Extraordinary ECAF Steering Committee meeting: preliminary report

On 18 April 2011, members of the ECAF Steering Committee convened at the EFEO, Paris, to discuss the recommendations formulated in Margot Jackon's report "Assessment of the facilities and opportunities offered by the network of European-operated field research centres", written as part of the British Academy's contribution to the FP7 project IDEAS (see www.ideasconsortium.eu). The envisaged developments of the network and its capacity to respond to the expectations of European scholars with regard to field access in Asia can be summarized as follows:

1. Role and identity of field centres
A set of criteria was adopted that define an ECAF vision of the mission of the field centres as places of interaction, exchange, dialogue, and collaboration among European and local scholars, and as bases of practical/logistical support to early-career scholars and those new to the area.

2. Information and access
The ECAF website will be overhauled, providing more detailed information about each centre's personnel, research programmes, documentary holdings, and activities, with news regarding conferences, lectures, projects, visits, exhibitions etc. In addition, a simplified online application form for visits or extended periods of research will appear on the mini-site for each centre. Applications will be received continually and free of charge to individual scholars belonging to participating institutions. See "Funding arrangements" hereafter.

3. Funding arrangements
ECAF will henceforth propose to member institutions a range of customized annual cost-sharing options permitting their participation in specific centres on terms corresponding as closely as possible to the needs and interests of their affiliated scholars. Choices will include country options as well as different levels of full or associate partnership for permanent or occasional occupation of office space. Both types of partnership will provide full access to shared spaces (libraries, meeting or conference rooms, technical facilities) and staff pools.