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Memorandum of Understanding

The Memorandum of Understanding for the project can be downloaded here.

A Management Committee (MC) will oversee the Action. The MC’s role will be to oversee progress on all objectives and to make recommendations for future action. The MC will also oversee the development of research bids and policy recommendations emerging from the Action. The MC will involve up to two delegates for each COST country participating in the Action.

The MC will include the following roles:

ESRs will be invited to take on some of these roles. The International Advisory Board will be invited to contribute at appropriate points in MC meetings through the use of Skype or a similar facility. The MC will meet twice a year.

A Steering Group (SG), consisting of the Chair, Vice-Chair and WG leaders, STSM Manager, Training Schools Manager, ESR Manager, Stakeholders Manager, International Advisory Board Manager, Scientific Secretary, Editorial Manager, Website and Dissemination Manager.

Its role will be to ensure that all Action objectives are met. It will set the agenda for the MC meetings and implement MC policy decisions. It will oversee the project evaluation, website and dissemination plans. In order to minimise costs as far as possible, MCs, SGs and WGs will take place in the same venues and around the same time (over a period of 2 days) in order to minimise costs. One set of meetings per year will be rotated around East, West, North and South Europe and one set of meetings per year will take place in Brussels, using COST premises if possible in order to reduce costs. Training for ESRs is central to the activity of this Action. An ESR Manager will be appointed to the Steering Group. They will provide support and training for those ESRs who will be Chairs or Deputy Chairs of the WGs and will oversee relevant training at the Training Schools (TS). It will meet twice a year.

Two Training Schools (TS) will be organised in Years 2 and 3 of the project. The first TS will focus on issues related to Themes 1-4 and the second to issues related to Theme 5. Experts in the research embedded in these themes will provide lectures and roundtable discussions. Training school participants (PhD students and other ESRs) will have opportunities to attend workshops and seminars and will analyse related datasets, engage in discussions and debates and present a poster of their own research in the area. Informal activities will be embedded into the TS, such as ‘Picnics with the Professors’, to ensure maximum interaction. Field trips to relevant sites will be arranged e.g. kindergartens, schools, museums. Evaluation methods will involve participatory appraisal techniques.

At least four Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) will take place during each year of the Action. These will enable ESRs to stay for short periods of time, from one week to three months, at host institutions in fellow COST countries in order to further their knowledge, work on Action publications and develop research proposals. The STSMs will relate to each of the themes. Links between researchers focused on specific areas will emerge from the themes. These links will be supported through encouragement for submission of symposia at relevant conferences and submission of proposals for special issues

One Think-Tank (TT) will take place for each of the themes 1-4. The TTs will include stakeholders and their purpose will be to identify the implications of the activities of the theme Working Groups for policy and practice and to advise on additional relevant outputs. Evaluation methods will involve participatory appraisal techniques.

Measures will be put in place to prioritise participation in all elements of the COST action by under-represented groups e.g. according to gender, ethnicity, ESRs, location. A gender balance of 50% and ESR balance of 40% will be sought for participation in the Action through the identification of potential participants and their invitation to join the COST. Identification of potential participants in order to address gender and ESR target quotas will take place through surveys of recent publications in the field, conference attendees, messages placed in relevant online networks and invitations placed in appropriate journals and newsletters.

Milestones for each year are as follows:

Year 1:

Year 2:

Year 3:

Year 4: