The EU can be thought of as the biggest laboratory of intercultural collaboration of today's world. The process of enlargement and the immigration from outside EU will further increase the degree of diversity. It is a fundamental objective of this thematic network to provide to European researchers an interdisciplinary forum that studies the complex relationships between economic growth and innovation and cultural diversity. The working idea is that a useful approach to understand the costs and benefits of European diversity is to think of Europe as a potential reproduction on a world scale of some of the characteristics that urban centres have on a national and regional scale, given the high density of population and the variety of cultures represented. Using cities as a laboratory of diversity, a pattern of multidisciplinary workshops is proposed to assess likely costs and benefits associated with cultural diversity.

Interdisciplinary workshops are the driving force of the thematic network. Workshops will be held on specialised themes covering relevant issues related to economic growth, innovation and cultural diversity. The series of workshops are preceded by a project plenary meeting between partners addressing the need to adopt common definitions, in a sort of cross-disciplinary brainstorming. The establishing of a common cross-disciplinary language of discussion will not stop after this meeting but is intended as process and is one of the main working lines of the thematic network.

Each workshop is organised and hosted by one of the partners and steered by an interdisciplinary committee comprising representatives from other partners. Workshops are designed to encourage and facilitate shared learning. Policy-makers at local, regional, national and EU level will be involved.

ENGIME is financed by the European Commission, Fifth RTD Framework Programme, Key Action Improving Socio-Economic Knowledge and co-ordinated by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.