Excellence in research, social and technological innovation project management

Project, network, platform; February 2017 – October 2019

Excellence-in-ReSTI was a project running between February 2017 and October 2019 funded by the Danube Transnational Programme, with the involvement of 11 partners from nine countries under the coordination of the Vienna-based non-profit research institute, Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI).

The main purpose of the project was to increase the knowledge and skills of early-stage project managers and students with regard to managing research, social and technological innovation (ReSTI) projects funded by Interreg or other transnational funding, such as Horizon 2020. For this reason, the project aimed to create a more enabling environment for knowledge transfer within the Danube Region (DR) by focusing on three main activities:

(1) a tailor-made pilot training programme and a related knowledge platform where information and training materials deemed most relevant for early-stage project managers and students are available;
(2) an Infodesk with easy-to-use checklists and information available for all stakeholders interested in managing ReSTI projects;
(3) a strategy and roadmap identifying the most pressing challenges in the management of ReSTI project in the DR, as well as recommending actionable steps leading to viable policy options to provide strategic direction for the
improvement of the institutional framework conditions for ReSTI projects in the DR.

• Increase competences in the implementation of research, social and technological innovation projects
• Increase employability of young graduates as project managers in these kinds of projects
• Develop strategies to improve research, social and technological innovation project participation

Need and (expected) impact:
The Danube Region and in particular some of its countries and regions are lagging behind in successfully applying for international funding for, and implementing and managing ReSTI projects. Ideas are present in the region
but early-stage and aspiring project managers and administrators might not be able to ‘translate’ them to fundable projects due to missing project management-related knowledge and skills.

The Excellence-in-ReSTI project aimed to address this shortcoming through:
(1) a pilot training programme aimed at young graduates and early-stage project managers interested in
enhancing their project management competencies and employability. The project offered a one-year programme (10/2018 – 07/2019) for 25 funded participants (who participated in a blended training programme with online courses and three physical meetings) and 55 non-funded participants (who had a fully online training) with five training modules, i.e. EU policies, project design, project management, social innovation and business innovation. The participants were selected through an online application procedure and their feedback was used to further enhance the quality of the training modules. The participants successfully finishing module(s) received online badges and a certificate. The training programme is freely available for all interested persons (after registration) here: https://resti.academy/

(2) a virtual Infodesk aimed at improving project-management-related knowledge needed for the successful submission of ReSTI projects. During the project duration, all interested stakeholders could ask concrete
questions on project management that were answered by the relevant project experts. After the project ended, a knowledge base was compiled from these questions (FAQ), which – together with a list of useful
project management-related technical terms (glossary) and tools – forms the sustainable part of the Infodesk platform. In addition, interested stakeholders may make a short self-test concerning their
existing knowledge level on ReSTI-related topics. The Infodesk is available here: https://desk.zoho.eu/portal/excellenceinresti 
(3) a strategy and roadmap document was finalised after the consultation with external stakeholders, such as policy-makers and policy-influencers from DR countries, with the aim of giving advice on how to improve our current online training system (project-level), and on measures to be taken to enhance PM skills for R&D&I projects (programme-level). The document focused on the recommendations and actions to be taken in support of enhancing R&D&I capacities in each country.

The strategy and roadmap is available here:

Macro-regional dimension:

The following countries were represented in the project: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.
With the exception of Germany, all Danube Region countries were involved in the pilot training programme (as funded or non-funded participants), and all DR countries were involved in the compilation of the strategy and
roadmap (through an online consultation process aimed at policy-makers and policy influencers).

Stakeholders involved:

Universities and academic organisations, research organisations, policy-making bodies (responsible for ReSTI project implementation or management), NGOs, CSOs, business organisations (the latter
ones mainly through online consultations and interviews within various project activities).

Budget and Funding: The project has been funded by the Danube Transnational Programme (ERDF, IPA) with the
overall budget: EUR 1.910.711

As sustainability measures, the project could benefit from networking and further funding provided by EUSDR stakeholders. The funding could serve to make certain training modules of the project and Infodesk more upto-date.
Further information: https://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/excellence-in-resti

Contact: Project Manager, Centre for Social Innovation, Gábor Szüdi (szudi@zsi.at)

Excellence-in-ReSTI Flagship Certificate