Personnel exchanges between TAFTIE members
Calendar of TAFTIE events:

Personnel exchanges between TAFTIE members

One of the most effective and most efficient ways for staff of an organisation to improve their own skills is to visit similar organisations in other countries and learn from their experiences and methods of operation. The purpose of this leaflet is to inform you of the opportunities that exist, through the TAFTIE network for international exchanges. You or some members of your department may be interested in learning from and exchanging experiences with relevant staff of other organisations. This leaflet outlines benefits obtained from international exchanges and describes how you can participate in an exchange within the TAFTIE Network.

TAFTIE is The Association for Technology Implementation in Europe. Fifteen organisations from fourteen countries are members. The member organisations are responsible for the implementation of national or regional innovation technology schemes and programmes. In many cases this responsibility extends to international programs like EUREKA, COST or the European Framework programmes. In practice this means that the organisations assist industry to make better use of the opportunities offered by those programmes. The members of TAFTIE are service providers and their client target group is SMEs.

By joining forces in TAFTIE its members aim to improve the quality of their services for their clients. This is achieved by sharing experiences and knowledge between the members through the TAFTIE Network. Through this network member organisations co-operate and co-ordinate their activities among themselves and with the European Community, thus making it easier for companies to develop cross border activities. To further strengthen the network, member organisations use different methods to exchange experiences and expertise.

Exchange of information and experience
One way TAFTIE has developed is the use of task forces where staff from the member organisations meet to exchange ideas and develop best practice. Task forces deal with topics that are important to a number of member organisations. Examples:

  1. the task force that focused on the organisation of brokerage events where companies meet, usually on a sectoral basis, to discuss opportunities for mutual co-operation;

  2. the task force that deals with the transparency of the management of regional, national and international industrial technology development programmes;

  3. the task force that works on the methodology of programmes.This task force produced the TAFTIE guidelines on the performance indicators for evaluating and monitoring R&D programmes;

  4. the task force that developed a toolbox for the organisation of "Investment Fora" where firms and VC companies meet to explore opportunities for investment thus contributing to "bridging the gap between public and private funding".

Another way TAFTIE seeks to strengthen the exchange of experience, knowledge and information is by issuing a newsletter and establishing an internet site for TAFTIE

A third and very important way TAFTIE strengthens its network is by promoting personnel exchanges of staff between member organisations.

Personnel exchanges should only take place when both the participants and the two organisations involved benefit from it.

Benefits for the staff
For the staff personnel exchange means exposure to another culture and different ways of working, getting different perspectives on the nature of the services that are provided and the ways and means to improve these. It also assists building personal networks, developing face to face relationships, making it easier to pick up the telephone the next time. Finally, it provides an opportunity to test one's views in a different environment, to enrich one's ideas with experience and expertise from elsewhere and develop and 'copy' ideas that might improve one's performance at home

Benefits for the organisation
For the two organisations involved the benefits come through the staff participating in the exchange. By working on specific projects, a guest can benefit the host organisation by adding his or her experience to the project. Back home she or he will add valuable new perspectives, information and hands-on experience to the development and implementation of their own organisation's activities. Personal networks can be very beneficial to organisations as well. Joined projects can much easier be initiated and undertaken on the basis of personnel contact

Of course the ultimate benefit depends on the duration and nature of the exchange. There are many variations. Short term visits or long term training programs (either as a trainee or as a trainer), co-operation in a joint project (such as organising a brokerage event), exchanging positions with a colleague or following a project from its inception through its execution to really get to understand the methods used abroad.

How to go about organising an exchange
The most important part of getting staff exchanges going, is to be aware of the possible benefits to the organisation and its staff. For the management it means that it must be receptive to opportunities that present itself during meetings with colleagues abroad and to ideas that are put forward by its staff. To get those ideas, the staff must be aware of the benefits of spending a period of time in another organisation. Also it must know that its management supports initiatives that will lead to staff exchanges.

Staff members themselves can initiate an exchange. This can be achieved by discussing possibilities with their line management and exchanging ideas with their colleagues. Working out what they would like to achieve, the benefits to themselves and their organisation.

Staff should always keep in mind that exchanges of staff are never done just for the sake of it. It is necessary to clearly define aims and realistic objectives.

for example
An employee of VDI/VDE-IT (Germany) spent six days study tour to Technopol (Belgium) to get acquainted with their procedures used for technology transfer, marketing and Public Relations. An intensive programme was organised for her. She visited two events (Interprise and Applica) that assist SMEs to form partnerships. She learned about the organisation of such events which she now applies at home in Germany. At present a return visit is being organised with the intention that this will lead to closer co-operation between Technopol and VDI/VDE-IT.

for example
A personal contact between an employee from OMFB (Hungary) and one from NUTEK (Sweden) resulted in an official agreement between the two organisations to exchange personnel in order to improve the evaluation of programmes within OMFB. This agreement lead to a number of visits of the NUTEK employee to OMFB, a seminar and a visit by an Hungarian delegation to Sweden. The present structure for evaluating programmes within OMFB is a direct result of the exchange of experiences and expertise that took place during these personnel exchanges.

contact persons

  • ANVAR - Françoise Lambert
  • CDTI - José Pellón
  • ENEA - Eugenio Fiorentino
  • FFF - Herbert Wotke
  • Enterprise Ireland - Owen McBreen
  • IWT - Christine Claus
  • NUTEK - Staffan Hĺkansson
  • OMFB - László Dvorszki
  • RCN - Torleif Hauge
  • Scottish Enterprise - Breda McMillan
  • SENTER - Peter Heringa
  • TECHNOPOL - Jacques Evrard
  • Tekes - Gösta Diehl
  • TTGV - Ugur Yüce
  • VDI/VDE-IT - Thomas Heimer


  • CDTI
  • ENEA
  • FFF
  • Enterprise Ireland
  • IWT
  • OMFB
  • RCN
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • Tekes
  • TTGV

member organisations

  • France
  • Spain
  • Italy
  • Austria
  • Ireland
  • Flanders/Belgium
  • Sweden
  • Hungary
  • Norway
  • Scotland
  • Netherlands
  • Brussels/Belgium
  • Finland
  • Turkey
  • Germany