International Research Association for Talent Development and Excellence (IRATDE) was founded at the University of Regensburg, Germany, in 2008 as a professional organisation and multidisciplinary network for scientists and researchers.
Its stated objectives are to:
- initiate, conduct, and support research in the fields of talent development, creativity, excellence and innovation
- assemble all who are interested in these fields for an exchange of ideas and experiences
- disseminate research findings
- provide a database for members and researchers and
- assist the development and evaluation of programs and educational endeavours in these fields.
IRATDE describes itself as ‘the only global association of its kind, set up for researchers and field professionals’. Yet its objectives seem to overlap significantly with those of the World Council (see above).
Like the World Council, it is a membership body. There is no information about the number of members. Although there is no charge, full membership is restricted to published scientists: organisations and practitioners may only be affiliates.
This seems at odds with IRATDE’s claim to be ‘committed to building bridges between theory and practice, particularly in the fields of gifted education, capacity building and organizational development’.
The executive committee includes three German representatives and one each from Australia, China Saudi Arabia.
The organisation publishes a newsletter ‘ Talent Talks’ and a research journal ‘Talent Development and Excellence, both of which are freely available on its website. The former, managed by an editorial board of two based in Hong Kong, has so far produced only a single edition, dated January 2010.
The latter, boasting a 15-strong international advisory board, has published twice, once in 2009 and once this year.
Again like the World Council, IRATDE organises biennial conferences (in the years between World Council Conferences). The inaugural conference took place in China in 2009. The newsletter report suggests there were about 60 participants. The conference website here does not include conference presentations.
The next conference will take place in November 2011 at King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia.
There is a Facebook page.
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that IRATDE has been established in direct competition with the World Council by those who are dissatisfied with its progress. As yet, its membership is unlikely to be strong enough to threaten the Council’s viability, but that may change.
The heavy focus on research does not promise a service of direct value to practitioners and policy-makers. Unless and until there is more evidence of interaction, it is unlikely to bring about significant direct improvements in the quantity or quality of G&T education.