Marius Niculae

Recently I have received this email from INTERACT Point Turku. If you work for an ETC Programme please feel free to take the below survey and bring your own contribution to the improvement of the Management Bodies in charge with the implementation of cbc, regional or transnational programmes funded under the next programming period 2014-2020.

INTERACT is going to compile a Europe wide study on “Inter-programme Capacity and Competence in ETC Programmes”.

For this purpose, we are going to collect input from 2007-2013 (ETC) JTS staff directly dealing with projects (Programme/Project Managers/Officers etc.), from 2007-2013 (ETC) Heads of Secretariat and from MA/JTS (ETC) coordinating/involved in the 2014-2020 programming process. Your input to this study would be highly appreciated and we would like to invite you to participate in an online questionnaire which you can access here until (including) Friday, 11 April. Thank you for your support.


If there is one big change to be noted from the 2007-2013 to the 2014-2020 programming period, then it is the thematic concentration and result orientation of future funding programmes, not limited to ETC as the core target group of INTERACT, but covering all ESIF programmes. When looking at the programme implementation bodies, this becomes most obvious by the change (not only in terminology) from a ‘Joint Technical Secretariat’ to a ‘Joint Secretariat’. Behind this skipping of the word ‘technical’ can be seen the overall change from focusing the support from a more technical project management support towards a more qualitative-content focused support. This does not only require careful considerations when setting up the Joint Secretariats and its working processes, but also and especially when designing and further developing the human resource set-up and profiles of future secretariats.

Focusing support to projects on the more technical project management issues – as often done in the past – required staff well trained and experienced in the specifics of the respective funding source and its legal requirements. It was not so much necessary to have knowledge or even experience in working with other funding sources beyond one’s own. In the past years and especially with the macro-regional strategies and their integral element of the alignment of funding coming into being, the perception of and approach to ETC, national and regional programmes and other funding sources is substantially shifting to a more integrative complementary approach. Meaning, ETC and the other funding programmes and sources do not any longer stand alone – but their links, interaction and synergies get more and more into the focus of attention, to create an added value by a complementary use of the different funding sources available.

And latest now with the thematic concentration and result orientation as essential elements of the 2014-2020 programming period and the change from the JTS to the JS, inter-programme capacity and competence of human resources become an essential skill to be able to support project developers and owners beyond purely technical project management issues. Due to the comparably small amounts of available funding of each ETC programme in the overall EU Cohesion Policy context, a real impact of the latter can only be achieved if all involved not only work for their programme area and actors, but at the same time also for the bigger picture.

Already in 2007-2013, but even more in 2014-2020, it is important for Joint (Technical) Secretariat staff dealing with projects to see their funding programme, its objective, the co-financed projects in the overall picture. This requiring first of all general knowledge and understanding of the various funding sources in and beyond ETC, and especially of their interlinkeages and of ways to use them in a complementary way. This knowledge in the best case goes hand in hand with working in other than ETC programmes or experiences with exchange and cooperation between ETC and non-ETC programmes. This all being Inter-programme capacity and competence.
And therefore should all secretariats staff – and especially those dealing directly with project generation, development, implementation, support and monitoring – possess and all secretariat activities reflect the capacity for inter-programme cooperation. And it goes without saying that an international staff and working environment is of great help. But how is the reality? Are the various secretariats really inter-programme oriented? Are they able to link their programme to larger contexts beyond the own programme, even beyond ETC? If not, what are the reasons for it and what should be done to attract interest and create the necessary abilities? What are the special challenges detected in the ETC working environment and how to overcome these to make the programme management by such inter-programme approach even more efficient? Since 2014 is the year when most secretariat staff will be recruited, these questions are of high importance to have a good understanding of the new demands and a good start from the beginning. But also during programme implementation it is useful to every now and then get back to these questions and evaluate the human resources composition of the secretariat against these aspects.

Approach to the study
The aim of the study is firstly to come up with a state of play regarding the inter-programme capacity and competence of human resources in present 2007-2013 secretariats, secondly to identify challenges in ensuring an international staff and working environment reflecting the inter-programme cooperation demands across ESIF programmes especially with regard to future programmes and thirdly to produce relevant suggestions and solutions to these challenges. For this purpose, a comprehensive questionnaire has been designed to collect information from three relevant groups in all ETC programmes across Europe:
2007-2013 JTS staff directly dealing with projects (project generation, assessment, implementation monitoring and support by Programme/Project Managers/Officers etc.) to identify the present individual staff profiles and their personal experiences and expectations with regard to inter-programme capacity and competence;
2007-2013 Heads of Secretariat to identify how inter-programme capacity and competence has been taken into account on the overall (human resource) management level;
MA/JTS coordinating/involved in the 2014-2020 programming process:

a. How on an overall management level the change towards more qualitative-content support instead of purely technical project management support will be taken into account in the 2014-2020 secretariat’s human resources set-up and how inter-programme capacity and competence will be reflected in it.

b. How the profile of the secretariat staff dealing with projects (Programme/Project Managers/Officers etc.) will look like in 2014-2020 and how inter-programme capacity and competence will be reflected in the individual staff profiles.

Follow-up of study results

Based on the study and its findings, INTERACT will assess which kind of services could and should be provided in the second half of 2014 in the field of inter-programme capacity and competence to either a group of programmes, or to – if requested – to individual programmes. For this purpose, questions on possible service needs by INTERACT are included in the questionnaire.

We would very much appreciate your contribution by filling in the questionnaire by Friday, 11 April. Thank you.

In case of any question, please feel free to contact me directly by e-mail ( or phone (+358-405564237).

Thank you very much for your contribution!

INTERACT Point Turku
Itsenäisyydenaukio 2 | Box 236 | 20800 Turku | Finland
t. +358 (0)405 564237


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