The face of Europe is constantly changing. One of the main reasons is the incorporation of new countries into the fold. This presents new challenges – advantages as well as difficulties. The importance of seamless integration of new countries cannot be understated, not only for the new member country but for the benefit of the community as a whole. The EU-funded project 'Central European research in transport infrastructure' (Certain) undertook the role of facilitator for the integration of the EU New Member States (NMS) and other Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) at its inception in 2006. In particular, Certain focused on integrating the new countries into the research and development community. Their aims were to reap the benefits of research in any new member country and to minimise duplication of work. There are many barriers to integration but language is usually a major obstacle. To this end, the Certain consortium arranged seven workshops in six mother languages for three Specific Targeted Research Projects (STREPs) on road infrastructure research. Many of the project documents were also translated into the different languages. The workshops successfully increased awareness of research in other Member States and gave their delegates the opportunity to incorporate results in their practical work. The venues also allowed NMS and CEEC to attend and present information at major international conferences on road infrastructure research. Partners also organised training courses for leaders of European research so that work from NMS and CEEC countries can play a more prominent role. For dissemination purposes, a multi-lingual Internet platform was made available. This targets end-users in particular, including representatives from road administration, designers, construction companies and industry. Initiatives and models created by the Certain project can be implemented at any time to help new countries to integrate successfully. Additionally, research at individual country or regional level can be utilised on a pan-European basis, regardless of language and length of time served under the umbrella of the EU.
Central European Research in TrAnsport INfrastructure
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