International Project Management (ICPM) is an annual joint programme implemented at the Faculty of Social Studies in the area of international cooperation. Seven foreign universities of the SOWOSEC (Social Work and Social Economy) network are involved in this project. The partners of this network include FH Campus Wien, Universitatea Babeş-Bolyai, Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften München, Debreceni Egyetem, University of Ostrava, Uniwersytet Śląski w Katowicach, and University of Trnava.

International Project Management aims to deepen students’ knowledge of social policy and social work in the Czech Republic, to teach them about the specifics of the implementation structure of institutions collaborating on the drawing of financial support from European Union resources of a respective country in the current programming period, and to help them apply this knowledge of project management in specific social work organisations in the Czech Republic. It is a semester-long project and is enriched by physical mobility at a foreign partner university.

This unique and innovative project is facilitated every year by Dr. Šárka Kopřivová together with Dr. Anna Musialová and Dr. Karel Pavlica, each of whom has extensive experience in international project management. The programme also engages Czech Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD students who accompany foreign students to individual organisations.

This year, three social work organisations have joined the programme. To list them, it is the 1. Valašská dílna, a social enterprise from a town of Valašské Meziříčí, which employs people with disabilities. The second partner is Tutorie (S.T.O.P.), an organisation providing support to individuals, children, and families from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. Its aim is to open commonly available educational opportunities to their Ostrava clients regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or health condition. The third organisation is a low-threshold facility for children and youth SPOLEČNĚ – JEKHETANE from Ostrava, providing social services to children and young people aged 6 to 18 who are at risk or experiencing an adverse social situation.

A total of 23 international students—15 from Austria, three from Spain, two from Portugal, and one each from Turkey, Italy, and Brazil—engaged in the International Project Management Programme.

On top of excursions to individual organisations, the programme included many interesting lectures. For example, Anna Musialová gave an introductory speech “Presentation of the structure of project application, a short look at the possible sources of funding from the ESIF in the programming period 2021–2027 in the Czech Republic + other topics” followed by “Current development of social policy in the Czech Republic.” Dr. Karel Pavlica prepared a lecture on the topic of “Basic principles of sensitive communication and respectful approach to vulnerable groups”.

The students were assigned with the presentation of their project proposals to colleagues, lecturers, and representatives of the social work and social enterprise organisations involved, who in turn provided valuable feedback. After they completed the onsite segment of the project, students will continue to work on their proposals, refine them and then submit a final draft of their innovative project at the end of the semester. During this time, they’ll benefit from support by their mentors, with whom they have an opportunity to further consult their projects and receive feedback to ensure that their final project is of the highest quality.

This year, a total of seven students from the follow-up Master’s Degree programmes Social Work and Social Entrepreneurship (Joint Degree) and Development and Management in Social Work went to the FH Campus Wien.