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A consortium led by Dr Rob Huxley, NHM, has been awarded a grant of €289,460.19 towards the development and testing of  a competency framework for natural history collections management staff in Europe. The  project is 75% funded by the EU  Leonardo da Vinci Programme, Transfer of Innovation (TOI) strand and runs for two years from 1 October 2013.

The project aims to create a system, based on standardised European competencies, to assist organisations identify the competencies required for individual roles. For individuals, the system will identify their current level of competency and their vocational and educational training needs.  TOIs, as the name clearly indicates, allow organizations to work with European partners to transfer and adapt innovative vocational education and training materials and methods. In this project we will transfer the uniquely comprehensive Collections Competency Framework developed by the NHM and in use since 2007. This system has demonstrated advantages with staff progression, consistency of approach and has proved a valuable tool in developing staff development and training needs. By mapping job requirements against the competency framework, staff are able to identify gaps in their knowledge and skills and use this information to identify their personal needs. 

This TOI  project will pilot a set of multi-language, standardised core competencies derived from the NHM framework that can be chosen and arrayed to suit the needs of museums of varying size, focus, culture and governance. To assist staff and trainers to meet their competency needs the project will also establish a curriculum of collections management training and development opportunities.   These common standards of competence will inform staff development,  recruitment and encourage mobility of staff across Europe and in a wider context will contribute to developing  a consistent level of best practice in collections management across the major collections based organisations with consequntg benefits to research and educational access.

The core partners in the project are: NHM, London; Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences,  Brussels; Vriej Universiteit Amsterdam; Collections Trust, UK ; Museum fur Naturkunde, Berlin; The National Museum, Prague; Muséum National d'histoire Naturelle,  Paris.  Associated partners are: Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden; Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid; University of Florence Natural History Museum; Rathgen Research Laboratory Staatliche Museen zu Berlin; HTW Berlin University of Applied Sciences.

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