Project description

By developing and implementing a standardized and internationalized lifelong learning program "Eco-Audit and Environmental Management", the main objective of the proposed project RECOAUD, to raise awareness and to sensitize Russian enterprises for integrating environmental and climate change related issues into their corporate decision making, will be achieved. Furthermore, RECOAUD fosters regional cooperation between major regions of the Russian Federation and the standardization and internalization of  lifelong learning of Eco-Audit and Environmental Management. Therefore, the project contains several major components, which are explained below.

Within WP 1, the first step is to review the state of the art of university education in the field of Eco-Audit and Environmental Management. Both European and Russian partners will analyze their existing courses and contents (student and lifelong learning) regarding this topic according to the relevance for future lifelong learning program. The syllabi of the 3 existing courses within the Bachelor and Master program "Environmental Management and Energy" at TUD will be translated and presented as a common discussion basis. The chair of Environmental Management and Accounting of TUD will thereby take the lead role. Furthermore, a review of the state of the art of research and education in this field will complement the analysis. In bilateral and mutual Skype conferences, relevant content will be identified and discussed in order to ensure a balanced and standardized curriculum for the developed lifelong learning program. The curriculum will then be prepared by the Russian partner universities for publication. To ensure efficient implementation of WP 1 and high quality outcome, TUD will coordinate knowledge exchange and transfer on behalf of the European partners and SSTU on behalf of the Russian partners. The actual processing will be implemented by research assistants of the project partners and critically accompanied by the participating university professors.

WP 2 includes actual training 4 university teachers from each Russian partner university, who will implement the courses in Russian partner universities. However, within the RECOAUD program an innovative education approach should be applied. In order to save resources and foster self-education, a multiplier effect approach will be implemented. In the first step, UM is responsible for development of guidelines based on the developed curriculum and with exchanging experiences from Russian partners, which are the basis for actual training of university teachers. Within a 2 week training seminar in Zilina, researchers from UNIZA and CUT will train 8 university teachers from Russian partner universities (2 from each) in theoretical perspective. In order to save resources, the seminar will be videotaped and thus the trained teachers will transfer their knowledge to the remaining 8 teachers. The same principle is followed for the training from the practical perspective. Researchers from TUD and UM each will train 8 teachers (2 from each Russian partner university) for 2 weeks in Samara, where relevant knowledge for the practical implementation of the curriculum will be conveyed. Again, videotaping and multiplier effect are used. Professional interpreters will attend both seminars to overcome potential language barriers. To prepare the teachers for training, Russian participating teachers will be trained in Business English at their home university. Guidelines and all needed materials will be provided in printed and electronic version.
Having completed WP 1 and 2, in WP 3 actual implementation of the lifelong learning program in a training course will be implemented. The course of maximum 200 hours will be held at all 4 Russian partner universities parallel. 4 teachers of each university will implement the course. The target group contains both participants from enterprises and specialized students. To ensure a balanced structure and processing of the courses, the number of participants is restricted to 30 in each course. 15 participants will be recruited from the participating case companies. All Russian partner universities are highly connected to local and regional enterprises of transport/railway or oil and gas branches, and case enterprises for each university has declared its high interest on the RECOAUD program and their willingness to train their managers responsible for management of environmental issues. So, it is ensured that 15 participants per course are from practice. To increase the balance of the courses, students studying in the field of ecologists specialty and thus representing the next generation of experts in the companies will be included. 15 students that showed excellent results in their education will be approved to gain this additional qualification within their studies. To ensure the availability of the participants, the courses will be held majorly after worktime. All Russian partner universities are equally responsible to organize the courses. If problems arise, the teachers can contact the researchers from CUT and UNIZA, who were responsible for the theoretical training of the teachers, or TUD and UM, who were responsible for practical training. For purposes of dissemination and further feedback discussion, the courses will all be videotaped. The implementation of training is highly connected to WP 4 (development of case studies), thereby, besides didactical training of the practical perspective, each course will visit a local case company to gain practical experience. Upon completion, implementation of the courses is critically analyzed according to experiences of teachers and feedback of participants. Therefore, an evaluation of the course is conducted and discussed within a mutual Skype meeting. Finally, conclusion and feedback of the training course are an essential input for WP 6 - adaptation of the course and for WP 7 - development of an extension concept.
Another innovative approach to ensure a sustainable result and broad dissemination of the RECOAUD program is a close connection of classical education, practical education and knowledge transfer. Therefore, in WP 4, parallel to the training program, teaching case studies will be developed that cover the practical application of Eco-Audit and Environmental Management in case companies. On one hand, these case studies serve as best practice examples for other companies and thus raise awareness for integration of environmental issues in corporate decision making and on the other hand they are used in future implementations of the lifelong learning program. In the first step, both European partners (under coordination of TUD) and Russian partners (under coordination of SSTU) analyze existing (teaching) case studies in the wider field of Eco-Management. Besides this theoretical analysis, the introduction and practical application of Eco-Audit and Environmental-Management processes in corporate decision making should be practically analyzed on the examples of the 4 participating case enterprises of the Russian partner universities. Additionally, a student competition in the development of case studies will be held in order to include the students, teach them practical aspects of Environmental management and to further motivate them. In practical training in WP 3, relevant and important input for case studies can be collected. This process is accompanied by the experts of TUD and UM. In online and Skype discussions, the results from the theoretical and practical analysis will be consolidated and combined in a collection of teaching case studies. Under the coordination of UM and SSTU, the results will be prepared for publication in both English and Russian. Thus, the dissemination can be extended internationally.

WP 5 will integrate the developed case studies into the curriculum for future implementations and thus contribute to the update of the curriculum with the practical perspective, which is an important part of the education and training program. Therefore, UM as responsible partner will update the curriculum and guidelines for the teacher with input by TUD and Russian partners.

However, in order to finalize the preparation of the lifelong learning program for future implementation and extension, a final feedback and adaptation loop is necessary. First of all in WP 6, guidelines and a questionnaire for structured interviews will be developed by UM and SSTU according to a full evaluation of the requirements for education of trained workers in the field of Eco-Audit and Environmental Management. The structured interviews will be conducted by researchers from 4 Russian partners with experts/specialized ecologists and on the management level of participating case enterprises. Finally, UM will analyze the results and after an online feedback round, if needed, update the curriculum of the lifelong learning program.

In order to complete the RECOAUD project and to ensure an efficient and sustainable dissemination and future benefit, a concept for future regional cooperation and transfer of the lifelong learning program to other regions and industries/branches has to be implemented. As the ministry for education on the regional level is highly interested in RECOAUD and supports the development and implementation of a lifelong learning program on Eco-Audit and Environmental Management, there is a great relevance and need for an universal and inter-regional concept. WP 7 should be a dynamic process during the project and constantly raises awareness. Therefore, within the first step, existing structures and networks within Russian partner regions as well as in general for the Russian Federation have to be analyzed according to realization and transfer of an universal and standardized lifelong learning program. It is crucial to analyze the requirements for a successful standardization and certification, regulated by the highest decision level. Therefore, the results of the feedback from the business level of WP 6 and of the analysis of existing structures and networks will be used to discuss potential ways of dissemination and standardization to other regions and branches. As the standardization and preparation for certification might be a long process, it is crucial to start the application as soon as possible. Therefore, the concept should contain requirements for the implementation, responsible persons and a time framework. Once relevant structures and persons are identified, the contacting should be implemented parallel to the development of the concept. To ensure the decision-making ability, the contacts and conversations should be conducted on the highest level of ministry of education and the participating universities. Therefore, in the development of the concept, university professors of all Russian partner universities are involved. University professors of European partners will accompany the process constantly. Finally, under coordination of SSTU, the Russian partner universities will conclude and consolidate the results and edit the final concept, which includes the RECOAUD results and future tasks for successful implementation of the concept. Within the final meeting of the RECOAUD project, the concept should be handed over to responsible decision makers and future steps for a successful implementation be discussed. Thereby, the long-term success and broad dissemination of the project can be ensured.

The management work package, WP 8 and 9, is under TUD responsibility. TUD has many years of experience in managing EU-funded projects (both educational and research) and will therefore take responsibility for the legal, financial and administrative aspects of the project. This means coordination between the EC and the consortium, project financial management and over-viewing, organizational activities, risk management and continuous internal and external reporting.