Although international cooperation can be assumed to included in the visions of most academic institutes, it is not evident how this is structured and how effective the efforts of individuals and separate groups is in creating depth and sustainability in their international activities. The PLATFORM project aims to involve supporting administration, teaching and researcher staff and students themselves so that their efforts complement each other, largely through the use of case-study methods.
Specific benefits for individuals and groups will include: 1) training in methods for communication and cooperation, 2) development of international networks relevant to their interest areas, both within and outside of academia, and 3) quality improvements from combining the diversity of experience and competence in the case-study groups. Students, in particular, will have advantages in careers where the international components are important.
Most important for companies with international ventures is the establishment of relevant networks, especially if these can include the spectrum of stakeholders necessary to initiate and carry out projects in new settings. Cooperation within the network can be necessary for financing, specific competence, and local knowledge, especially in areas of resource management.
Staff training in and the development of project cooperation tools is expected to become increasingly important for project leading and success. Recruitment possibilities are also part of networking benefits. Finally, the value of environmental and cultural responsibility in international projects is increasingly apparent, and network cooperation helps to guarantee this.
Resource management goals are site specific, but the problems are often similar and networks help to collect the alternatives and the people that can help evaluate and adapt a management plan. PLATFORM can be most useful if those responsible for management are also introducing the problems and goals for consideration a composite group of researchers, practictioners and managers. Training in the case-study methods used in PLATFORM can be a central part of project leading, also within government offices.
NGOs are very often connected to environmental issues, such as water resources. They have networks, but the complexity of many problems involve many different stakeholders and may require an equally diverse set of actors to address the issues and to carry out actual remediation actions. Communication and networking tools are, perhaps, even more important when NGOs need to influence and cooperate with larger, more established organizations. One way to do this is to introduce the priorities for case-study examples.