Project Acronym: ACRE
Title of Project: Accommodating Creative Knowledge - Competitiveness of European Metropolitan Regions within the Enlarged Union
Co-ordinator: Dr Sako Musterd
Institution: Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan and International Development studies (AMIDSt)), the Netherlands.
Funded under: FP6-Citizens and Governance
Subject: The emerging 'creative class' and the rise of the 'creative industries'.
The ACRE (Accommodating Creative Knowledge) project aims to research the conditions for creating, or stimulating, 'creative knowledge regions' in the context of the extended European Union. The project will compare the recent socioeconomic development trends and strategies in several metropolitan regions across Europe in order to gain more insight on the extent to which creativity, innovation and knowledge are indeed the keys to a successful long-term economic development.
European cities want to be competitive, and over recent years it has become more and more evident that along with the traditional 'hard' location factors (such as availability of capital or labour, infrastructure, tax regimes and other institutional contexts), new 'soft' location factors that are mainly related to attracting the required 'talent pool', are being given increasing attention. European cities recognise the key to success in developing creative and knowledge-based industries. But while the final destination is clear, the road towards that goal is still hazy.
To achieve this goal, ACRE focuses on several dimensions that have been neglected or underestimated so far: the role of path dependency, the extent to which policies provide 'soft location factors', the differences and similarities between metropolitan regions in western, central and eastern Europe, and the role of trans-national migration of a skilled labour force towards centres of creativity and knowledge.
One of the core objectives of ACRE is the close collaboration of all the local research teams with locally created Councils of Experts (Local Partnerships - LOPs) which include people from business or policymakers related to this topic. This translates into a solid link between research and local authorities and business communities. As a spin-off effect, several local authorities and business communities involved in ACRE started communicating with each other, giving rise to a new international network.
ACRE is an Integrated Project, financed by the European Commission within the Sixth Framework Programme with a budget of 4.5 M euro. It includes a total of 13 partners, almost equally distributed from the old EU-15 and the new Member States and candidate countries of central and eastern Europe. The following cities are involved in this project: Amsterdam (NL), Barcelona (ES), Birmingham (UK), Budapest (HU), Dublin (IE), Helsinki (FI), Leipzig (GE), Milan (IT), Munich (GE), Poznan (PL), Riga (LV), Sofia (BG) and Toulouse (FR).
The project compares the recent socio-economic development trends and the recent economic development strategies in 13 metropolitan regions across Europe, by using a set of common questions and inquiry lines:
In many cases, local partnerships involved in ACRE activities, are members of other regional networks. Networking has expanded through the interaction between different networks and as a consequence, the results of ACRE research now reach a larger target audience and become known at a wider European level.
Project Acronym: CINEFOGO
Title of Project: Network of Excellence Civil Society and New Forms of Governance in Europe - the Making of European Citizenship
Co-ordinator: Annali Kristiansen
Institution: Department of Social Sciences, Roskilde University, Denmark.
Funded under: FP6-Citizens and Governance
Subject: WP6 Pilot Training: Research Communication and Dissemination.
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 the University of Roskilde, Denmark. The CINEFOGO Network is supported by FP6-Priority 7.
During the first six months, the CINEFOGO project successfully organised 3 events; the regular meeting of the Network Council (Vienna, 22-23 May 2006), the Spread of Excellence working meeting (Vienna, 24-25 May 2006) and the PhD network meeting on Civil Society and the Third Sector (Vienna, 25-28 May 2006). A TRANSAACT Training Workshop will take place in Prague from 23- 27 September 2007. This WP6 pilot training in communication and dissemination of research results is open to CINEFOGO partners, members of related projects and networks and interested stakeholders such as policy makers, representatives of NGOs and European citizens.
TRANSAACT Training for CINEFOGO network members aims at raising the capacity of sharing, elaborating and spreading good practices, as well as how to strengthen an appropriate spread and use of CINEFOGO deliverables. Through learning and dialogue , the Spread of Excellence dimension of the CINEFOGO Network is implemented. This is designed to link academic work to the dissemination of its results to people and institutions outside academia. The Spread of Excellence principles are:
The pilot four-day interactive training on communication and dissemination will familiarise the participants with the following issues:
For further information: http://www.cinefogo.org/learning-dialogue/transaact/
Project Acronym: CSR PLATFORM
Title of Project: European Platform for Excellence in CSR Research
Co-ordinator: Peter Lacy
Institution: European Academy of Business in Society, Brussels, Belgium
Funded under: FP6- Citizens and Governance
Subject: Shaping the European CSR research agenda.
European Platform for Excellence in CSR Research (CSR PLATFORM) is a project funded by the European Commission under the Citizens and Governance Programme of FP6. This is an Coordination Action running over three years (2004-2007). The EU is providing the project with EUR 0.75 million in support. The project aims to create a European Platform for Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Research. Under the leadership of the European Academy of Business in Society (EABIS), it brings together a consortium of 13 project partners (leading academic institutions and stakeholder groups in the field of CSR) from across the European Union and from both old and new Member States.
Its three strategic objectives are: to mobilize an international community of academics across disciplines, types of research and generations; to build an effective system that will disseminate knowledge from past, current, and future European CSR research initiatives and outcomes to benefit all stakeholders; and to foster and facilitate cooperation and collaboration between academia, the business community, policy-makers and other key stakeholders through the creation of multi-stakeholder platforms and colloquia.
Against this backdrop, a Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Council has been created with representatives from business (UNICE, UEAPM, BITC, UNILEVER), trade unions (ETUC, ETUF-TCL), NGOs (WWF, AI), policymakers (an MEP), consumers (BEUC), academics, investors and media representatives.
The European research agenda on CSR remains fragmented and diffuse. And the knowledge and insights generated through research is not always effectively communicated and disseminated to those who need it. The CSR Platform Project addresses this problem by focusing on activities such as Research Colloquiums, Young Research Professionals, and CSR Research Coordination Network, Multi-stakeholder meetings and CSR Knowledge Centre/European Reference Portal on CSR.
On the one hand, the European Multi-stakeholder Research Colloquiums will be central to the project and crucial as an agenda setting event where researchers and stakeholders from across Europe will be able to meet in order to take stock of achievements, to identify knowledge gaps and to plan future research priorities, as well as to distribute tasks amongst themselves. On the other hand, the building of a Knowledge Management System and Web Portal will be the key tools in building a foundation for structured exchange of information on CSR research in Europe.
Furthermore, the creation of an academic coordination network will ensure that, at a European level, researchers within disciplines, across disciplines and between universities and business schools, will be provided with forums to meet, discuss and coordinate their CSR research. Finally, regular multi-stakeholder platform meetings are planned, some of which will be issue-based and others will focus on particular stakeholders.
The project has 3 operational goals:
The CSR Platform Project aims to make the knowledge and insights generated throughout the project period accessible for exploitation. In order to facilitate and strengthen European research collaboration beyond the initial project period and serve as a global reference point for the advancement and dissemination of knowledge on CSR, a web portal and a knowledge centre administered by The European Academy of Business in Society has been set up.
Project Acronym: EUROSTEMCELL
Title of Project: European Consortium for Stem Cell Research
Co-ordinator: Peter Freeman
Institution: Institute for Stem Cell Research, University of Edinburgh, Scotland UK
Funded under: FP6-Lifescihealth
Subject: Taking stem cell technology to the clinic
EUROSTEMCELL is the acronym of 'European Consortium for Stem Cell Research'. This is an Integrated Project running over four years (2004-2008), combining the transdiciplinary expertise of more than 100 researchers across 27 research groups in 16 partner institutions; it is a virtual European stem cell centre. The EU FP6 programme 'Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health' is providing the EUROSTEMCELL project with support of EUR 11.9 million. The project aims primarily at stimulating interactions between biotech researchers, social scientists, economists and ethical experts active in the life sciences. It also informs and opens a dialogue with interested citizens on relevant European policies and research activities.
The purpose of EUROSTEMCELL is to build the scientific foundations required to take stem cell technology to the clinic - in the form of well characterised cell lines and a solid pre-clinical skills and knowledge base. Research is focused on identifying, comparing and evaluating the properties and clinical potential of different types of stem cells. EUROSTEMCELL proposes the public to find out more about the science behind the headlines, a glossary to get definitions for stem cell words and terms and up-to-date information about laws relating to human embryonic stem cell research throughout the European Union, amongst others.
The project brings together academic and commercial researchers from across Europe, with expertise in transgenesis, stem cell biology, developmental biology, tissue repair, in vivo disease models and clinical cell transplantation. The research program is organised into eight work packages, supported by six flagship projects. Each looks at a specific area of stem cell research or technology - from the conditions required to culture stem cells, to key technologies for their identification and isolation, to efficient and directed differentiation. Three work packages focus on the testing and application of stem cell therapies. The research is expected to enable a systematic comparative evaluation of the properties and therapeutic potential of pluripotent embryonic, foetal and adult stem cells.
EUROSTEMCELL aims to build the foundations for regenerative medicine. While a large component of the research programme focuses on basic research, all of the work has a clinical orientation - from the generation of cell lines of therapeutic potential, to the testing of these cell lines in disease models, to a series of workshops aimed at enhancing communication between basic and clinical researchers. The clinical dimension of the project aims to generate a "roadmap to the clinic" - a statement on the steps necessary in developing clinical applications from stem cells. EUROSTEMCELL engages clinicians, basic scientists, bio industry representatives and ethicists in this process through a series of workshops focused on neurological, neuromuscular and skin disorders.
With the aim of making stem cell research and associated issues accessible to a broad general audience aged 14 and above, the consortium has produced four short films about stem cell research and distributed 1000 DVDs to school teachers and pupils, and to museums in 38 countries worldwide. EUROSTEMCELL scientists also devised and ran a series of 26 workshops over three days in Edinburgh, Scotland, attended by more than 300 high school students. The aim of the workshops was to give participants a taste of a career in stem cell research, before making their school subject choices.
EUROSTEMCELL has also organised a range of outreach activities, including the production of four films looking at different aspects of stem cell research. All are the result of close collaboration between researchers and filmmakers, and are designed to be accessible to a broad general audience aged 14 and over. The films are ideal for classroom use, conference screenings or for individuals to view online. Produced in English, the films have subtitles and/or narration in French, German, Dutch, Italian and Swedish. One of the films, A Stem Cell Story, won the best TV/video production award at the Tromsø Science Media Festival and SCINEMA Science film festival, Sydney and was selected to screen in competition at the Science Film Festival in Bangkok and at BaKaFORUM 2007.
The three other films focus on the ethical issues surrounding stem cell research, stem cell culture and cloning. Scientists were actively involved throughout the production and distribution process, providing many of the films' stunning image sequences, and taking on roles as diverse as script consultant, interviewee, narrator, distribution agent and translator. Instead of outsourcing the whole project to a film production company, scientists and filmmakers worked closely together in an equal partnership. The result is a series of films that present the latest developments in a cinematic and scientifically accurate way - with both parties finding the collaboration professionally and personally stimulating.
Project Acronym: JURISTRAS
Title of Project: The Strasbourg Court, democracy and the human rights of individuals and communities: patterns of litigation, state implementation and domestic reform
Co-ordinator: Dr Dia Anagnostou
Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), Greece.
Funded under: FP6-Citizens and Governance
Subject: Preliminary results from the JURISTRAS research project
JURISTRAS comparatively explores processes of human rights litigation in the European Court of Human Rights judgements and its effects in national legislative reform and policy making in a number of EU Member States and Associate Candidate States. JURISTRAS seeks to explore domestic processes of implementation of Strasbourg Court judgements and their impact on the legal norms, institutional structures and policies of national states that are parties to the Convention.
The project specifically focuses on the Court's growing jurisprudence pertaining to the civil rights of individuals and communities, and their participation in the public sphere in a democratic setting. Such case law has primarily grown out of specific categories of cases brought to the European Court of Human Rights, in which individuals claim a violation of their right to privacy and family life, religious freedom and conscience, freedom of expression, assembly and association, and discriminatory treatment.
The JURISTRAS project is coordinated by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). The consortium includes Kent University at Canterbury, the University of Sienna, Boltzman Institute for Human Rights in Vienna, the Romanian Academy of Sciences, the Centre for Liberal Studies in Sofia, Bielefeld University, Free University of Brussels, and Yildiz University in Istanbul. The total contribution of the EC is EUR 1 179 000.
The project is still at an early stage, yet some important findings regarding the significance of the Convention system and Strasbourg jurisprudence for national-level human rights protection, as well as findings regarding patterns of minority litigation across states, are already surfacing. Overall, the large number of cases that still reaches Strasbourg, in spite of the existence of domestic guarantees, raise issues considered problematic from a nationally-specific perspective regarding democracy and human rights protection.
In general, individual litigation against states in Strasbourg tends to arise in areas of activity characterised by nationally specific structural deficiencies, legal-judicial distortions, administrative or other kinds of systematic shortcomings in human rights guarantees. The disproportionately large number of excessively long case proceedings against Italy, property restitution cases against Romania, and minority-related cases against Turkey are only some examples indicative of such nationally-specific and often systemic deficiencies.
Petitions submitted by individuals belonging to minorities have rapidly increased since the mid-1990s, and they can be roughly divided into three categories. Firstly, a significant number of such petitions involve registration and recognition of minorities and minority institutions, including political parties claiming a breaching of rights. A second category of petitions are lodged by Roma (mainly against the UK) who claim violation of their right to lead a traditional way of life. Finally, a growing number of individual petitions by immigrants under several Convention articles have also been lodged in Strasbourg.
Three sets of preliminary observations transpire from the background country case reports regarding the factors shaping its variable significance for minorities across states:
In the course of research, JURISTRAS plans to identify best practices concerning the establishment or improvement of national and EU level mechanisms for addressing human rights claims and resolving disputes between individual rights and state interests. Finally, JURISTRAS aims at formulating policy recommendations concerning the rights of religious, ethnic and immigrant minorities, the combating of discrimination, and the protection of personal privacy.
Project Acronym: POLITIS
Title of Project: Building Europe with New Citizens? An Inquiry into the Civic Participation of Naturalised Citizens and Foreign Residents in 25 Countries
Co-ordinator: Dr Dita Vogel
Institution: IBKM Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Bildung und Kommunikation in Migrationsprozessen, Universität Oldenburg, Germany.
Funded under: FP6-Citizens and Governance
Subject: Promoting active citizenship among immigrants
"Building Europe with New Citizens?" is the central topic of the POLITIS project, which is a STREP (Specific Targeted Research Project) combining academic background research with a strong empirical dimension. POLITIS runs from June 2004 to July 2007 and its partnership includes the University of Oldenburg, the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), the European University Institute and the Churches' Commission of Migrants in Europe (CCME).
Populations of immigrants are growing and changing in Europe. POLITIS explores the potential of immigrants for the development of a civically active European society, starting with foreign students' perceptions of Europe and focusing on sustained social and political activities of immigrants. In order to achieve this, POLITIS has put together significant resources from 25 countries such as a network of 35 experts reviewing research in their countries; a network of more than 70 international student partners participating in two summer schools; a group of students at the University of Oldenburg involved in the analysis of these perceptions; and more than 176 active immigrants who are interviewed by international student partners.
The project is divided into 3 parts:
The innovative character of POLITIS relies largely on the participation of student researchers. More than 70 students and PhD-researchers from 40 different countries of origin in Africa, America, Asia and Europe were recruited in an open call. At a summer school in Greece in 2005, they were trained on issues relating to EU immigration, intercultural dialogue, civic participation, and particularly interview techniques. As described by Dr Vogel in several media events, 'The interviews were not done in a question and answer format; it was more open-ended, the interviewers were trained to engage the individuals in the topics and tell their stories, so that they were able to raise issues that were not on our agenda so far.' This highlights the two-way dialogue dynamic of POLITIS.
Thirty-five experts were involved in the production of Country Reports on Immigrant Civic Participation for all 25 EU Member States. These 25 country reports present information on national migration, integration policy, and civic participation. They offer, for the first time, a systematic information source for all 25 Member States on these issues.
POLITIS has produced the film Building Europe with New Citizens - introducing to an unusual research partnership. The film gives an insight into the objectives of the project and the preparation of the field phase during the first summer school. The film was produced by Benjamin Arnold and Almuth Wetzstein with support from Ana Castaneda. The students of the University of Oldenburg performed as actors.
POLITIS aims at disseminating research results both to the academic field and the civil society. For its intercultural research design and dissemination approach, POLITIS was selected as Best Practice project for its contribution to Intercultural Dialogue at the community level.
As parties and trade unions in many EU countries show a growing awareness that it would be important to recruit more immigrants as active members, the POLITIS results and impact sustainability increases. Officials in these organisations often do not know how to approach immigrants adequately and how to motivate them for long-term membership and collaboration in the organisation. The WinAct- Grundtvig Training course addresses these demands by promoting active membership of immigrants in political parties and trade unions in Europe. To realise this objective, it develops training programmes for professionals in adult education in Europe for 2008. WinAct builds on results of POLITIS.
Two conferences took place on May 16, 2007. The first event at the European Commission focused on the POLITIS research design, while the second event at the European Parliament presented key results and recommendations. See the POLITIS website for further information.