In the Kick-off Meeting the consortium will formalize the conditions and the rules behind the cooperation in the partnership agreement which will be discussed and signed by the partners. The Partnership Agreements, as guided by EACEA, are individual contracts with each of the partners with specific tasks, deadlines, responsibilities as described in the respective work packages. The Kick-off Meeting will be held in Albania in the premises of Coordinator (POLIS University) in the second month of the official start of the Project. All partners will attend the Kick-off Meeting with two representatives (preferably a representative of the Management structures and a Coordinator/ Contact Points from every institution, partner in this Consortium.
Three Structures will be established in the Kick-off Meeting: Steering Committee, Managerial Committee, and Project Quality Committee. WP leaders are U_POLIS & University of Gjakova “Fehmi Agani”
1.1. Kick Off meeting;
1.2. Establish the project mng structures;
1.3. Validate the work plan
WP2 – Develop new teaching and mentoring methodologies that enhance students’ research skills
The objective of this Work Package is to strengthen the students’ research skills for conducting independent research and for making critical reviews of others’ research, in order to contribute creatively in solving problems based on research.
In order to reach this, the initial activities are related with academic capacities, such as strengthen research capacities and develop teaching methodologies. Then comes the evaluation of research capacities through the development of quality assurance indicators. As a third part is the validation of the developed courses/ methodologies through the students’ evaluation, Alumni and partners from industry.
New forms of learning in research work will be put into operation. The partnerships require flexible networking and boundary crossing in ever-changing collaborative settings in which no single actor has a fixed authority. Groups of teachers and specialists work together. So, in this context, working face-to-face is essential and requires mobility.
The lead partners, Aalborg University and Polytechnic University of Tirana will share tasks between them, even though all tasks will follow a linear pattern: Workshops, Study visits, Reflective seminar and Virtual seminars, which are the milestones to make sure that the project proceeds as scheduled. 60 lecturers and mentors from 6 Partner Country Institutions will be trained on new teaching and mentoring methods; 18 new teaching methods (3 new methodologies in each partner country Institution will be developed). Given that the Institutions from the partner countries have different profiles, only the number of new methodologies for each partner is set as an indicator, leaving flexibility in determining the type, based on the profile and the needs. Guidelines on research mentorship will be developed during the second training as well validated and implemented by 6 HEIs; validation and publication of methodologies by students’ evaluation is also an important task of this WP.
2.1. Training workshop on teaching methodologies;
WP3 – Enhance staff capacity for research
In this Work package various approaches to strengthening research capacity will be taken, including improving the capacity of individual researchers through training courses, supporting collaborative partnerships and developing research leadership skills.
The aim of the proposed activities is to enhance the abilities of individuals, and institutions, to undertake and disseminate high quality research efficiently and effectively.
The first activities are devoted to improving the capacity of individual researchers followed by activities aiming to enhance the institutional capacities for research.
The overall objective of this Work package is to develop and strengthen the Institutional Research Culture and Ethics.
30 researchers from 6 HEIs form Albania and Kosovo, partners in this Consortium, will be trained from highly qualified researchers of EU Institutions, partners in this Consortium. The main topic of the training module will be: publishing in high quality journals IPR and ethics in research etc. The training will be held in Prishtina, in the premises of the University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina” in M5 in the second year of Project Implementation.
The second training will be dedicated to research management staff, and will be held in Tirana, in the premises of the European University of Tirana. Step by step management of the processes of research will be the main objective of this training. In the role of trainers will be 6 research managers from EU Institutions, partners in this project, and a manual for project writing and management will be developed and published. Benchmark systems, quality indicators, motivation of researchers, as well as promotion materials especially dedicated to promote Gender Equality in Research and Innovation, are also important objectives of this WP.
3.1. Training workshop on publishing, IPR, ethics;
3.2. Training workshop on research mng;
3.3. Publish Manuals on project writing and project mng;
3.4. Promote Gender Equality in Research and Innovation;
3.5. Adopt Research Quality Indicators
WP 4 – Develop Institutional Capacities for Research
WP4 aims to address one of the shortcomings identified during the needs analysis on country and institutional level: the need for coordinating structures that have processes and procedures in place to support research and innovation within each institution.
The poor performance of Albania and Kosovo in terms of R&D and innovation is not only an issue of limited resources (human or financial), it is also due to the lack of proper structures which have a specific focus on innovation. Unlike the departments that given the aforementioned conditions tend to get consumed with the day to day management of the study programs, these structures (RISS) seek to adopt a systemic and institutional approach towards research and innovation, considering it not merely an individual responsibility of the academic staff but also a matter of institutional culture and organization.
Because they will not confine within one department, RISS are planned to function as an inter-departmental and inter-disciplinary entity and as such they seek to bring together people from various disciplines and expertise, facilitating knowledge exchange, new research topics and innovation.
Out of the 6 HEIs from Albania and Kosovo, 2 have already similar units in embryonic stage and the remaining 4 have the objective to have dedicated units that support research and innovation in their Institutional Development Strategy.
However, besides the positive intention, know-how on how to get these structures up and running is required. Therefore, this WP has a twofold objective:
-Formalize RISS (legally within the HEI, as well as develop regulations, action plans for their activity)
-Train RISS staff so they are able to effectively and efficiently manage RISS
There will be 3 trainings (one in each Program Country Institution) with 4 participants from each HEI in the Partner Countries. The trainings will consist in equipping the trainees with the required know-how on RISS operation. The outcome of each training workshop will directly serve the functioning of RISS. More specifically:
– By the completion of Workshop 1 (organized by TUHH) – each HEI in the partner country will have outlined the regulation for the establishment and operation of RISS.
– By the completion of Workshop 2 (organized by PoliMi) – each HEI in the partner country will have outlined the job description for RISS staff.
– By the completion of Workshop 3 (organized by AAU) – each HEI in the partner country will have outlined a strategy and action plan of RISS for the upcoming 3 years.
Therefore, the overall outcome of this WP will be improved capacities not only for the staff who are going to get direct training, but because of the formalization as an integral part of the HEI structure, they will ultimately result in improved capacities for the entire institution, achieving long-term impact and sustainability of the project results even beyond the lifespan of the project. The presence of RISS will also facilitate the networking process within the Consortium but also with the other actors of the innovation eco-system.
4.1. Establish / Strengthen RISS;
4.2. Training of RISS staff (3 training workshops);
4.3. Develop RISS regulation, job description, strategy and action plans;
4.4.Operationalization of RISS;
4.5 Equipment Purchase
WP5 – Establish Network of Research Excellence
WP5 aims to initiate a process of intensive collaboration among HEIs of the region in the areas of research and innovation. The project team will play the role of catalysts to facilitate the synergies in research and innovation. WP5 foresees workshops and joint work among consortium members in the region.
The European members develop presentations that illustrate best practices of successful research network development. The team members from partner countries organize two workshops: one in Kosovo and one in Albania and invite academics and faculty from their university and industry experts.
The aim of the first workshop is to define a map of the teaching, research and technology transfer activities of each HEI involved, on the basis of which a roadmap for collaboration areas is defined. The second workshop, starting from the results of the first one, will set the activities to be implemented to achieve the roadmap and the calendar of them.
Based on the common areas of research, the partners in the region will initiate the development of the linkages among research groups in the form of writing common research projects. To support the collaboration among the partners and the communication of the results of the activities, a virtual platform will be developed. Evaluation is based on the analysis of questionnaires distributed during the day of the events and on the analysis of performance indicators such as the number and quality of the research project developed.
5.1. Establish a roadmap for the network;
5.2. Develop a calendar of activities;
5.3. Develop local and international linkages through interdisciplinary research groups;
5.4. Develop a virtual platform
WP6 – Quality Monitoring and Control
WP6, led by UC, is dedicated to ensuring the highest quality during the project implementation. The WP6 implies utilizing internal and external mechanisms to produce deliverables that indicate the quality of the project implementation.
Internal mechanisms for quality control:
-The Project Quality Committee (PQC) – The initial deliverable consists on creating the internal mechanism, the Project Quality Committee (PQC), which is entitled to adopt and monitor the quality action plan and define the performance indicators upon which the quality of the project will be assessed. The representatives of all partner HEIs and stakeholders will contribute by filling out the questionnaires and other online tools used to collect and generate data regarding the project performance. The Project Quality Committee will be established on the WP1 Preparation.
Responsibilities of the PQC include the adoption and implementation of the Quality Action Plan for the cycle of the project. More specifically, PQC will conduct the following activities :
- Monitor the implementation of the Quality Action Plan and inform the WP lead on warning signs, deviations and provide recommendations for improving the implementation ;
- Assist in the designing of the questionnaires and online surveys that will be delivered to the partner HEIs and stakeholders in order to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. After each major activity or event, task leaders will gather feedback on the process of the implementation and assess the impact;
- Monitor and evaluate the quality of the deliverables according to the indicators specified on the Logical Framework of the project;
- Provide guidelines and recommendations for the improvement of the quality of the deliverables;
- Plan and apply the necessary corrective actions if any deviation on project outcomes has been identified.
-Quality Action Plan (QAC) – the plan elaborates the end goals and the means used to ensure the quality of the project implementation. The Quality Action plan elaborates the strategy, instruments, processes, indicators, the assumptions and the risks that speak to the project objective and goals. The plan also provides a detailed description of the processes and mechanisms that will be implemented to facilitate a smooth and transparent communication among partners, sharing work documents, reports, and feedback. The QA plan implements the Balanced Scorecard tool to asses and measure the performance of the project implementation. The QA plan will provide the following information:
- The general principles of the plan with concern on transparency, participation, documentation, collaboration, efficiency, relevance and contribution;
- The structure and processes of monitoring and evaluation which also includes a timeline and the entities in charge to deliver the action;
- The key performance indicators upon which the progress toward achieving project goals and objectives will be assessed and evaluated;
- The means and procedures of internal communication arrangements;
- The procedures for the deliverables submission and review;
- Templates of questionnaires and online surveys;
External mechanisms for quality control:
-External monitoring – apart from the internal mechanisms and tools to assure the quality of project implementation, an external entity will be contrated to proivde an independent opinion on the quality, efficiency and sustainability of the project by using formative and summative assessment. The external evaluator will be selected based on the experience and the capacities of the organization for implementing, evaluating and monitoring projects, and the familiarity with EACEA and Erasmus+ procedures. The Quality Committee will prepare a Terms fo Reference that covers the scope, timespan and aims of the evaluation.
The scope of work for the external evaluator relates to the following questions:
- Are all the deliverables produced according to the planned description and timeline, and according to the correct flow/sequence?
- To what extent has been considered the sustainability of the new offices/entities established within the HEIs (if applicable)?
- Do the new programs and policies developed provide the intended impact on the beneficiary HEI?
- Do the delivered training/professional development have the expected quality?
- How many faculty members, administrators and students benefited from the project implementation that were not directly involved or were part of the trainings and workshops?
6.2. Subcontract an external expert;
6.4. Final quality report
WP7 – Dissemination and Exploitation
This WP aims to gather key stakeholders around DRIVE agenda and ensure that all project outputs and results are transferred outside the partnership and disseminated and used in the most effective way. In order to achieve such objective, transparent instruments of communication will be used, as well as adequate and timely inclusion of the targeted audience for the project. All will be integrated in the Dissemination Strategy, ensuring a smooth roll out of key messages, while synchronizing targeted outreach with project implementation milestones. A variety of communication tools will be used for measuring communication and awareness, raising effectiveness. In order to ensure cohesive delivery of project outputs and results, internal communication activities will be performed concurrent to the external ones.
Based on the Dissemination Strategy the project will develop the following activities:
Project visual identity materials like flyers, posters, roll-ups, brochures, promotional video, interactive and user-friendly website, modular learning and information materials will be developed. The materials will be tailored to the context and the preferences of the target groups, also materials like postcards or film clips will be used to attract young learners.
Newsletters will be published every six months announcing and reporting about relevant achievements and events.
Tailor-made publications will inform and attract different target and user groups, e.g. students, enterprises, HR-experts, researchers, networks and administrations.
A project website shall be dedicated to the project results, with a special corner using interactive features such as “forum”, “contact your peer” section. Such website goes in line with the main focus of DRIVE, to create an innovation and research network in the Western Balkans. The website will also contain a subscribe section where new researchers express their interest in being part on virtual forums and potential meetings.
Project will establish internal and external communication and collaboration facilities and interactive services like help-desk and online conference facility, or networking (foundation of a project community).
7.2. Dissemination Products;
7.3. National info days;
7.4. Final Project conference;
WP8 – Project Management
The coordinator is responsible for efficient project coordination, but a basic precondition for a successful project management and sustainability is the willingness of the consortium partners to retain the project’s objectives a high-level priority, to cooperate and to amend their organizational structure/ institutional guidelines accordingly. Partners actively participate in all meetings and activities, as well provide the supporting documentation in a timely manner. Set financial and technical management of the project from partners in line with the EU procedures and according to the requested timetable.
The commitment of project partners to sign the partnership agreement with the coordinator.
Project partners share on a timely manner the required inputs and supporting documentation for the draft of the monitoring reports and the successful development of the external audit procedure. Partner provides information on the state of art of project implementation at their organization, in line with LFM and set indicators. Partner provides feedback to the coordinator in terms of the quality of the activities implemented. As for activities related to project management, in the Kick off Meeting (WP1 Preparation), the Consortium will formalize the conditions and the rules behind the cooperation in the partnership agreement which will be discussed and signed by the partners.
8.1 Day to day mng of the project;
8.2. Mid-Term reporting;
8.3. External Evaluation and Audit;
8.4 Final Reporting
WP9 – Sustainability
9.1. Develop the methodology for the sustainability strategy.
9.2. Sustainability Plan for RISS
9.3. Sustainability plan for online network