The strategy on virtual networking includes monitoring of the Goals and Deliverables of the EuroXanth COST Action in the COVID-19 context, which is affecting the EuroXanth COST Action over the last 18 months of its activity. This includes the identification of gaps and proposing solutions, and discussing opportunities with the four EuroXanth Working Groups. In tight collaboration with the WG Leaders and Vice Leaders, calls for Virtual Mobility (VM) Grants will be opened and incoming applications will be evaluated by the EuroXanth Core Group with the mandate from the Management Committee using criteria that have been validated by Management Committee. Specifically, VM Grants shall be awarded to the best candidates who propose and manage virtual activities that will make a significant contribution to the achievement of the COST Action’s Objectives, as defined in the Memorandum of Understanding, the COST Action’s Goals and the Deliverables, as defined in the Work and Budget Plan.
The VNS Manager assists the Core Group in the evaluation process by compiling incoming applications, preparing evaluation grids (e.g. Excel sheets) and hosting virtual meetings (e.g. Teams, Zoom) of the Core Group to discuss the evaluation results. Specifically, the VNS Manager will propose to the WG Leaders to consider activities on Deliverables of high interest for the COST Action, which can be addressed using virtual tools (e.g. Deliverables 5, 6, 10, 11, 12). Moreover, the VNS Manager will encourage and assist the Management Committee and specifically the Core Group Members in organising virtual events. This assistance includes identifying the best format and choosing the most suitable virtual platform.
Since the 4th Annual EuroXanth Conference needs to be organised as an online event, the VNS Manager will assist the Scientific and Organising Committees in choosing a commercial partner for this e-conference. Virtual networking offers unique opportunities to better include partners from Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC) and Near Neighbour Countries (NNC). The VNS Manager will use internet-based platforms that are widely used in these geographic regions (e.g. ResearchGate) to identify and invite colleagues from there.
All planned virtual activities will be supported by drafting and sending newsletters to the EuroXanth subscribers and adding posts to the EuroXanth blog, thus increasing the impact and outreach of these initiatives. The VNS Manager will manage the EuroXanth website and curate the database of subscribers to the newsletter. It is recommended not only to host the EuroXanth website until the end of the COST Action, but to keep this platform alive beyond the end of the COST Action in order to foster existing and build new links between participating COST countries, thus generating a sustainable impact of the EuroXanth COST Action. In parallel to the EuroXanth website and newsletter, the VNS Manager will assist the Science Communication Manager at the COST Action’s Twitter and Scoop.it! platforms, if appropriate.
Beneficiaries of the VM Grants will be supported by the VNS Manager and advised in identifying and choosing suitable platforms for their planned activities. If requested, the VNS Manager will also help identifying suitable partners or colleagues that may bring in expertise that is critical for the success of the activity. The VNS Manager will help VM Grantees in identifying the proper Action Objectives and Deliverables for reporting, and assist them – if requested – to clearly describe the benefits to the COST Action Strategy.