Participation and Involvement
Altogether more than 250 European researchers have participated to the activities of the network, not counting for episodic participations to annual conferences and thematic workshops (this is in line with our initial estimates, even though the effective composition is quite different from our expectations). Over 330 different doctoral students have participated to on average two training activities, which is more than the double of the initial expectations – and this is without taking into account their participation to projects.
Age and gender issues
Overall the participation is very near to EC objectives with 40% of women (37%, above our initial objectives). However the composition reflects historical trends with 53% of women in the age group under 30 (15% of total members involved), 41% of women in the 30-45 age group and only 25% above 45 years (see graph).
Groups and organisations involved
42 organisations contracted within the EC for the PRIME NoE contract. A few changes took place in organisations involved but this did not change the number of groups involved. On the contrary, some partners enlarged their participation through the involvement of new groups (4 in total). The core of enlargement (11 organisations) has been through the inclusion of new organisations via one group each and, for nearly all of them, the participation in only one theme (and even one activity).
On average, excluding governance bodies and annual conferences, organisations have participated to just over 6 different activities out of nearly 70 different ones supported by PRIME with nearly 60% involved in at least 5 activities.
How are organisations and contractors involved ? The Management Team has identified 4 main profiles (2007 management report). One profile dealt with limited involvement (only general activities of the network and at best some students being included in training activities, 10 groups including 2 Swiss affiliates who never got involved). The second profile gathers those groups involved in only a few prime activities (1 or 2 at any time, thus up to 6-8 over the lifetime of the NoE), generally focused on one theme and with additional involvement in training. Within this second group, a difference has to be made between groups that involved themselves in collective dimensions associated to the governance of the NoE (7 groups, most of which have had a continuous activity) and those who did not (the larger share, 15 groups, many of which were only involved in one research project). Finally the core group of multi-activity players involved all over the life of the NoE represents 15 institutions (gathering 24 research entities).
|multiactivity||Involved in 1-2 NoE activities (and often in 1 theme only)||Only involved in general (and in training) activities|
|And involvement in governance||Armines
|In R and training||CNRS
* never active in the NoE
** no longer active (neither in general activities, not in training activities)
*** situation changed when key researchers (very involved in PRIME activities and governance) left and ISI redefined its strategic orientation
Lessons for the future
These figures tell about a differentiated involvement, which justified our initial approach of full and associate members. When compared with our initial anticipations, there is quite a difference. Thus whatever structure adopted, there must be room for adaptation (e.g. if only to adapt to changing institutional strategies as for FhG). It also tells that the “core group” is not made of only a few institutions (3 to 7 as proposed by the NoE review), but more around 10 to 15 (with around 10 more ready to play a collective role in specific activities).
Enlargement : 11 new partners have joined the initial partnership. The consortium agreement proposed that members can add new partners in their activities provided they add original competences to the overall participation. This has been the case for the study of spin-off firms (University of Nottingham, University of Ghent), projects on universities (RHUL, University of Bergen, University of Paris Sud, Université Catholique de Louvain la Neuve, CIPES associated with the University of Porto), new positioning indicators on project funding (University of Tarttu, University of Warsaw, the Czech institute of Higher education, CSVS), training activities (University of Lund).
Reorganisations and departures : we often say that universities are stable organisations with limited changes. Still we have witnessed some changes : The Budapest University of Economics (BUESPA) did not consider our field as interesting and let the IKU group leave and create its own structure. Clarifications between Swiss higher education institutions in Lausanne (Switzerland) ended the joint affiliation of OSPS which drove EPFL to quit the NoE. Two Norwegian institutions, NIFU and STEP, merged. Finally one group changed affiliation driving to a change of participation, the University of Pisa replacing SSSUP.