|Sumár projektu:||Many universities in the Central-Eastern and South-Eastern European region have made a substantial progress in developing services and professional capacities for internationalisation of HE, especially thanks to the ERASMUS+ programme. However, the already existing services focus mostly on the mobility of (under)graduate students and short-term staff mobility. Services to support incoming researchers and academics have not been developed at the same speed, nor to the same extent. Assistance, this target group needs, is typically still provided in a decentralised manner and on a highly-individualised basis, by the host departments or even by the host academics. With most institutions aiming to increase the number of incoming academics such approach is not tenable in the longer run. Hence the necessity to establish dedicated structures that can provide professional services to the target group at central and faculty level and to further professionalise such support.
This project aims to address this challenge through elaborating practical tools to facilitate development of such services and through delivering training to HE managers and professional staff to be involved in the process. This way we hope to increase the quality of assistance provided to incoming PhD students and academics and contribute to stronger welcoming institutional cultures attracting more international talents. Six experienced partners from five countries will join the forces to work towards these objectives, among them three universities (Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia University of Nis, Serbia, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Bulgaria), two mobility funding agencies (SAIA, Slovakia, NAWA, Poland) and a European-level federation of national organisations supporting HE internationalisation (ACA, Belgium).
Comprehensive set of activities is foreseen to fulfil the project goals. The project will start with an in-depth mapping and analysis to ensure the developed tools will be anchored in the specific HE institutional realities in the target region and will reflect the specific needs of PhD students and academic staff. In the next step, a model welcome service framework proposing flexible mix of services and activities to support this target group will be drafted using the examples of existing measures implemented across Europe and adapting them according to the needs and limitations identified in the initial analysis. An online app will be created to facilitate the use of the framework. Comprehensive training programme supporting implementation of measures proposed in the framework will be developed and its content will be transformed into online form. To pilot test the programme, international training will be organised for HE managers and professional staff who should then be able to take over the initiative in developing and delivering services proposed by the model service framework at their institutions and act as multipliers promoting project outcomes among their colleagues. To spread the project outcomes beyond the project consortium, project partners will organise national dissemination workshops for representatives of HE institutions and key stakeholders in their country. Finally, international dissemination conference will be carried out to present the project outcomes to other HE institutions across the CE-SE European region as well as to the European level actors active in promoting internationalisation of HE education. All the outputs will be designed in a way to be easily transferred to other contexts and institutional settings.
The major impact is expected within the participating HE institutions and beyond, in the CESEE region. HEIs should be able to take more strategic approach to supporting incoming mobility of PhD students and faculty, improve the management processes in the area of internationalisation and develop services addressing the existing mobility obstacles. HE managers involved in project activities will be able to make better evidence-based decisions about the strategies they develop and implement in the area of international mobility. Members of the support staff will understand the specific needs of mobile PhD students and academics, will have a good knowledge about the most common obstacles they face and will be familiar with a broad spectrum of possible services and measures and available tools to support this target group. And finally, international PhD students and academic staff coming for mid and long-term stays will gain an easy access to assistance they need before and during their stay and thanks to this they will be able to enjoy the full benefits of their mobility.
In general terms, the project outputs are expected to contribute to higher professionalisation of the university services for international PhDs and academic staff, more efficient recruitment and higher attractivity for talents and raised international credit of the universities.|