Strengthening Research Support: a study visit to CESIE by Science and Research Center Koper

Wednesday 10 July 2024

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As part of the KRPAN project – Strengthening Research Support and Activities for Progress on European Research Projects), Živa Semolič – project officer from ZRS Koper, Slovenia – joined a dynamic study visit hosted by CESIE ETS in Palermo. Visit aimed to enhance international collaboration and gain insights into organisational processes, project development, networking, administrative and financial project management.

 A warm welcome and in-depth introduction

After a warm welcome and comprehensive introduction by Jelena Mazaj – Coordinator of the Higher Education and Research Unit – and Maja Brkusanin from the Networking Office, the CESIE ETS team gave a detailed tour of the offices, introducing all thematic units and the overall organizational structure. 

Jelena Mazaj delved deeper into the Higher Education and Research Unit’s work with detailed information about the unit’s structure, activities, research topics, and collaborative efforts. Her presentation on the use of an open-source online depository and the strategies for tackling new centralized calls, including partnership formations, was particularly insightful. Maja Brkusanin also led an engaging session about networking activities showing practical examples of organizing international networking events and stressing the importance of maintaining professional networks. 

It was fascinating to see how CESIE ETS integrates different elements and involves several other departments to foster a collaborative environment. 

Afterwards, Živa Semolič introduced ZRS Koper institutes and project office, highlighting the approach to project development and research such as social studies, linguistic studies, philosophical and religious studies, historical studies, environmental studies and so on.

Francesca Vacanti, from the CESIE ETS Project Development Office, then talked about the internal process of project applications, from the idea selection to writing successful project proposals. Her emphasis on internal knowledge transfer and cross-unit collaboration was particularly enlightening.

Exploring Rights and Justice area

Ruta Grigaliunaite representing the Rights and Justice Unit, has introduced the unit’s research topics and activities. She explored potential collaborations on various HORIZON, CERV, JUSTICE, and AMIF funding opportunities, offering an overview of open calls and possible partnerships. 

Human Resources management was also one of the main topics of the exchange. Rita Quisillo provided an overview of the Human Resources and organizational structure at CESIE ETS . She discussed the development of software aimed at improving the management and recording of in-house activities. This innovative approach to process automation and traceability was impressive and highlighted the potential for increased efficiency and planning capacity.

Financial Management 

The study visit concluded with a presentation by Adriana Micales, CESIE ETS’s Financial Manager, on the financial management aspects of European research projects. She discussed her unit’s involvement in budgeting, funding strategies and financial reporting processes, providing a solid understanding of how to manage financial aspects effectively.

In summary: A valuable exchange of practices and strategies

Maja Brkusanin concluded the formal sessions with an overview of the Networking Office, outlining its initiatives, networking events, and discussing ongoing and future projects, with focus on the partnership development. 

This experience has been immensely beneficial, providing new perspectives and strategies for enhancing research and project development efforts, as well as collaboration opportunities between ZRS Koper and CESIE ETS.