave rights. In practice, however, a large part of these efforts are destabilised by conflicting working cultures and practices associated with the increase of workloads related to new forms of competition in the global economy or restructuring and reorganisation of companies. In addition, a perceived absence of job security also leads many parents to renounce pro-family policies.
TRANSITIONS also addressed a controversial topic in contemporary Europe, namely the relation between gender and parenthood. The research not only confirmed that, even in the most equalitarian countries, gender is still an important feature which shapes family-work decisions, but also found that the workplace culture is still mostly gender-specific, with policies for combining work and family principally aimed at women. This has an effect on individual and household strategies for dealing with parenthood and indicates, according to the research team, why the transition to parenthood still remains a 'tipping point' on the road towards gender equality.
By acknowledging both positive and negative implications associated with parenthood transitions in European societies, the Final Report of the project (published in 2006) identifies the main consequences of, and gives innovative recommendations on, work-family policies and practices within the Lisbon Agenda. More findings and data will be soon available in a book and various follow-up articles currently being prepared by the project's team.
Project acronym: WORKS
Title of project: Work Organisation and Restructuring in the Knowledge Society
Co-ordinator: Monique Ramioul
Institution: Higher Institute for Labour Studies (HIVA), Catholic University in Leuven
Funded under: FP6-7 Citizens
WORKS is an international research project with 19 EU and Accession State partners. Its main scope is to investigate how employment, learning and labour practices adapt to change and to what effect. The overall objective of the WORKS project is to improve our understanding of changes in work in the knowledge-based society, their driving forces and their implications for the use of knowledge and skills, for flexibility and for quality of life. In particular, new forms of work organisations are analysed taking into account global value chain restructurings and regional institutional contexts.
Four key thematic issues are tackled by WORKS:
In the frame of its activities WORKS organised an international conference in Chania, Greece (21-22 September 2006), with the title: 'Bringing Together the Knowledge to Build on Further in a European Perspective'. This was the first large event of WORKS which integrated the conclusions of the first year of research. The conference brought together leading EU experts from a range of different disciplinary and national backgrounds. Its aim was the development of a conceptual framework for studying the relationship between global forces and working life, recognising that global corporate strategies may both shape and be shaped by local practices.
The starting point was the generally agreed case that we are witnessing a historically unprecedented transformation of work. A number of large scale changes have been monitored in organisation of work: working time, working space, content of work and contractual relationships between workers and their employers. It is also generally agreed that these changes have something to do with globalisation and technological change. WORKS Chania Conference deepened the theoretical discussion on the mechanisms by which these changes take place.
The conference focused on certain questions:
There were many contributions complemented by a rich range of presentations by researchers in North America, Asia and Latin America as well as Europe illustrating changes currently taking place in the way work is organised. The valuable conclusions of this important international conference have been recorded and they will be integrated into the research.