The European Talent Support Network (ETSN), established with the substantial contribution of the European Council of High Ability (ECHA), managed by Hungarian President Professor Péter Csermely in the last 8 years, celebrates its 5th anniversary on 29 September 2020. We have drawn up a short summary of the achievements and chronology of the first five years of ETSN.
The European Talent Support Network was officially founded on 29 September 2015 in the Brussels European Parliament building, in the presence of senior EU officials and MEPs. The founders were the first 14 winner European Talent Centres of the call announced by the ECHA Qualification Committee. The applicant countries committed themselves inter alia to the deployment of a Talent Centre/Talent Point system and to developing a registration system for institutions engaged in talent support activities (Talent Points). The first meeting of Talent Centre representatives held at the same place, with the participation of these 14 centres, adopted the guidelines for the criteria of European Talent Point status.
In the years that followed (2016-2019) the above call has been announced annually, together with calls for Talent Points; as a result, there were 21 active Talent Centres in Europe and 4 outside Europe by early 2020. There were two in each of Austria, Belgium and Germany; one each in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. The four non-European TCs were in India, Peru, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The number of European Talent Points, present in 47 countries already, has exceeded 400. In practice, this means that ETSN is the organisation gathering the highest number of talent-support-focused organisations, however different they might be, in Europe, more than half of which come from European public education institutions.
ETSN increasingly focuses on the coordination of joint European work and the quality assurance of its operation. Therefore, it has been managed since end-2016 by a 5-strong elected Network Council (NC), with Csilla Fuszek from the European Talent Centre within MATEHETSZ acting as Network Council coordinator, and Prof Dr Albert Ziegler as president elected for the second time.
Work within ETSN has led to creating the website and newsletter of the Network (TalentWeb). The annual number of copies of the newsletter has been increased gradually, and it has acquired a special profile with mainly European best practices in talent support in the focus. The newsletter has provided a self-presentation opportunity for several Hungarian best practices in this field. The Network website features a so-called European Talent Map with basic information about the associated organisations.
The year 2019 was marked by ETSN becoming a registered European NGO and by the drafting of its rules of organisation and operation: Articles adopted by the members of the Network almost unanimously (with one abstention). This, of course, has altered the relationship between ECHA and ETSN, as set out in a mutual cooperation agreement. The main difference was that the Qualification Committee became part of ETSN.
The summit of the European Youth Platform has been organised annually since 2016, with the exception of this year (2020). It was hosted by Vienna, Budapest, Dublin and Dubrovnik, and gave the youth an annual opportunity to get acquainted with ETSN in more depth, to present their own education systems, and delve into the issues of talent support.
The Hungarian Talent Centre has organised so-called “Budapest meetings” annually since 2016 for representatives of the Talent Centres of the Network, to pass key strategic decisions, present new Talent Points and establish new network contacts – this meeting could be called the “soul” of ETSN. For the known reasons, we could only organise an on-line meeting in 2020 so far, dedicated to the analysis of changes due to Covid-19.
Budapest Meetings of Talent Centre representatives, 2016, 2017
As can be seen from the above, ETSN is a young and dynamically developing network; it has acquired hundreds of institution members over 5 years, and it is becoming increasingly well-known globally. Hopefully, this dynamism will prevail in the next 5 years, and intra-Network contacts will strengthen.
Links and articles/writings referred to in the text and in the chronology below will hopefully give the reader an opportunity to study the development of the Network in more depth.
Brief chronology of European Talent Support Network events after the 2016 ECHA General Assembly
- 29 September: Brussels, European Union Parliament Building; Foundation of the European Talent Support Network by the first 14 Talent Centres qualified by the ECHA Qualification Committee; 1st official meeting of EU Talent Centre representatives
- 15 October: The ECHA Qualification Committee invites European or in case of Associated Centres non-European talent support organisations to submit their application to become European or Associated European Talent Centres: https://www.echa.info/call-for-application-to-be-a-european-talent-centre-or-an-associated-european-talent-centre-in-the-european-talent-support-network
- 3 March: 5th meeting of the Qualification Committee (Vienna)
- 10 April: 2nd Call to be a European Talent Centres was published
- 20 April: successful promotion of the European Talent Support Network in Ljubljana, Slovenia involving 28 European Talent Points in Slovenia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia
- 8 May: 12 proposals from 11 countries received for the 2nd Call to be European Talent Centres
- 10 June: 6th meeting of the Qualification Committee (Dublin); in July, five new European Talent Centres were accepted from Denmark, Germany and Greece and two Associated European Talent Centres from India and Peru
- July: the Youth Platform of the European Talent Support Network (having at that time 33 members from 15 countries) elected its interim representative, Armin Fabian, and his deputy Lukas Kyzlik
- August: the Youth Platform published its description and membership criteria http://echa.info/175-youth-platform-of-the-european-talent-support-network-description-of-aims-and-membership-criteria
- 30 September: 261 proposals received for the second call on European Talent Points
- October: election of the 1st Council of the European Talent Support Network: Albert Ziegler president/chairman, Csilla Fuszek coordinator/secretary, Colm O’Reilly treasurer / Antonios Apostolou / Mojca Jurisevic
- 27 October: 1st meeting of the interim Youth Platform Council in Budapest
- 28 October: 2nd official meeting of the EU Talent Centre representatives in Budapest
- 28-29 October: 1st meeting of the Network Council in Budapest
- December: election of the first Council of the Youth Platform: Marco Agozzino (Italy), Armin Fabian (Romania), Liliana Gerse (Austria), Lukas Kyzlik (Czech Republic) and Elle Loughran (Ireland)
- 29 March – 2 April: 2nd Second European Youth Summit held in Budapest with 63 participants from 17 countries and 20 nationalities (Summits in the future will be held at the ECHA International/Thematic Conference of that year)
- 31 March: 1st Network Council meeting in 2017 in Budapest
- June 2017: homepage of the European Talent Support Network goes live: https://etsn.eu;
- 19 June: 3rd Call to become a European Talent Point issued (application process made continuous from the beginning of 2018 )
- 3 August: 3rd Call to become a European Talent Centre was issued on the ETSN website
- 20 September: 2nd Network Council meeting in Ljubljana
- 22 October: 9 proposals received from 9 different countries to the 3rd Call to become a European Talent Centre:
- 16 October: after careful preparation, a summary of the needs of gifted and talented young individuals drafted by he First European Youth Summit in Vienna, 2016 was published: http://echa.info/212-summary-on-the-needs-of-gifted-and-talented-students-by-participants-of-the-first-european-youth-summit-vienna-29-feb-5-march-2016
- 11-14 November: Youth Platform Council and Project leaders meeting in Budapest
- 23 November: ECHA Qualification Committee meeting in Dublin; new European Talent Centres accepted from Belgium, Portugal and Spain as well as a new Associated Centre from the United Arab Emirates.
- 24 November: 3rd Network Council meeting in Dublin
- 11 January: the European Talent Support Network started its regular Newsletter called TalentWeb: https://etsn.eu/talentweb-newsletter/
- 9 February: 3rd official meeting of European Talent Centre representatives in Budapest and 1st Network Council meeting in 2018
- By January: altogether around 350 Talent Points of 42 countries had registered to the Network, and the number of European Talent Centres rose from 14 to 23, including 20 European and 3 non-European ones (located in the United Arab Emirates, in India and in Peru, respectively), over the 2.5 years since the first meeting
- April: the European Talent Support Network started its plans to become a European NGO and formulated its Articles – please find it enclosed as an Annex of this report.
- June: Youth Platform Project in the Czech Republic organized by Czech Talent Centre –
- 8 August: 2nd issue of the TalentWeb was sent out
- 10 August 1st ETSN General Assembly meeting during the ECHA Conference
- 8-11 August: 3rd European Youth Summit was held in Dublin parallel with the ECHA Conference: https://etsn.eu/working-with-gifted-students-in-the-21st-century-echa-conference-in-dublin-ireland-from-8th-august-to-11th-august/
- 15 October: 4th Call for application to be a European Talent Centre or an Associated European Talent Centre in the European Talent Support Network
- December: Election of the 2nd Council of the European Talent Support Network: Albert Ziegler president/chairman, Csilla Fuszek coordinator/secretary, Colm O’Reilly treasurer / Antonios Apostolou / Mojca Jurisevic
- January: Election of the Youth Platform Council of the ETSN
- 21. January: ETSN Council Meeting, Nürnberg
- 4 April: 3rd issue of the TalentWeb was sent out
- 4-6 April: 4th official meeting of EU Talent Centre representatives in Budapest; ETSN Network Council meeting, Budapest
- 30 May: 2nd ETSN General Assembly meeting – on-line voting on the Article; out of the voting 97 institutions 95 voted yes and 2 abstained
- 11 July: Registration of the ETSN in the Netherlands
- 2 September: 4th issue of the TalentWeb was sent out
- 15-19 October 4th European Youth Summit was held in Dubrovnik parallel with the ECHA Conference
- 15 October: 3rd ETSN General Assembly meeting
- 23 November: ETSN Network Council meeting, Dublin
- 24 November: Launch of the EGIFT project, Dublin
- 29 November: 5th Call for Application to be a European Talent Point or to be an Associated European Talent Point: https://etsn.eu/apply-to-join-etsn/
- 29 November: 5th Call for application to be a European Talent Centre or an Associated European Talent Centre in the European Talent Support Network
- 5 December: 5th issue of the TalentWeb was sent out
- By the beginning of the year, ETSN had 25 Talent Centre and more than 400 Talent Points in 47 Countries
- 28-29 February: Youth Platform Council meeting, Budapest and on-line, preparation of the Youth Summit Guideline: https://etsn.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/The-ETSN-Youth-Platform-and-Youth-Summit-Guidelines.pdf
- 8 April: Network Council on-line meeting
- 17 April: 6th issue of the TalentWeb
- 9 May: 5th (1st on-line) meeting of EU Talent Centre representatives
- 14 May: ETSN on-line Qualification Committee meeting
- 11. June: Network Council on-line meeting
- 23 June: 7th issue of the TalentWeb
- 2. July: Network Council on-line meeting on the Qualification Process
Short history of the European Talent Support Network (2011-2016)
The idea of the European Talent Support Network (the Network) emerged at the Hungarian EU Presidential Conference on Talent Support and it was articulated in the Final Declaration of the Conference in 2011, in Budapest. The plenary opening presentation of Professor Péter Csermely introduced the achievements of the Hungarian talent support network, looking back on a past of only 4 years at the time, and the prospective long-term benefits of collaboration between the civil and the public sector and of linking formal and informal education. The Final Declaration of the Conference adopted by the almost 300 attending experts stressed that it would be worthwhile to align and organise into a network the relevant European efforts and aspirations.
Professor Csermely’s election as President of the European Council for High Ability (ECHA) in 2012 represented a major step forward in the organisation of the future Network. The same year, European Talent Centre – Budapest was formed, inter alia to foster networking of European talent support activities in cooperation with ECHA. The first document presenting the linkages of the European Talent Centres and European Talent Points, the nodes of the Network, was prepared jointly by several European professionals under the coordination of Professor Csermely, and it was released in Autumn 2014. The document was adopted almost unanimously by the General Assembly of ECHA at its 2014 Ljubljana Conference, and a so-called Qualification Committee led by Lianne Hoogeveen was also elected there. After another six months of consultations, the Qualification Committee announced the first “Call to Be a European Talent Centre” on the ECHA website in February 2015. Twenty-eight quality applications were received from 19 countries – a clear sign of the increasingly widespread demand for networking in Europe and its topicality in the talent support field. The Committee selected the first 14 European Talent Centres in the summer 2015. The European Talent Support Network was officially founded on 29 September 2015, in the Brussels European Parliament building, in the presence of senior EU officials and MEPs and became a registered international NGO on 12 July 2019.
Several joint activities, programmes and tenders have been launched since the first meeting in Brussels, including the call for setting up European Talent Points announced on the website of ECHA and of several centres in November 2015. In 2016, the “Call to Be a European Talent Centre” was announced again, and the second round opened the way also for including so-called “associated” Talent Centres from outside Europe. As a result, by September 2016 the Network already comprised 19 centres, including 17 in European countries (Austria (2), Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Ireland, Lithuania, Hungary, Germany (2), Italy, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey) and two in non-European ones (India, Peru). The Network envisaged the further growth of the number of Talent Centres and Talent Points, and by the first half of 2019 the Network had 25 Centres of which 21 was in European and 4 in non-European countries. Given its sudden expansion, a five-strong Network Council had to be set up to take care of strategic management. At the election having an active participation of the whole Network, Prof. Albert Ziegler was appointed Chairman of the Council set up in October 2016. The Council was re-elected in 2018.
The European Talent Support Network is a continuously transforming and developing system, with the European Talent Centres that are its hubs and the s-called European Talent Points being nodes acting as equal members. The criteria of becoming a European Talent Centre are defined jointly by the ECHA Qualification Committee, and those of becoming a European Talent Point – meaning first of all registration as Talent Point – jointly by the Talent Centres. Registration, however, needs to be approved by the European Talent Centre concerned.
All European Talent Centres do excellent professional work in several talent support fields, but they are quite different in many respects. Some are non-profit, others for-profit organisations; some are public entities or even background institutions of the national ministries, others are NGOs. The set of activities of individual European Talent Points may also be different: some tend to focus more on teacher training, others on working directly with young talents. This diversity is crucial to the strength of the emerging European Talent Support Network. The main tasks of the Centres include, in addition to their own quality work, network-building and the supply of relevant professional information to the Network members. That is, within the Network, the European Talent Centres assume more responsibility for coordination and information supply at regional, national or all-European level. Participation in the European Talent Support Network requires community thinking, with each country contributing to articulating and achieving the common goals from its own perspective. The Network is actually more than the sum total of the joint activities of its members. In practice, this means the realisation of joint applications, networking or a youth programme (Youth Platform). The lead role is played alternately by the European Talent Centres, depending on the content of the actual project.
At first, Network members must invest voluntary work in network-building for the members to experience the benefits of network-based activities later on, instead of considering the Network no more than an administrative framework. In the longer run, however networking offers many potential advantages to all concerned. It can accelerate the substantive exchange of best practices in talent support, increase the number of international research projects, ensure more efficient intra-regional resources utilisation and promote creative productivity through the cooperation of talented young persons. Throughout Europe, a growing number of young talents will be provided attention and support through the European Talent Support Network.