For the purpose of this Recommendation the internationally recognised Frascati definition of research17 will be used. Consequently, researchers are described as

"Professionals engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge, products, processes, methods and systems, and in the management of the projects concerned."

More specifically, this Recommendation relates to all persons professionally engaged in R&D at any career stage18, regardless of their classification. This includes any activities related to "basic research", "strategic research", "applied research", experimental development and "transfer of knowledge" including innovation and advisory, supervisory and teaching capacities, the management of knowledge and intellectual property rights, the exploitation of research results or scientific journalism.

A distinction is made between Early-Stage Researcher and Experienced Researchers:

  • The term Early-Stage Researcher19 refers to researchers in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of their research activity, including the period of research training.
  • Experienced Researchers20 are defined as researchers having at least four years of research experience (full-time equivalent) since gaining a university diploma giving them access to doctoral studies, in the country in which the degree/diploma was obtained or researchers already in possession of a doctoral degree, regardless of the time taken to acquire it.


In the context of this Recommendation "employers" refers to all those public or private institutions which employ researchers on a contractual basis or which host them under other types of contracts or arrangements, including those without a direct financial relationship. The latter refers particularly to institutions of higher education, faculty departments, laboratories, foundations or private bodies where researchers either undergo their research training or carry out their research activities on the basis of funding provided by a third party.


"Funders" refers to all those bodies21 which provide funding, (including stipends, awards, grants and fellowships) to public and private research institutions, including institutions for higher education. In this role they might stipulate as a key condition for providing funding that the funded institutions should have in place and apply effective strategies, practices and mechanisms according to the general principles and requirements presented in this Recommendation.

Appointment or employment

This refers to any type of contract or stipend or to a fellowship, grant or awards financed by a third party including funding within the context of the Framework Programme(s)22.


17. In: Proposed Standard Practice for Surveys on Research and Experimental Development, Frascati Manual, OECD, 2002.
18. COM (2003) 436 of 18.7. 2003: Researchers in the ERA: One profession, multiple careers.
19. See Work Programme Structuring the European Research Area Human Resources and Mobility Marie Curie Actions, edition September 2004, page 41.
20. Idem, page 42.
21. The Community will endeavour to apply the commitments laid down in this Recommendation
to the receiver of funding in the context of the Framework Programme(s) for Research, Technological
Development and Demonstration Activities.
22. The Framework Programme(s) for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration