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


Concluding remarks: Usability of the profile as an assessment tool

unique skills ‘Unique’ skills and knowledge

Within the framework of the project, the profile has been the basic material for the production of a user manual to European socio-economic research and a reference document for compiling the voluntary code of practice.

More important, however, are the possible purposes that could go beyond the framework of the project. First of all, the profile could contribute to the broader professional debate about the curriculum consequences of international research. Recently, policy makers made great efforts to harmonise higher education in the EU-countries. One of the results of this harmonisation process has been the Bologna Agreement. Within this agreement, policy-makers gave attention to the importance of a European dimension in higher education. In the Communiqué of Prague, the Ministers of Education of the EU-countries formulated it as follows:

‘In order to further strengthen the important European dimension of higher education and graduate employability, Ministers called upon the higher education sector to increase the development of modules, courses and curricula at all levels with “European” content, orientation and organisation. This concerns particularly modules, courses and degree curricula offered in partnership by institutions from different countries and leading to a recognised joint decree.’

The profile of socio-economic research emphasises the importance of ‘unified European research’. European knowledge, European networking and project management are indispensable elements to conduct ‘high quality’ European research. Therefore, training of this European knowledge, networking and international project management should be a valuable part of higher education courses today in the social and economic sciences.

Secondly, the profile can contribute to the debate on creating quality standards and assessment of European socio-economic research. Concerning quality checks of European research projects, we think that these should not be restricted to results. During the process, the client can keep an eye on the quality of the work. We call this the progress check of quality in research. Since the profile describes the process of socio-economic research, it can be used as a guideline or checklist for such a progress check. It could be used as a structuring tool for detecting and determining quality problems.

Finally, the profile can contribute to the HRM policy of research organisations. In institutes with European ambitions, qualifications concerning European knowledge, networking, management and leadership and international dissemination become more important. The profile, with its enumeration of qualifications, can contribute to the adaptation of the job descriptions, training courses and human resource planning. European ambitions require new functional demands and new training demands, which will be reflected in the selection criteria (see Figure).