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MINERVA Communities
Thematic Areas

Benchmarking Exercise
ESReDA Foresight in Safety
European Neighbourhood
TWG2 Inspections

MINERVA Communities


About communities of practice

There are many definitions of community of practice. Here are some selected definitions, which we would like to share with you. These definitions aims to depict what MAHB is working towards in the next years.

Lave and Wenger (1991):  "a group of people who come together to share common interests and goals, with the aim of sharing information, developing knowledge and developing themselves both personally and professionally."

Wenger and Snyder (2000): "a group of people informally bound together by shared expertise and passion for a joint enterprise."

Wenger et al.  (2002): "groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis.” 


About JRC MINERVA Communities

Historical background

Since its establishment in 1995, the Major Accident Hazards Bureau (MAHB) has continuously collaborated with Competent Authorities, International Organisations, Research Centres, Industry, Academia, etc.  MAHB has also been part of several consortia in the frame of European Commmission Research Framework Programmes, along with Technical Working Groups, Technical Committees and Advisory Groups. All these experiences with many organisations active in the area of chemical accident prevention and preparedness (CAPP), including the wider industrial risk management arena, resulted in the following:

  • identification and prioritisation of common needs to define our collaborative work;
  • better understanding of our partners;
  • better targetting of MAHB services;
  • strengthening of our partnerships;
  • creating knowledge together with our partners;
  • sharing of knowledge with MAHB stakeholders;
  • etc.

Throughout the years, the volume of information and knowledge and pace of their creation and sharing has increased, along with the number of interconnected networks with whom MAHB collaborates. Thus, there has long been the need to better curate these information and knowledge. The evolution of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) brings an opportunity to address this need.

Against this background, the idea to build a Knowledge Portal in partnership with MAHB's vast network of alliances was conceived in 2011 with the aim of supporting and strengthening the already established and ongoing processes described in the list above. MAHB set in motion a process to conceptually design a multi-annual plan to build MINERVA, with the idea that within MINERVA there would be an emergent and self-organising collaborative area for MAHB and its partners. This virtual space within MINERVA would complement and support the already existing Communities of Practice (CoPs) in MAHB's network. Thus, the JRC MINERVA Communities Working Areas were envisaged.

MINERVA Communities Working Areas

Taking stock of the accumulated literature on knowledge management systems, organisational learning, communities of practice, action science, complexity science, network science, amongst others, along with the recruitment ICT consultants, development work has started for the first phase of the MINERVA Communities Working Areas. Thus, what was carried out mainly through physical interaction and collaboration with our partners, will now also be complemented by a community of practice virtual space where participants can explore ideas, discuss issues and needs, and help each other solve problems, without physically meeting every day. Together with MAHB, Community participants' main activities is the effective capture, curation, generation, dissemination and application of domain data, information and knowledge (explicit and tacit). This is carried out in a trust-building community of practice environment.

The Working Areas will provide user-driven collaborative tools to its participants. Every MINERVA Community will also be able to work with MAHB in designing tools and services based on their needs.

This is MAHB's contribution towards the JRC Knowledge Management Strategy.

Access to MINERVA Communities

In its first phase of this multi-annual endeavour, access to the  MINERVA Communities Working Areas is limited to the experts therein. As the work within the collaborative virtual space emergently evolves, results will be shared with the public. The idea is that each community of practice will organically grow at its own pace and that, when deemed ready, engagement with the public will initiate.