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Mobility as a necessary starting point for internationalization of research. An overview with experiences from the FinCEAL and Erasmus Plus programs
Research activity is the prerequisite for innovation and the production of technologies; therefore, this kind of work is of outmost importance. Innovation and progress in research have a large impact in terms of economy and environment. To achieve this kind of progress, several resources are necessary and in most of the cases, it is required to have close collaboration within an interdisciplinary network of persons who offer skills, facilities and expertise. It is common that research periods abroad are performed by undergraduate and PhD students while it is also advisable that coordinators and responsible or research groups would also perform research visits in other countries. The goal of this presentation is to show the benefits gathered from research mobility. Research mobility is today a requirement for some university positions, a person who has spent long periods in other institutions is more likely to have the capacity of interact and collaborate with researchers around the world. A period spent in a diverse university will give the possibility to create a “bond” for effective future cooperation. On the other hand, emails, for instance, are not sufficient to organize effectively future work in common; common methods do not give a tangible evidence of what is the potential of the research and therefore, it will be difficult to draw a detailed research plan. A common procedure could be to implement the research visits together with Memorandum of Understanding documents where the institutions are actually committed to collaborate in research and education. In Finland, the Finnish University Partnership for International Development UniPID and the FinCEAL+ programs offer to professors and researchers the possibility of visiting universities in Latin America and Africa. In addition, the European Erasmus Plus program offers the possibility of spending teaching and research periods in European universities. In this presentation, a series of activities conducted within these programs will be illustrated. A number of positive outcomes were obtained and research plans were drafted at conclusion of these visits. Several master’s thesis were supervised and research results were provided. The internationalization of a particular research gives the possibility of increasing the effectiveness of the work: the research will result in faster actions, results will be delivered sooner and there will be more possibility for innovation and advancement of scientific knowledge.