The main features of the workshops are their emphasis on practical issues, opportunities to interact with teachers (and with other participants ), active participation in training activities (with particular emphasis on the acquisition of skills) and the provision of specific advice about problems that the participants may bring forward.
The workshops last seven half-days. They includes topics such as “How to prepare a poster”, “How to review a paper”, ” How to teach clinical skills”, “How to organize a symposium”, “How to write a curriculum vitae”, “How to write a scientific paper”, “How to give a lecture”, “How to write a letter to a collaborator abroad”, “How to serve on a committee”, “How to chair a meeting”, “How to select a topic for one’s research”, “How to do research with little or no resources”, “How to participate in a multicentric research”, “How to read a scientific paper”, “How to select instruments for the assessment of mental state”. A part of the workshops is left flexible so that they can be adapted to the specific needs of the participants.
The faculty of the workshops is usually composed of two or three teachers in addition to the Director of the programme who also participates in the teaching. At least one of the teachers is from the country where the meeting is organized. Teachers are selected on the basis of their expertise which, in general, should be complementary to that of the local teacher. As a rule, the teachers have an excellent international reputation. All teachers participate in the workshops throughout, i.e. they are present for four full days: half a day before the workshop to harmonize their interventions, to review the programme and to agree on its conduct, and three and half-days in the workshops with the participants – teaching and being available for discussion and advice.
In advance of the workshops all candidates receive a brief description of the programme and an indication of what is expected from them during the workshop and in preparation for it. They are also sent some papers or books selected by the teaching faculty. The participants are expected to prepare a poster and a presentation on a topic of their choice. They are also invited to list topics that are of particular interest to them.