The Bridge Building Summer School on Social Welfare was a response to the need for capacity building from the 2016 Launch event ("Building Bridges in Social Welfare Policy in Eastern Europe" (19 September 2016 in Vienna) regarding joint research, project acquisition and project development, especially, in the areas of youth unemployment, labour market policy, healthy and active ageing and demographic change. The starting points of the summer school were joint economic and societal challenges the EU countries, the potential candidate countries and the EaP countries were facing, such as the current migration wave, demographic change and the various economic challenges in the aftermath of the crisis. The challenges in social welfare were reflected and answered to overcome the challenges discussed with both, academic inputs and good practice contributions (e.g. social innovations). By implementing the summer school, we built upon our network established between researchers, governments and civil society organisations, the Eastern European Social Policy Network. Speakers from research and applied science as well as from civil society and from public authorities provided high-level inputs and up-to-date knowledge for the summer school participants; thereby stimulating policy dialogue among its participants and beyond.
The summer school’s objective was to contribute to improving European Cohesion by:
The summer school stimulated an interactive, participatory and reflective learning process amongst the participants. Various innovative learning methods were applied such as design thinking, concept maps, brain walking and peer learning. It also provided training in project acquisition and management, helped participants to develop preliminary project ideas by taking a hands-off approach and support them by providing hints on how to best respond to upcoming calls of various programmes (e.g. IPA/EU-funded calls) with collaborative research projects.
The main outcomes of the summer school included the learning from best practices, the exchange of experiences, and the development of collaborative work by strengthening the Eastern European Social Policy Network (EESPN). Further information is provided here.