The Austrian Research and Support Centre for the Gifted and Talented in Salzburg (ÖZBF) and the Institute TIBI, the department for gifted education at the Private University College for Teacher Education in Vienna, have a long tradition of cooperation in talent-related issues.
The ÖZBF is the national institution for the further development of gifted education and the promotion of excellence in Austria. In line with its vision “supporting talent, shaping the future” it supports persons, institutions and initiatives promoting young people’s talents. It was established in 1999 and is financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education and Women’s Affairs, and the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy.
The Institute TIBI, founded in 2004, provides a variety of offers, particularly for teachers. The team initiates and supports concepts, ideas and projects which are dedicated to the development of the many gifts and potentials of young people. The main objective is to make every child‘s education a personal success in order to pave the way into an autonomous and responsible life.
Both, the Institute TIBI as well as the ÖZBF, cooperate on the national and international level with researchers and practitioners and can combine scientific expertise and practical knowledge, i.e. during the organisation of the 15th international ECHA conference, in which the ÖZBF was also a vital cooperation partner. With both organizations being European Talent Support Centres now, their cooperation is further reinforced.
Being similar and yet very different both organizations know that cooperation leads to mutual benefits whereas competition or rivalry would harm both of them and especially their cause.
On the one hand this similarity with regard to basic values and principles, namely to work on the advancement of gifted education programmes and research, makes them excellent partners. On the other hand, their different foci make them partners and not competitors.
Therefore, based on our experiences, we can recommend the following for collaboration among a team of talent centres:
- learn about the expertise of each centre,
- identify areas where you can supplement each other,
- find out, where you can join efforts and
- assume a position of critical friends for each other without being jealous of the partners success. Undoubtedly, this might not always be easy, but as long as both parties do not lose sight of the common cause, such a cooperation can be prosperous.
With regards to routine communication, we mainly rely on email and phone contact. Collaborating and working on documents proved to be easiest via online sharing, i.e. through cloud-based online storage and online office applications. This allowed for easier managing and synchronizing of our efforts and activities with regards to the European Talent Support Network.