From 27-30 June WUS Austria (Michaela Handke, Marc Schärzli), together with the project coordinator (Vladimir Todorovic, Danijela Ciric) travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Montenegro to visit the iDEAlabs of the following institutions: University Banja Luka, University of Zenica and University of Montenegro within the frame of the WP for quality monitoring.The following conclusions were drawn from the field visits in BiH and ME:
- The questions and challenges discussed during the last meeting of all labs in Novi Sad this year are mostly also true for the iDEAlabs in BiH and ME - the labs are operational , but there is need for decision making on their further strategic orientation, and some planning needs to be done for sustainability of the labs beyond the project (if the project extension will be approved, then there is more time within the project for discussion and decision making that is supported and backed up by the consortium).
- The purchase of equipment constituted a huge challenge with severe problems for the timely launch of the iDEAlabs: due to the rule of “EU origin”, it took significant time to find and purchase adequate equipment that match the procurement rules of the project and meet budget limits.
- At all three institutions students have good access to the labs, mostly in an organised way (via classes, project and upon appointment); the labs have reasonable opening hous and are also accessible during night and weekends if need be (with key/upon appointment). The purchased equipment,
especially the 3D printers, are in use and attract and encourage student to “experience” the lab.
- The sustainability of the labs does not seems to be threatened, all three are well anchored at the institution (either via . However, some strategic decisions seem to be necessary, to prepare the labs for a
successful (meaningful) future beyond the project (e.g. how to finance the update of equipment in a few years’ time when it is outdated? What services should be offered to students on a long-term basis and how can this be organises/financed Etc.)
The matter of sustainability and strategic orientation was already in the focus of attention during the visits and the meeting in Novi Sad this year. To address this, Uni Novi Sad, together with WUS Austria, has developed a short template which we asked the iDEAlabs to fill in to reflect on securing sustainability for the iDEAlabs under their supervision. The filled in templates will enable all of us to prepare for the final event/meeting in autumn in Novi Sad, which is held under the topic “Sustainibility - Bringing the iDEAlab to Successful Future”.