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Central European Research in TrAnsport INfrastructure

Final Report Summary - CERTAIN (Central European research in transport infrastructure)

The aim of the EC-funded Coordination Action CERTAIN was to facilitate integration of the EU New Member States (NMS) and other Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC) into the established road infrastructure research of the European Union.

CERTAIN was comprised of four work packages (WPs), as follows:

WP1 provided the necessary clustering environment for the STREP projects from the same call: SPENS, Arches, Heavyroute, and other relevant on-going projects in which they were working in synergy to provide maximum output for the NMS and CEEC without duplicating their work.

Since language is considered to be a major obstacle for efficient dissemination of European research results in the NMS and CEEC, WP2 organised seven workshops in six mother languages to attract much higher number of the interested end-users than usually attend international conferences. The aim of the workshops was to promote wide dissemination of results from the clustered project through organisation of national workshops in mother languages and workshops attached to the major European events in the area of road research. Lack of information delivered to the end-users from the NMS and CEEC in their languages and their limited attendance to the European or international conferences are without any doubt two of the main reasons that the results of European research projects are poorly implemented in these countries. Thus, the two specific objectives of WP2 were:
- to deliver results of the European road infrastructure research projects, especially the STREP projects from the CERTAIN cluster dedicated to NMS and CEEC, to the end-users in these countries through workshops organised in mother languages;
- to present experiences and specifics of road infrastructure research in NMS and CEEC in a form of workshops at major international events in the area of road infrastructure.
WP3 focused on training courses for leaders of European research projects.
WP4 concerned the dissemination of results through web-based systems and through direct contacts.

All workshops, national and international, were not only presenting the European research projects. Their purpose was to invite the local researchers and end-users to share their experience from the areas of interest. The earlier workshops were providing the running research projects with the feedback on where to focus the research (what the real needs of the end-users were) and the later ones how to present the conclusions in the most efficient (end-user-friendly) ways. The four international events held in English should be seen as forums for exchange of information and opinions with other specialists in the fields who were not involved in the work of the SPENS and ARCHES consortia. Based on fruitful discussions at all events we can conclude that this was clearly achieved and that the members of ARCHES and SPENS consortia have obtained useful feedbacks that shaped conclusions of their work.

The workshops without any doubt fulfilled their purpose:
- by giving the listeners an overview of the research carried out by their foreign colleagues in other member states;
- by informing them about the possibilities to implement the results in their practical work; and
- by presenting the opportunities for their future involvement into trans-national research activities.
Participants of all events highly appreciated the possibility to obtain information in their mother languages.

The objective of the training of research project managers was to develop and implement a package of training for new and aspiring leaders of collaborative European projects. Greater integration of the NMS and CEEC into the European R&D, the European Research Area (ERA) and better implementation of road research require more active participation from these countries in the international research activities. CERTAIN organised courses where experienced research project leaders and other professionals taught the candidates, to great extent from NMS and CEEC, how to prepare and lead European research projects.

Secondment programme in the scope of CERTAIN project offered work / learn opportunity in an international environment at the FEHRL office in Brussels. The aim of this program was to familiarise the secondees from NMS with international project activities and provide them with the opportunity to enhance networking among the FEHRL institutes, the European Commission and other international organisations. The secondment expanded perspectives and increased motivation by experiencing different research concepts and cultures.

One of the main goals of CERTAIN project was to connect research sector with the industry and end-users. Considering research sector, CERTAIN project mainly focused on NMS and CEEC countries. Until the beginning of CERTAIN project, partners from some NMS countries have taken part in EU-funded projects on road infrastructure research, but without major responsibilities. CERTAIN organised training courses for leaders of European research projects, in order that partners from non EU-15 countries could play much more active role in the future European research activities. These courses were very successful and CERTAIN educated nearly 50 potential future project managers, from which 50 % came from NMS or CEEC countries. CERTAIN prepared a consistent multi-lingual internet platform for the projects and manage the common end-users group (road administrations, designers, construction companies, industry etc.). This is now providing an effective link between the road research activities (on European level and wider) and the implementation at local level. Since language can be a major obstacle for efficient dissemination of European research results in the NMS and CEEC, CERTAIN organised numerous workshops in mother languages to attract higher number of interested end-users and people from the industry that usually do not at-tend international conferences. For the same reason, some of the key documents of the SPENS and ARCHES projects were translated into mother languages of different NMS (CEEC) countries.

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