Generation Innovation across Europe
Support 4 young researchers from Austria, the Czech Republic, Ukraine & Germany in this European pilot project!
Introduction to the project consortium:
a cultural, historical and geographical kaleidoscope
The guiding idea for establishing the project consortium consisting of universities in Lviv, Olomouc, Magdeburg and Vienna was to create a sensible gradient of places ranging from the East to the West. At the same time, we wanted to juxtapose dominant stereotypes in society. In Germany, for instance, Magdeburg is commonly considered Eastern European, while from a European perspective it is geographically deeply rooted in the West. The same applies vice-versa for Lviv—the Westernmost city in the context of Ukraine, but situated in the East if compared to the other project locations. Olomouc is usually perceived as belonging to the European periphery, while in fact it is at the very heart of our consortium—only 2 . hours drive away from Vienna in the South.
A closer look at the European geography can be quite revealing and challenging in regard to the mental maps and culturally mediated misconceptions we keep in our heads. However, it does not tell us much about the lives and future expectations of the people who live in these places. If you are interested in the latter, you need to leave your desk and travel! The first important step in understanding what is personally relevant to the people, is that researchers move into their everyday life territories and physically meet with them. This notion particularly applies to a participative research project that requires the collaboration of the other people. They are not merely the objects of your investigation, but should become valuable experts of your research team. Understanding them means experiencing them inside and also outside of the classroom. The physical time spent together is not only a specific prerequisite for building trusting and committed relationships among the members of our participative project team, but also a general requirement for creating high-quality results out of the interaction between researchers and the people of your investigation.
1) Lviv Workshop (Feb. 9-12 2016) at Ukrainian Catholic University
Lviv, Lvov, Leopolis, Lemberg—these are only a few of the names for one of the most dynamic cities in Ukraine. Since Ukraine’s independence from the USSR in 1991, Lviv has been the starting point of already two civic revolutions: the Orange Revolution in 2004 and the Maidan Revolution in 2014. In both cases the people of Ukraine would not have been victorious if they had not been backed by the enthusiasm and courage of the young generation of Lviv. Hence, there probably could not be a better place to start a European youth research project. The critical challenge of the first project workshop in Lviv was to consolidate our consortium. The participants were majorly young academics recruited from four different countries (Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine). They all had not worked together with one another before. Furthermore, they came from many different disciplines: psychology, sociology, philosophy, media communication studies, adult education etc. The only thing in common was that all were dedicated to the joint experiment of investigating the young generation in Europe: their everyday lives and future perspectives. More specific research questions we were expected to develop out of the interactive process that was lying in front of us. To build a community, you have to provide spaces for practical interaction, personal exchange and free trial. You also need to equip the group with a minimum of communicative skills and orientation.
YOUTH IN LVIV: “We are the best generation that ever lived in Ukraine … and the next one will be even better!”
In retrospect, the success of the Lviv Workshop has been decisive for the remaining research project as a whole. One of the most surprising first results of our investigation in Lviv was the positive outlook young people had on their future, while in Vienna for instance they were more critical and depressed about it. We did not expect so much optimism in a “war-torn country”, as which Ukraine is commonly considered in the news and in public opinion.
Enriched with the personal experience of their joint research, the participants went home with new questions, skills and knowledge that they could apply on the investigation of their local communities. Until the following workshop in Olomouc the participants’ task was to continue their research and discuss their individual findings, when the project group would reunite.
2) Olomouc Workshop (April 25-27 2016) at Palacky University
Olomouc is a quite remarkable place for conducting participatory youth research. The city has only around 100.000 residents, but its university (Palacky University) is the biggest of the project consortium, with eight faculties (including natural sciences and humanities). It currently hosts appr. 24000 students, but unlike in Lviv, Magdeburg or Vienna most these students do not permanently live in the city. The student come from all around the country and are regularly returning to their homes on weekends. Already on Wednesday the gradually decreasing number of students becomes noticeable in the public places of Olomouc. Hence, one of the most interesting topics of our workshop was to understand, how it is to be young in Olomouc. Apart from that we shared our first preliminary results from Lviv, Magdeburg and Vienna, based on the empirical research that was conducted by the project participants in these places (interviews, group discussions etc.).
YOUTH IN OLOMOUC: “We feel responsible towards our parents and our society”
At the end of the Olomouc workshop we were confronted with a lot of heterogeneous information on young people living in Europe (i.e. Lviv, Olomouc, Magdeburg and Vienna) that was hard to synthesize. Young people in Olomouc did not share the same amount of optimism towards the future as in Lviv. At the same time, they were more considerate towards their parents and society than in Vienna. However, by contrast to Magdeburg the self definition of young people in Olomouc seemed to be more focused on Czech nationality than Europeanness. Evidently, while it was yet too soon to jump to conclusions, we had started to see the phenomenon of youth in Europe in a more differentiated way. Our empirical findings suggested that the big contemporary concepts for describing young people—like “Generation Y” or “millennials”—did not fit the way they described themselves in different geographical places. We thus were curious to dive further into the project and increase the scope of our investigations. Each project member started acting as a multiplicator to include further people and intensify our research.
3) Magdeburg Workshop (July 8-9 2016) at Otto-von-Guericke University
From a topical political perspective, Magdeburg appeared to be a very important place of investigation for understanding the life situations and perspectives of young people in 2016. 26% of 18-24 year olds had just elected the national party Alternative for Germany in regional elections. This was contrasted by the fact that our Magdeburg workshop was hosted by pro-European students of the study programme for European studies at the faculty of humanities. They had found a high degree of Europeanness in the sample of young people interviewed on the streets of the city. Apart from our interest in the local situation of young people in Magdeburg, we continued our comparison of the ongoing investigations in Lviv, Olomouc and Vienna.
YOUTH IN MAGDEBURG: “We are Europeans!”
The results of the Magdeburg workshop were important for the further project development. The discussion and reflection of the empirical findings from Lviv, Olomouc, Magdeburg and Vienna enabled us to more clearly evaluate the differences and similarities between young people. Young people in the cities of investigation were different in terms of their personal outlooks on the future (e.g. more optimistic outlook in Lviv and more pessimistic outlook in Vienna), but comparable in terms of their values and beliefs (e.g. being pro-European and standing for a democratic and open society in all the cities), their (high) educational background and their (female) gender. This became even more evident when we were looking at the statistics of the regional elections in Saxony-Anhalt. The voters of the nationalistic AfD were majorly male and coming from a low or medium educational background. At the workshop in Magdeburg we also discussed methodological challenges of participatory research. As our initial core team of project members expanded, more and more young people got involved in the research process, that had not conducted qualitative social research before. Therefore, we had to come up with thoughts and ideas for improving their methodological training. As a first step (already after the Lviv workshop), we had provided the project participants with methodological literature. Gradually we found out, however, that it was hard to understand without professional guidance. For the upcoming months, we therefore started to develop a more efficient pedagogical concept to tackle the practical research requirements of our investigation. We called it project “Shlomo”—a quick guide to qualitative research (see project “Shlomo”).
4) Vienna Workshop (Dec. 7-8 2016) at Sigmund Freud University
Vienna was the birth place of our project and it was also the city where we concluded it. During the project year, we had involved hundreds of aspiring young researchers in four different countries, had been working with them and learning from them. Now it was time to bring it all together and exchange our personal reflections within our international project team. In terms of an external evaluation and contextualization of our results we invited Rainer Gries (Franz-Vranitzky-Chair for European Studies at the University of Vienna and professor for psychological anthropology at Sigmund Freud Private University) and Gerhard Benetka (dean of the faculty of psychology SFU). At the workshop, we had the opportunity to discuss our findings with them and develop future perspectives for the project’s continuation in 2017.
YOUTH IN VIENNA: “We want to arrive!”
At the Vienna workshop we agreed on the following directions for further research: The generation of young researchers that participated in our project and all the hundreds of other students that got involved in our study have qualified as true Europeans, no matter if they came from Lviv, Magdeburg, Olomouc or Vienna. Surprisingly, in regard to their future outlook, the people of Lviv were the most optimistic ones; even though (or maybe because) they are the least privileged? —e.g. two project participants (Sasha and Valentina from Lviv) could not participate in the Vienna workshop, as they did not receive their visa in time. When looking at patterns of similarity between the young researchers across Europe we could notice the absence of three key topics, that commonly play an important role in public discourse: religion, peace and health. The reasons behind this phenomenon will be subject to further investigation. Another focus will be further participative research with uneducated or educationally underprivileged people. Our project demonstrated that young researchers do not automatically relate to these social spheres (and we assume this could be reciprocal).
Welchen gesellschaftspolitischen Zweck hat das Projekt erfüllt?
Conventional youth research (e.g. Shell study) by tradition is an undemocratic soliloquy of privileged elders. The young people who are subject to this kind of research are neither involved during planning, nor implementation, nor data analysis. Instead they are considered as “research subjects” whose sole task is to deliver information to the researchers. The latter will categorize and classify the information according to their “objective” standards and then publish the “results”. We have yet to address, however, an even greater complication of classical youth research: No matter if the results are right or wrong (“validity”), the conclusions have a substantial effect on public opinion and political decision processes—they can even lead to legal policies that will regulate the lives of young people. This brief analysis exposes the inherent cynicism of large-scale “representative” youth research: it is a highly biased process that consolidates the position of the privileged at the expense of the young.
With the project “Generation Innovation across Europe” we have realized the socio-political goal of creating an alternative model of youth research: we conceive youth research as participatory, dialogical and democratic. For almost one year the young project participants have had the opportunity to investigate the questions that were truly relevant to them. Senior researchers were present, but only in the role of mentors, consultants, discussants. One direct methodological advantage of this procedure is, that the research results evidently have an unmatched validity: after all they are created by the those who are affected by the investigation. Of even greater importance is, however, that the young researchers could personally grow on the experience and practice they received from the participation in the project. There hardly is a better assurance for the sustainability of the project: the systematically empowered young researchers will become self-confident initiators of further research.
European and cosmopolitan perspective
Contemporary youth concepts like “generation y” or “millennials” are typically neglecting regional influences on the lives of young people. But is it really the same to grow up in Lviv, Olomouc, Magdeburg or Vienna; or what about living in a big city as compared to the country side? The project enabled us to look more closely on the specific life situations of young people in different places. It can be regarded as a treasure of incredible value, to personally experienced how young people are living and how they are approaching problems in other parts of Europe. Europe is not a concept; it is physical practice! Our young project participants have understood this notion and are now in the position of passing it on to other people.
Potential analysis of future generation
Apart from the content that was produced during the project, we also had the opportunity to evaluate how young people from different cities and countries collaborate. In this regard the project participants have demonstrated an astounding will to cooperate and respect one another. No matter in what city we carried out our workshops it always felt like home. This is important news for political decision makers. Your education programmes are working! This young generation of educated Europeans values the achievements of the EU and shares a cosmopolitan perspective on their lives, irrespective of where they come from.
Wie waren Reaktionen anderer zu diesem Projekt?
renowned professor of developmental psychology and pedagogy who has been holding positions at LMU Munich, University of Vienna and Sigmund Freud Private University
"The project actively fosters the practical skills of inducing individual exchange, intergenerational and intercultural comparison. In the sense that young participants are personally affected by the subject of their investigation, their results stand a better chance of effecting a deeper understanding of what is relevant to the young generation(s) in Europe. The most important lesson to be learnt from “Generation Innovation across Europe”, however, is that it empowered young people to start developing their own projects out of it and take the future into their own hands. In the sense of “Jugend forscht” this quality is not only of academic importance, but decisive for Europe as a whole."
Franz-Vranitzky-Chair for European Studies at the University of Vienna, Professor for psychological anthropology at Sigmund Freud Private University Vienna
"Generation Innovation across Europe is a truly European project that is transgressing borders in many ways and therefore is pointing into the right direction: professors and students are working together in an international and interdisciplinary environment; the financing of the research is participative and cooperative (crowd funding). The stimulation of encounters between young people from Germany, Austria, Ukraine and Czechia can be regarded as a vital impulse for the formation of a European identity."
Academic staff, study advisor/student counsellor at Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg
"I like the project, because it makes young people think about their view on Europe. This is particularly the case for the project participants, but also for those who are prompted by the interview. This makes Europe more tangible than the political debates which are often dominated by the older generation."
Researcher, Ivan Franko Institute, Academy of Sciences, and Institute for Psychoanalysis, Lviv (Ukraine), 2014-2015 Visiting fellow of the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), Vienna
"In times of massive insecurities and uncertainties, when the very basis of our everyday lives and the ‘global of consensus’ of our societies seem to change more and more rapidly, it is crucial to precisely understand the future perceptions, visions, desires, but also the fears of a European generation that will soon be setting the tone for all of us. By contrast to what populists pretend to be ‘the will of the people’, it is important to reflect critically on what this ‘will’ really is. In giving young people in different places of Europe a voice, this project provides an indispensable contribution to answering this question."
Associate Researcher at the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC), Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Rome (Italy)
“A participatory research project funded via crowd funding must be considered a promising start: crowdfunding is the fundamental key to assure the continued existence of independent research at the service of the people; and participatory research guarantees the authenticity of the social research output in content and form. The combination of both forms an important answer to the growing pressure of commercial interests in scientific research!"
journalist and columnist for “Die Zeit”, www.zeit.de
"Since the end of world war II we could see a steady improvement of the life situations of young people from generation to generation. This trend has been turned upside down in recent times. Thus, we are in desperate need for research projects like ‘Generation Innovation across Europe” that help us shed light onto this phenomenon and sketch new ways for the renewal of Europe."
Chair of the Niels-Bohr-Center for Cultural Psychology, University of Aalborg (Denmark)
"This project is a pioneering effort in the study of future society in the European Union. Its key idea—getting young people to study issues of youth in various European countries not only to find out about their differences, but, more importantly, discovering their youthful and futures-oriented commonalities—is the main value of this project. The youth researching youth has a further important contribution for the future—direct sharing of experiences of mutual visits, discussions, establishing relations, and much more—all contribute to the European Union of borderless sharing of values of democracy and innovation."
Wofür wurde das gespendete Geld konkret ausgegeben?
When the project was conceived, we projected the following cost:
Appr. 80% of the budget will be used for funding innovative young researchers from Austria, Ukraine, Germany and the Czech Republic.
Appr. 15% of the budget will be used for travel, subsistence and other project related costs.
Appr. 5% of the budget will be used for coordination & organization of the project.
The real costs of the project were distributed as follows:
60% of the budget was used for funding innovative young researchers from Austria, Ukraine, Germany and the Czech Republic.
22% of the budget was needed for travel, subsistence and other project related costs.
12% of the budget was needed for communication purposes (events, logos, design etc.)
5% of the budget were used for coordination & organization (administration) of the project
As can be deduced from this overview, the changes in the budget occurred from two necessities that occurred during the course of the project:
1) the actual costs for travelling and subsistence were higher than projected due to higher real costs at the workshop cities Lviv, Magdeburg, Olomouc and Vienna; also additional travelling was needed for personal exchange and further training of the young researchers during the project.
2) as can be gathered from the projected budget overview, we had underestimated the need for communication measures to bring our project to the public. This regards the organization of events, professional photograph, designs, layouted and printed material, etc. We learnt during the project, that the results of innovative research do not speak by themselves. They need an adequate and professional presentation to be effective.
We sincerely hope that the changes we applied to our projected budget will be accepted as reasonable by the evaluating bodies. Please consider our final report as a tangible proof that the money was well invested.
Wie werden Sie die Mildtätigkeit des Projektes nachweisen?
Worum geht es in dem Projekt?
Empowering Young European Talents!
The innovative goal of this project is to support Europe’s young talents in the field of social and cultural sciences! The team members will be recruited from 4 different European countries, where 4 renowned universities advocate the project: Sigmund Freud University Vienna (Austria), Ukrainian Catholic University Lviv (Ukraine), Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg (Germany) and Palacky-University Olomouc (Czech Republic).
The future of Europe depends on the next generation. But hardly anyone listens to them—even less so at the Eastern periphery of the continent. We therefore want to support junior researchers in 4 European countries to jointly investigate what is relevant and innovative for their own generation.
In this regard the project will profit from topical research findings at Sigmund Freud University Vienna and at the Franz Vranitzky Chair for European Studies at the University of Vienna.
Talking about my generation...
In preliminary research at Sigmund Freud University (SFU) Vienna we have asked 100 young people to tell us what the future holds for them, what they dream about, what they strive for in life. In terms of their innovative potentials there seem to be large differences between urban and rural areas as well as between Western and Eastern European countries. What might work in one place does not necessarily turn into a success story elsewhere. Through our network of partner universities across Europe (Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine) we would like to investigate the driving innovation factors for young people coming from various social, cultural and national backgrounds.
Was passiert mit dem Geld bei erfolgreicher Finanzierung?
Appr. 80% of the budget will be used for funding innovative young researchers from Austria, Ukraine, (Eastern) Germany and the Czech Republic.
Appr. 15% of the budget will be used for travel, subsistence and other project related costs.
Appr. 5% of the budget will be used for coordination & organization of the project.
Fostering the cooperation of "innovative young researchers" across Europe
Young people today are living in a time of crisis and skepticism that influences their understanding of the past, present and future. We would like to investigate the similarities and differences of young people through the international matrix of our partner universities situated in Austria, (Eastern) Germany, the Czech Republic and Ukraine. By doing so we would like to support the network with regional universities in Lviv, Olomouc, Magdeburg, in order to compensate the competitive disadvantage they usually have in relation to universities located in capital cities. In regard to the proposed research project the individual partners of the consortium are furthermore capable of contributing a wide range of interdisciplinary competencies, such as: e.g. cultural psychology, psychotherapy science and qualitative research methodology (Sigmund Freud Private University Vienna), history and historical anthropology (OvGU Magdeburg), theory of consumer culture and philosophy of art (Palacký-University Olomouc), journalism and psychology (Ukrainian Catholic University Lviv), etc.
Jan. 2016: Project Start
Selection of candidates, setting up the consortium, preparing empirical research workshops and workshops regarding European and national funding programs, organizing travel and housing for team members
Feb. 2016: 1st Partner Meeting (Lviv, Ukraine)
Getting to know the group members, research workshop and preparation of empirical research; presentation of European and national research funds
Feb-Apr. 2016: Research Phase 1
field research and group discussions at the four project locations
Apr. 2016: 2nd Partner Meeting (Olomouc, Czech Republic)
Presentation of preliminary results & joint data analysis workshop, discussion of sampling strategy for research phase 2; discussion of intervention and dissemination measures; discussion of options for applying to further national or European research funding programmes
Apr.-Jul. 2016: Research Phase 2
Data analysis and strategic collection of further data; preparation of applications for further research funding programs
Jul. 2016: 3rd Partner Meeting (Magdeburg, Germany)
Aim: Comparative data analysis of results; planning of joint intervention and dissemination strategies, planning of final project presentation
Nov. 2016 Final Presentation (Vienna, Austria) / Project End
Society as a whole will benefit from the innovative potential set free by young people that are 1) better educated, 2) culturally sensitive, and 3) capable of jointly working together within international and interdisciplinary projects. This project further fosters the exchange of knowledge and experience within the partner institutions and different countries within Europe.
Beneficiaries of the project are also the institutional partners, who will receive an improvement of their research capacities as well as the young researchers themselves, who will be given the unique opportunity to can realize their own work perspectives within basic and applied research.
Sustainability & Outcome
The major goal of this Call4Europe project is to make optimal use of the provided funds. We will form a strategic European partnership amongst the “innovative young researchers” (and their universities), that enables them to jointly qualify for the application of further European funds. Hence, substantially the project outcome will be an application to one of the more substantial funding programmes (e.g. ERASMUS+, CEEPUS, FWF- and OeAD-programs, HORIZON 2020 etc.). In terms of sustainability we expect that this will help the young members of the project team to take the next step up the innovation ladder.Projektstandort: Freudplatz 1, 1020 Wien, Österreich
Extension of the project deadline
Our project was planned to be finished by Nov. 30 2016. However, we had to prolong this deadline by appr. two weeks in order to complete the project. Some of the participating young researchers had exams at the end of November 2016 and were unable to travel to our final workshop in Vienna, where we needed to conclude our results and discuss the final report. As the deadline for handing in the final report was Dec. 16 2016, we decided to postpone the final workshop to Dec. 7-8 2016, which gave us another week to finish the project and our final report by Dec. 16 2016.
This interim report contains the documentation of our project activities from February until June/July 2016. So far we have organized 3 project workshops with young researchers at Ukrainian Catholic University (Feb. in Lviv, Ukraine), Palacky University (April in Olomouc, Czech Republic) and Otto-von-Guericke University (July in Magdeburg, Germany). Almost 100 young project participants were recruited from different countries and different disciplines. But our approach also caught the attention of senior researchers in the field. The report provides a detailed list of the topics the young students have been working on. It also explains how they helped us to organize local events and apply for further funding to enable the extension of our project to other cities in Europe. The final results of the project will be presented at our last project workshop at Sigmund Freud University Vienna (Austria) in December.