The Leonardo TOI project is part of the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme, which encompasses 8 Muséums.

Leonardo TOI Tranfer of Innovation

The European natural history collections are a crucial research tool. They also provide a source of inspiration and wonderment for exhibitions and educational activities. If they are to remain accessible, they must be managed and conserved through the consistent application of best practice by well-trained staff. Although the Muséums’ needs are nearly identical when it comes to managing, caring for and providing access to their collections, their approaches to dispensing the vocational training needed to maintain the collections vary greatly.

Through its collection management assessments, the SYNTHESYS project identified a clear lack of consistency and gaps in the training currently being given, hampering staff development and mobility. The variations in the application of practices are a serious risk to the collections. This situation is exacerbated by large variations in structures and staff responsibilities. In 2007, the NHM in London identified the need for a consistent approach to coordinate assessment, development and training. The resulting National History Competency Framework offers a structure to develop collections, treatments and accessibility. The Transfer of Innovation (TOI) project will extend this framework into a set of skills that can be adapted to meet staff training needs at a wide variety of Muséums, regardless of their size or structure.

The Leonardo TOI project is part of the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme. The following 8 European National History Muséums are taking part: MfN (Berlin, Germany), RBINS (Brussels, Belgium), CollT and NHM (London, Great Britain), NMP (Prague, Czech Republic), MSN (Florence, Italy), MNCN (Madrid, Spain), NMR (Rotterdam, Netherlands) and the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris).

This project is coordinated by the Natural History Muséum in London. It has a budget of around €386,000, 75% of which is funded by Leonardo. It began on 1 October 2013 and will end on 30 September 2015.

The aims of TOI are as follows:

  • Providing natural history Muséum staff all over Europe with a common, multilingual skill set to guide their personal development, improve skills and identify their needs in terms of vocational training and education;
  • Identifying existing training options and pairing them with skills;
  • Identifying the gaps in training provision and creating a vocational training programme linked to b), which will provide a clear list of training options to achieve new skills that will be useful for their current and future employment.

The main operational objectives are as follows:

  • Assessing and adapting the NHM London skills framework to offer a European skill set for natural history Muséums, which can be applied regardless of culture, governance, etc.
  • Translating these established European skills into the local languages;
  • Training partner institutions to apply the skills to the job specifications and staff development;
  • Helping to specify and describe the staff’s roles in their organisation, based on the skill set;
  • Assessing existing training options regarding skills needs and producing an analysis of gaps and needs;
  • Putting in place a training programme to fill the gaps in vocational training provision;
  • Adapting the existing training material and putting in place a multilingual e-learning platform;
  • Extending the principle to other Muséums and institutions.

The European skill set created by this transfer and development process will establish a skills model within the natural history Muséums and provide a framework for dealing with inconsistency in the provision of vocational training in this sector. This will mainly enable us to meet the requirements of the European priority of Promotion of the acquisition of key skills in Vocational Education and Training (VET) (LEO - TraInno - 9). However, it will also meet the needs of ECVET (European cooperation for a system of credit transfer for VET) for transparency and recognition of educational achievements and qualifications (LEO - TraInno - 11) by establishing an easily accessible framework for which ECVET credits can be awarded in the future.

Managers at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle:
Michel Guiraud

Vanessa Demanoff

Margaux Pizzo