The Comparative Research Network (CRN – www.crnonline.de) was founded in 2007 and worked since then in the field of non-formal adult, youth and VET education and research. The CRN Network activities are divided in three vertical fields: research, education and publication. The research department aims to bring social sciences closer to society. Research fields are among others: European Borders, Civic Participation, Urban Issues, Peacebuilding and intercultural dialogue, diversity and citizens science. Among other CRN is organising the Berlin Border Seminar, performing research on the impact of the Berlin Wall and seeking ways how to strengthen participation of citizens in civic education and city development.
The training department is working on non-formal education in cross-sectoral approaches. Among other CRN is specialised in civic education and participation, cultural heritage, digital and media skills, storytelling, intercultural skills and creative social entrepreneurship. The Education department is implementing training activities, train-the-trainer courses. It is developing methodological tool-kits, training plans and concrete tools such as online games, apps and handbooks. The three columns are connected with two horizontal initiatives – the CRN Participatory Lab, combining research, education and publication of civic education and the CRN Peacebuilding Programme, which is performing research and training on civic dialogue, conflict management and peacebuilding in the Euromed, Eastern European and the Balkans. Additionally, the CRN is specialised in creating and performing evaluation and dissemination processes in education.
The publication service of CRN is dedicated to publish OER, free-licence training materials, handbooks and support research publication. All books receive an ISBN and are featured in the Archives of the German National Library. Due to CRN being organised as a transnational network, it has an international scope. At the moment, it employs 4 permanent and around 10 freelance staff, and has a network of more than 120 members, located in almost every European country. As a NGO CRN is non-profit oriented and performs crucial part of its work on a voluntary basis. Major target groups of the CRN are beside trainer, marginalized groups, such as migrants, people in conflict areas, seniors and unemployed. We work towards helping citizens in diverse neighbourhoods to participate, fight social exclusion and generally support the idea of a social cohesive Europe. CRN is seeking to link social science with civil society actions – that is why CRN joined itself various local, national and transnational networks.
In its European Work, CRN coordinated or participated in projects in all educational sectors. Funding is coming mainly from EU programs, such as Erasmus+ or REC and local funds such as Soziale Stadt. Since 2014 CRN coordinated 16 international projects and participated in 7 more. During our intercultural training courses, more than 200 facilitators (teacher, trainer) from all programme countries participated in three years. In the research department CRN participated as impact partner and facilitators in a few FP5-7 and Horizon 2020 projects and is coordinating 1 project and has thus, an outreach to more than 30 universities across Europe.