IST Programme RESPECT: an IST Programme Project
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RESPECT for professional qualifications and expertise: Introduction


Research by Ellen Schryvers, Guy Van Gyes and Tom Vandenbrande, HIVA, Belgium.

This part of the RESPECT research is available interactively online (click Next ... at the end of this introduction. Alternatively, you can download a print-friendly version in a single document. Please note that colour coding is used in the flowchart of tasks.


As societal problems become more complex and interlinked, it is more and more difficult to understand them from the perspective of a single academic discipline. In recent years there has been a growth in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary working. This has developed in parallel with a growth in international collaborative working, especially on large European projects. With the development of a European Research Area in the European Commission’s Sixth Framework Programme, these developments are likely to accelerate. It seems likely that in the future socio-economic researchers are more and more likely to find themselves working in extremely large international interdisciplinary teams. The members of such teams are inevitably less familiar with each other’s backgrounds than when working with colleagues from the same discipline in the same country. Furthermore, entirely new types of research tasks may be involved in working in these ways.

RESPECT’s work on professional qualifications and expertise has been led by HIVA. This work involved three main components. The first of these involved drawing up occupational profiles of socio-economic researchers. For this activity, the lead partners on this workpackage used an occupational profiling tool already developed and used in Belgium as an aid to matching qualifications to labour market demand.

This methodology involved several stages:

  1. In consultation with the other partners, defining the range of existing occupations involved in technology-related socio-economic research.

  2. carrying out semi-structured interviews with experts in each sub-field identified as relevant

  3. carrying out face-to-face interviews with a sample of professionals using an occupational profiling tool

  4. analysis of the results of these interviews

  5. carrying out national workshops in three contrasting European countries. These workshops were designed to reach consensus about occupational profiles and verify the results of the earlier phases of the research.

The second component of the project’s work involved developing a directory of professional qualifications in socio-economic disciplines.

Finally, RESPECT has produced recommendations for benchmarking and/or harmonisation of occupational professional socio-economic occupational qualifications where these do not already exist.

The results are on this website in a searchable form for the benefit of the IST community and the general public:

functional map online Functional map of a European socio-economic research project (online)

functional map to print Print version of the final report (PDF: 547kb)