IST Programme RESPECT: an IST Programme Project
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Functional map of professional competences for EU socio-economic research

 

Concluding remarks: ‘Unique’ skills and knowledge

usability of profile Usability of the profile as an assessment tool

To develop the profile of socio-economic research, we first constructed the flowchart containing all required tasks within a European socio-economic research project. Afterwards, we deduced the required skills and knowledge to fulfil this tasks. This resulted in three types of skills and knowledge:

  • skills and knowledge important for all kind of socio-economic research
  • skills and knowledge that become more important in European research
  • skills and knowledge unique for European research.

A continued relevance of key scientific norms and attitudes

The first type of skills shows that the core ‘business’ of European research is still scientific work. All skills and knowledge required to conduct socio-economic research are entered in the profile. In these concluding remarks, we just want to mention some important norms that each researcher should take into account when executing scientific work. As a European researcher, one stays a member of a professional, scientific community.

Taking this into consideration, we can summarise the key skills important for researchers acting in a scientific community and which are as important for European research as for national research. He or she:

  • should share scientific results with one another
  • should evaluate scientific results by previously-determined objective criteria
  • should avoid dogmatism and prejudice
  • should demonstrate expertise
  • and is committed to the contractual financiers without losing scientific integrity.

With regard to the other two types of skills and knowledge, it is quite difficult to distinguish which qualifications become more important in European research, and which are unique for European research. Therefore, we will treat them together. These skills and knowledge can be subdivided in four categories:

  • networking
  • European knowledge
  • management and leadership
  • dissemination.

Networking in a multicultural and delocated team

The most important task for every researcher in a European project, is to act properly in a multicultural and delocated team. Networking is an important part of European research. To do so, the researcher requires:

  • basic knowledge of the different European societies
  • profound knowledge of the consortium language (usually English)
  • skills to express oneself in the consortium language
  • skills to understand different cultures
  • skills to let differences enrich the research findings
  • skills to cope with different views
  • skills to respect the different European theoretical traditions
  • skills to make use of the new technological communication tools
  • skills to convert spoken language into written language (knowledge of the impact and sensitivity of written language).

‘European’ knowledge

To conduct European research, one should at least have a basic knowledge of Europe, its policy, the member states, the society, etc. This is why we consider European knowledge a very important part of the qualification needs within this profile. Among them, the most important ones are:

  • knowledge of the basic features of European policy
  • knowledge of the most important developments within the European Union, especially those related to one’s own research topic
  • knowledge of the European research language
  • knowledge of the European qualification standards
  • skills to handle different research methods
  • good knowledge of European society, to define problems and research questions concerning European interests

Competencies of international project management

The third category of skills and knowledge – management and leadership – are exclusively for the co-ordinator and lead partners of a workpackage. They need:

  • a broad international network
  • tacit knowledge of European research programmes and areas
  • good knowledge of European interests of the different European countries and the skills to translate this in the allocation of the workpackages
  • negotiating skills and the capacity to personally influence people
  • skills to classify information in a way that all partners are able to retrace it
  • skills to delegate and spread responsibilities among the lead partners and the co-ordinator
  • skills to adapt the conceptual framework when problems occur in one of the other countries
  • skills to match the work of others with the conceptual framework, and give instructions when necessary.

Academic and policy-oriented dissemination on the international level

Finally, we come to the skills and knowledge required to disseminate the results of the study. In fact, the dissemination of results of a European research project does not require unique skills and knowledge. They are quite the same as those required in a national research project, but with an international dimension. The most important ones are:

  • knowledge of public relation techniques (eg advertising channels)
  • skills to present research results for a broad public (website, newsletter)
  • skills to give clear oral presentations (on international scientific events)
  • knowledge of international academic journals
  • knowledge of international standards of publications
  • skills to bring the research project to the notice of the stakeholders and the media on a European level.