Working with Gifted Students in the 21st Century – ECHA conference in Dublin, Ireland from 8th August to 11th August

European Council for High Ability (ECHA) held its 16th biennial conference in Dublin this year. Well-known and recognized talent experts and professionals gathered from 42 different   countries   to discuss the topic of talent development in the 21th century.

Unlike previous practices the venue of the conference was at Croke Park in the stadium of GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) this year. The unusual location of the venue was symbolic reminding the visitors of significant events in Irish history. The home of Gaelic Games, Croke Park Stadium is the third largest stadium in Europe which has hosted many special events such as the Special Olympics in 2003 or the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in 2012. The Organization Committee led by Dr. Colm O’Reilly, director of the Centre for Talented Youth (CTYI) at DCU (Dublin City University) and the Scientific Committee chaired by Prof. Albert Ziegler were responsible for the preparation of ECHA 2018.

The conference opened with a keynote from Professor Francoys Gagne, followed by a reception in Croke Park’s Museum, where guests had a chance to experience Ireland’s national sports and culture. The Canadian professor, who has become a world-famous talent expert with his Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT), started his speech with a brief theoretical summary then went on speaking about the results of his researches and practical aspects of talent development.

Following Gagne’s opening keynote six renowned professionals held keynote presentations during the four days of ECHA conference. Prof. Heidrun Stoeger, one of the most well-known professionals in European talent research, Prof. Jonathan Plucker, American researcher of creativity and education policy from Johns Hopkins University and Prof. Tracy L. Cross, an internationally renowned expert of social and emotional development of talents. David Cuartielles lectured about how technology can help gifted education, while Prof. Anne Looney explained how universities can support talent development. Prof. Karine Verschueren from KU Leuven spoke about classroom social relationships as contexts for child and adolescent development.

In addition to the keynotes, ECHA 2018 featured   20 workshops, 14 symposiums and 130 parallel sessions. Workshops, symposiums and parallel sessions focused on European and non-European talent development methods. The conference has provided a great deal of opportunity for professionals in talent development to present best practices and share the results of their researches. Thirty poster presentations were presented at Croke Park Conference Centre.

The operation of the European Talent Support Network (ETSN) was presented in the framework of a symposium for the first time. It was a pleasure for the presenters having a large number of conference delegates in the audience. The leader of the section was Prof. Albert Ziegler. The participants had the opportunity to get an overall picture of the history and operation of ETSN. The presentations provided necessary and sufficient information on how to join the network and how to establish a European Talent Centre.

During ECHA conference ETSN held its first General Assembly, with representatives of the European Talent Centres and several European Talent Points. Prof. Albert Ziegler has reported on ETSN’s achievements so far, and ongoing joint projects. Before the conference ETSN sent its second international newsletter.

Parallel to the official conference programme, CTY Ireland also hosted the second Summit of the Youth Platform of ETSN. The Summit gathered 45 delegates from 10 different countries and gave the attendees a chance to discuss gifted education across Europe.  The members of the platform continued their work in a workshop which was documented by Ádám Pálvölgyi, member of the YouTube Channel Project. The delegates of the summit had the chance to attend the opening and closing ceremony of ECHA conference as well.

Members of the European Council for High Ability usually hold their General Assembly at biennial ECHA conferences. This year’s main topics included the voting for 3 members of the Qualification Committee (Lianne Hoogeveen, Margaret Sutherland and Anne Vorhmann), the adoption of the organizational and operational rules of the European Talent Support Network, the adoption of the budget of the previous year, and acceptance of the rules of applying to the qualification of an ECHA Training.

In relation to the conference and its activities more information is available on the official website of the conference. In the history of ECHA conferences, this was the first time a mobile application was made for the participants making easier to be informed about the programme and logistics. Guests were invited to attend cultural events in EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum and the Gala Dinner in Dublin City University.

In summary, delegates were able to attend a very successful conference. The organizers have succeeded in creating an interesting and varied program for the professionals working in the field of gifted education. Undoubtedly, the importance of the conference lies in the fact that a great deal of opportunity was given to present international good practices.

The following International ECHA Conference will be held in Porto in 2020. More information is available in relation to the following conference on the official website of ECHA. In order to provide more opportunities for networking and learning from each other ECHA will organize a Thematic Conference for the first time in Dubrovnik in Croatia in 2019.

Biennial Conference of the International Association for Talent Development and Excellence in TaiPei

The next Biennial Conference of the International Association for Talent Development and Excellence (IRATDE) will take place from 12 to 16 April 2019 in Taipei. The conference offers a world-class venue and world-class research on talent development and gifted education. The IRATDE warmly invites researchers from around the globe to submit abstracts for short talks and poster presentations. Submission deadline is 31 October 2018. See the conference website for details:

3rd European Potential Conference

2-4 October in Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK

Together with Potential Plus UK, we invite you to join us at the 3rd European Potential Conference, a professional retreat for those working in organisations set up to help and support HLP children with high learning potential to enable them to have a happier childhood and to thrive.

Support for children of high learning potential

Continue reading “3rd European Potential Conference”

TalentWeb Newsletter Issue 2

Words from the Chairman

One of the most influential ideas of the entire European culture and intellectual history was Descartes’s cogito, ergo sum (“I think therefore I am”). In gifted education, we still feel its enduring resonance in concepts of giftedness that are top heavy and that neglect humans’ non-cognitive side. In the age of networks and gifted advocacy, however, an updated version of Descartes’s Cogito would be, “I am seen, therefore I am.” More recently, at least within the context of high ability studies, this proposition has evolved: “We are seen, therefore we are.” Continue reading “TalentWeb Newsletter Issue 2”

RESEARCH ECHOES: Towards a Network Approach to Talent Development: The European Talent Support Network

Towards a Network Approach to Talent Development:

The European Talent Support Network[1]

Csilla Fuszek1, Peter Csermely2, Colm O´Reilly3, & Albert Ziegler4

1Budapest European Talent Centre, Hungary

2Semmelweis University, Hungary

3Dublin City University, Ireland

4University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany


Abstract: The paper summarizes the theoretical background and initial experiences of the network approach in gifted education and talent support providing a system-based view and a broad perspective of the complexities in talent development. The paper summarizes the first six years of the development of the European Talent Support Network (ETSN), an umbrella organization of cooperating institutions of gifted education and talent support spanning many continents. The establishment and work of the Youth Platform of the ETSN is also described. Located within the exosystem of talents the members of the ETSN aim at synergies on all systemic levels ranging from the talents´ actiotopes to decisions within the political, cultural, economic, and social macrosystems. Gifted education and talent development will thus be not any longer just the challenge for the few persons in the immediate environments of the talents, but truly the joint mission of a vibrant, synergistic Network. Continue reading “RESEARCH ECHOES: Towards a Network Approach to Talent Development: The European Talent Support Network”

TALENT CENTER IN ACTION: Centre for Talented Youth Ireland and ECHA 2018

CTY Ireland and ECHA 2018

Orla Dunne, Residential Coordinator at Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland

Centre for Talented Youth, Ireland was established in Dublin City University in 1992 to respond to the needs of young students with exceptional academic ability and is currently one of the largest programme providers for high ability students in Europe. The Irish centre was set up in close co-operation with the Centre for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who have developed programmes for young students with exceptional abilities over many years. As a European Talent Support Network Talent Centre, CTY Ireland is a hub for Talent Points across Ireland and has served over 60,000 students since its founding. Continue reading “TALENT CENTER IN ACTION: Centre for Talented Youth Ireland and ECHA 2018”

TALENT POINT IN FOCUS: Kaunas University of Technologies Vaizgantas Progymnasium


Dovile Valiune

KTU Vaizgantas progymnasium

Skuodas str. 27

Kaunas, LT-45131


We teach 6-14-year-old students. KTU Vaižgantas Progymnasium is a municipal school of general education. It was founded in 1920. The school has been actively working with Kaunas University of Technologies.

The strategy of  progymnasium is to recognize and educate gifted and unusually gifted students. In the future, to create an integral model of general education for (unusually) gifted students at school in order to make their socialization easier

KTU Vaizgantas progymnasium has been taken care of the gifted students and also of boosting  of teachers competences in this feeld  since 2011. Education program for gifted students and workgroup are implemented since 2013. In order to identify unusually gifted students we have four stage selection. We assess creativity, thinking and intellectual abilities. According to these results, we make individual education programs. A psychologist, teachers, student and his parents are involved in this process. Students in grades 5-8 prepare their career plan at the end of the school year, gifted students make their education programs at the beginning of the school year and evaluate themselves at the end of the school year. Continue reading “TALENT POINT IN FOCUS: Kaunas University of Technologies Vaizgantas Progymnasium”

TALENT POINT IN FOCUS: Science and Education Centre Visnjan

Science and Education Centre Visnjan (SECV, Croatia)

Petar Čuček, coordinator of education programmes

Science and Education Centre Višnjan (SECV) has joined a family of European Talent Supp     ort Network as a talent point in 2016. In past two years, as well as ETSN has made great progress, so has SECV made a few steps considering new partnerships; program extension and scientific work in the field of program evaluation for highly motivated students. Continue reading “TALENT POINT IN FOCUS: Science and Education Centre Visnjan”

RESEARCH ECHOES: Creativity and Resilience for Radical Innovation

Towards Radical Innovation: An Exploration of the Dance Between Creativity and Resilience

Miguelina M. Nuñez

Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

25 July 2018

            Keywords: creativity, resilience, innovation, communication

Scholars routinely identify ‘openness to experience’[1] or permeability as essential to creativity, innovation, and resilience. In his exploration of social network ties and creativity, for example, Markus Baer notes that “open individuals are characterized not only by a need to seek out new and varied experiences but also by a particularly permeable structure of consciousness allowing for better integration and combination of new and unrelated information.”[2] Permeability is, in this context, a precondition for creativity. In her work on social capital and innovation, Katja Rost determines that permeable social structures with “holes” facilitating “frequent communication, enhance[ ] innovation.”[3] Here, permeability is a precondition for (radical) innovation. And finally, while not a sufficient precondition on its own, permeability is indeed necessary to nurturing resilience.  I imagine that a consolidated exploration of creativity and resilience through this critical component – permeability – could provide insight on theoretical and practical mechanisms for enhancing creativity and ultimately, radicalizing innovation. Continue reading “RESEARCH ECHOES: Creativity and Resilience for Radical Innovation”