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Commission to publish Communication on research careers in Europe

Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin has announced plans to adopt a Communication in June 2003 looking at the issue of scientific research careers in Europe. The document is expected to outline a number of concrete proposals aimed at improving the career prospects and social visibility of researchers working in Europe. The overall objective is to encourage more young people to take up scientific careers, essential to Europe's future competitiveness and job creation potential.

Speaking at an international workshop on scientific research careers in Brussels on December 15-16, 2002, Commissioner Busquin said: "Human resources are essential to the realisation of the ambitious political objectives we have set ourselves, most notably the creation of the European Research Area and developing Europe into the world's most competitive, dynamic knowledge-based economy by 2010."

He acknowledged that there are many obstacles to the free movement of researchers in Europe, some of a legal nature (cross-border recognition of degrees, differences in social security and pension systems, etc) and others relating to socio-cultural issues (lack of information and practical support, problems facing researchers returning to their home country after time spent abroad).

In an effort to combat these and other problems, Commissioner Busquin explained that the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for R&D (FP6) has made human resources and mobility a priority area. The share of funds available for human resources has increase by over 50% compared with FP5 to a total €1.58 billion. Earlier this week, the Commission launched the first calls for proposals for the new FP6 Marie Curie Actions to promote the training, mobility and career development of researchers in Europe. Twelve calls have been included in the first batch, backed up with funds of €744.5 million.

The Commission also outlined two new initiatives, developed in co-operation with the Member States and candidate countries, which will be launched during the first half of next year. These will help to make a researcher's mobility experience as trouble-free as possible:

  • A researcher's mobility portal, giving detailed information on EU and national legislation, finance opportunities and job openings.
  • A European network of mobility centres, providing practical, personalised assistance to researchers and their families planning to move abroad.

Full details of the first FP6 call for proposals are available on CORDIS. Commissioner Busquin's speech to the workshop is also online. The event was organised by the Belgian Association for the Advancement of Science, with the support of the European Commission and the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of the French Community of Belgium.

last update: 06-01-2003