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2nd ENIS COST conference in Tbilisi, Georgia

The ENIS COST network (European Network on International Student Mobility: Connecting Research and Practice) held its second large conference on 13-15 May 2024 in Tbilisi, Georgia, warmly hosted by the local Business and Technology University (BTU). The hybrid event brought together over 100 top scholars in ISM, as well as practitioners at university level, policymakers and representatives of stakeholder organisations, on site and many more online. 

As the prime aim of the network is to foster collaboration between ISM researchers and practitioners at different levels and pilot new cooperation models, the programme offered many sessions dedicated to innovative collaboration examples and their outcomes, from  

  • A Spotlight session on the Results from ENIS COST Action, featuring, amongst others, testimonials by practitioner colleagues from ACA member organisations Rúna V. Guðmarsdóttir (Rannis) and Eero Loonurm (HARNO), on the tangible outcomes of participating in the network’s activities on their daily professional work. 
  • A Workshop on connecting research and practice delivered by Adriana Perez-Encinas (Autonomous University Madrid) and Wim Gabriels (Erasmus Student Network), highlighting their evolving collaboration through European projects, that are increasingly research-informed. 
  • A new type of Exchange between two practitioners and two researchers on burning practitioner questions on ISM – in this case related to the diversification of international recruitment and leadership involvement, as well as the role of ISM in building a European identity and fostering European values, to which the scholars in the panel tried to present scientific answers, building on prior research, while the practitioners discussed the applicability of these findings in practice. The contributing panelists were Božidar Grigić (from ACA member CMEPIUS) and Annette Kratz on the one hand, with Christof Van Mol (Tilburg University, and chair of the ENIS Network) and Joyce Aguiar (Centre for Research in Higher Education Policies) on the other, the discussion being chaired by Irina Ferencz (ACA). 
  • And a campfire session with some of the above speakers.  

The overarching long-term goal of such collaborations is to enhance the practical relevance of academic research on ISM, and the applicability of findings in the day-to-day ISM realities at policy and practice levels.   

The event also featured an opening lecture by Hans de Wit (Boston College), a workshop on publishing on international student mobility, delivered by Fiona Hunter (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart) and Elspeth Jones (Leeds Beckett University), a closing keynote by Emmanuelle Gardan (Coimbra Group), and many other inspiring sessions.