Coordination and organisation
The MC will meet twice a year to review progress, planned activities and general management issues. The MC will ensure that the key activities of this Action are completed according to the specified Milestones (see below). At the KoM the MC will elect the Steering Committee (SC) which consists of the chair, vice-chair, executive secretary and grant holder. The SC will meet at least twice a year and will consider specific or urgent management issues.
During the KoM also the five Working Groups (WGs) for the Strategic Research Clusters will be established. The WG leaders (as much as possible one male and one female leader per WG) will be designated. The following key activities will be scheduled:
- the WG Meetings (WGM) in which participants present their results and future tasks, followed by brain storming sessions, 2 WGM per year;
- multi-WG Meetings as soon as relevant the design and study of structural skins requires a multi-disciplinary holistic approach;
- the publication of joint scientific journal papers (at least one scientific journal paper per year) and state of the art research reports;
- the set-up of a specific website, each WG will keep it updated with publications (dissemination) and a calendar of the events;
- the organisation of scientific seminars, Short Term Scientific Missions and a Research Conference.
5 Milestones are defined as intermediate steps to achieve the objectives of this COST Action. The timing is specified in part F.
- Ms1 RER: collate and Report on Existing Research: the state of the art will summarise recently finalised research in Europe;
- Ms2 RCRa, RCRb, RCRc: collate and Report on Current Research: the state of the art summarises current and new research in Europe. The reports will be reference documents for the Strategic Research Clusters as well as for the preparation of new research projects;
- Ms3 CAW: launch of the COST Action Website with (public and password protected) sections for each WG: all participants will have the possibility to
upload documents (structured according to the Strategic Research Clusters) and to edit the calendar of events;
- Ms4 GEP: completion of the educational pack: the modular (modules linked to the Strategic Research Clusters) educational pack will be ready for dissemination at the final Research Conference;
- Ms5 FNRa, FNRb: review of possible Funding/deadlines for New Research: the report will be presented to the Management Committee after the second and the third year.
The WGs consist of all participants of the COST Action who want to contribute actively to the realisation of the goals and mission statement of the respective WGs. WGs are responsible for organising the WG Meetings, collecting and reviewing research data, publishing at least one joint scientific journal paper per year, establishing for the most relevant sub-topics (to be specified by the WGs) a state of the art research report, disseminating reports, organizing scientific visits and Short Term Scientific Missions, advancing knowledge exchange, assuring the quality of the website knowledge base, organising scientific seminars to explore multi-disciplinary and multi-sector opportunities and preparing new joint research grant proposals. Additionally, the WGs will organise a Research Conference after three years.
The WGs will be flexible and welcome additional researchers when appropriate. Industry based experts will be invited if questions require input from practitioners. European scientists will be able to access and consult up-to-date research reports, identify research teams active in their field and start scientific collaborations.
Liaison and interaction with other research programmes
For the achievement of the first and second milestone (Ms1 and Ms2) a collation of existing EU research activities is required. Already known are Contex-T, S(p)eedkits and Smartblind. Within the COST Action a questionnaire will be sent to the partners to include all relevant research projects.
Further logistic support is expected from the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) WG6 (Tension and Membrane Structures), the International Society Of Fabric Forming (ISOFF), the TensiNet Association, CEN TC248 WG4 (Coated fabrics) and CEN TC250 WG5 (Membrane Structures).
Gender balance and involvement of early-stage researchers
This COST Action will respect an appropriate gender balance in all its activities and the Management Committee will place this as a standard item on all its MC agendas. The Action will also be committed to considerably involve early-stage researchers. This item will also be placed as a standard item on all MC agendas.
Design offices, architecture teams and young research groups have often a better gender balance than conventional engineering departments. Teams working on energy performance, LCA, lightweight shell design, disaster relief shelters etc. have already a good representation of female researchers. Nevertheless, within the current expert/partner list the representation of female researchers is low. For the coordination of the Strategic Research Clusters the COST Action will respect the gender balance by appointing a male and a female leader for each WG. The Action will further support and strengthen the contribution of female researchers wherever possible.
The other main aim of the COST Action is to promote researchers’ mobility in the EU countries. This is particularly interesting for early-stage researchers who will be able to work in different centres of excellence relevant to their research. Each Strategic Research Cluster will motivate their young researchers to take advantage of the networking and to participate to workshops, Short Term Scientific Missions etc., moreover they will invite early-stage researchers to coordinate the main research sub-topics. In this way early-stage researchers and ‘grey eminence’ will jointly discuss research objectives and methodologies. Fresh thoughts and proposals based on expertise will be brought together.
In the list of experts about one third are early-stage researchers, while 22.5% are female.