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TRAIN programme 2012 - Fostering Policy Dialogue in the Western Balkans, Berlin/Brussels‏ (Think Tanks Providing Research and Advice through Interaction and Networking)


Fostering Policy Dialogue in the Western Balkans

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Call for applications

TRAIN Programme: Fostering Policy Dialogue in the Western Balkans
Application deadline: 19 February 2012

The German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) is launching a call for applications for the 2012 edition of the TRAIN programme (Think Tanks Providing Research and Advice through Interaction and Networking).

Programme aims
The TRAIN programme seeks to foster a fruitful policy dialogue between think tanks and political actors in the Western Balkans (i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia). Especially with a view to the European integration process, the voice of regional think tanks and their impact upon national policy-making must be strengthened and their visibility and credibility vis-à-vis EU actors enhanced. In order to build the necessary institutional capacity in the countries concerned and to support networking within the region as well as in Brussels, the programme focuses on four areas:
- Training to build upon and enhance existing capacities;
- Regional co-operation to exchange good practices;
- Interaction with national political actors to influence policy debates;
- Networking with EU actors to increase visibility on the Brussels stage.

Target group
The TRAIN programme aims to support think tanks with a clear policy-oriented approach that focus on national, regional and/or international politics. Key aspects for the selection of participating institutes will be:
- Centrality of EU integration and related issues to the work of the think tank;
- Research capacity and professionalism as demonstrated through regular publications containing specific policy recommendations to decision-makers;
- Experience in communicating results of their research to relevant actors such as national parliaments, national media, and political parties.

The programme is open to the participation of two researchers from each selected think tank. Participating researchers should be full employees of their respective think tank and should commit to the programme for its entire duration. Junior researchers actively engaged in the drafting of the policy paper will be given precedence over more established staff members.

Programme content
The TRAIN programme is divided into four key stages:

1. An introductory regional seminar will offer the occasion to set the research agenda, exchange good practices, and begin networking. Targeted workshops will aim to enhance existing capacities with regard to the drafting of policy papers, media relations, and efficient dissemination strategies. This will set the stage for individual work on the policy paper. Participating think tanks will be expected to draft a policy paper closely related to a topic relevant to the EU integration process of their respective country and containing concrete advice and policy options.

2. A mid-term seminar in Berlin will allow for reviewing of the draft policy papers and discussion with relevant actors from the German policy scene on the chosen topics. Participants will receive feedback on both the content and structure of their papers and will be able to discuss regional best practices.

3. A wrap-up seminar in Brussels will allow the participating think tanks to present their findings to EU decision-makers and thus to establish contacts with relevant Brussels actors. They will discuss their policy papers with actors from different EU institutions (European Commission, European Parliament and Council of Ministers) and Brussels-based organisations and receive input in view of the dissemination of their results to national policy-makers.

4. The dissemination stage of the programme will take place at the national level and should bring together key decision-makers from the Parliament and relevant ministries. Building upon the findings in the policy papers, think tanks should establish a fruitful policy dialogue and actively feed their ideas into the policy process. The dissemination activities will be open to participants from the German embassies and political foundations on the ground. A final summary of the activities will be sent to the organisers in the form of a report at the end of the programme period.

Key benefits
The main benefits of the TRAIN programme lie in the capacity-building workshops and the networking opportunities awarded to two researchers from each participating think tank. All travel and accommodation expenses related to the participation in the programme will be borne or reimbursed by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). While no direct payments towards salaries can be made, each policy paper will be awarded a 500€ grant. Furthermore, the layout and printing of the final policy paper can be subsidised with up to 250€ (upon presentation of the printing receipt).

Programme outline
Application deadline: 19 February 2012.
Selection decision communicated to applicants: 27 February 2012.
Programme duration: March – December 2012.
- Regional Seminar: 22-25 March 2012.
- Draft papers submitted by: 1 June 2012.
- Berlin Seminar: 11-15 June 2012.
- Final papers submitted by: Mid-September 2012.
- Brussels Seminar: 17-21 September 2012.
- Dissemination of results to national decision-makers: October/November 2012.
- Final report due: 30 November 2012.

How to apply
The application form is available on the website of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP):
https://dgap.org/en/council/press/dgapinfo/train-program-2012-call-applications

To apply, please send the completed application form and the CVs of the two prospective participating researchers (max. two pages each) by 19 February 2012 at the latest via email to Theresia Toeglhofer (toeglhofer@dgap.org). The subject line should read “Application: [name of think tank]”.