On August 30- 31st, 2011, the European Research Project LOCALISE was kicked off in Oldenburg, Germany. During two days of intensive work and fruitful discussions, 12 researchers from six European countries developed a detailed working plan for the next three years.
The meeting started on Tuesday morning with an initial statement by Heiko Prange-Gstöhl from the European Commission. Martin Heidenreich (Scientific Coordinator) and Sebastian Künzel (Project Manager) from the Jean Monnet Centre for Europeanisation and Transnational Regulations (CETRO) in Oldenburg, Germany, gave an introduction to the project. The project research is based on two administrative (1 and 8 ) and six contentual (2-7) work packages, each led by one of the European partners: Thierry Berthet from the Centre Emile Durkheim (CED) in Bordeaux, France, leads the work package № 2 with the aim to investigate the national governance of integrated social cohesion policy. He presented a draft for the National Reports in this work package, which are going to be drawn up until the end of 2011. The third work package is led by Martin Heidenreich (CETRO) and consists of the analyses of regional income and employment inequalities by multivariate and multilevel analyses of the socio-economic factors shaping regional and national patterns of income inequalities in Europe. This data is crucial for the case selection in other work packages.
In the fourth work package, the researchers focus on the local level and its dealing with reforms in social and employment policies. The introduction by the work package leader Ron McQuaid from Edinburgh Napier University (ENU), UK led to an effective discussion on common research methods. The partners agreed to elaborate a common interview guideline for the expert interviews which will be conducted in 2012. The fifth work package investigates the impact of European social and employment policies on the local level: how does the local level deal with those European backgrounds? Paolo Graziano from the Department of Institutional Analysis and Public Management at Bocconi University in Milan (IAM), Italy, is the Leader of this work package, on which the partner will focus during 2013. After looking at the national, European and local level, the sixth work package is dedicated to the so called street-level. Case managers and beneficiaries are going to be interviewed in the framework of this work package, which is led by Christina Garsten from Stockholms centrum för forskning om offentlig sector (SCORE) in Stockholm, Sweden. Sławomir Mandes from the Institute of Sociology at the University of Warsaw (ISUW), Poland, is the leader of the seventh – and last contentual – work package, which does research on the impact of the policies investigated in the former work packages on the most vulnerable groups in the society, like eg. lone mothers. Beside these very interesting presentations and discussions on the upcoming research, the participants got also an introduction to the LOCALISE homepage and to management and dissemination issues by Sebastian Künzel (Project Manager), Nils Müller and Katharina Zimmermann from the Oldenburg LOCALISE team.
The kick-off meeting was judged as very fruitful and successful by all partners. Detailed theoretical and practical results were achieved and a clear working plan for the next months until the progress meeting in Edinburgh was agreed on.