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New measures to improve researchers' careers in the EU

As the shortage of researchers in Europe becomes more acute, the European Commission has released a communication proposing a course of action to enhance  researchers’ careers in Europe.

Although the EU produces more science and technology graduates than its major rivals, fewer researchers actually make it into the workforce – in Europe, just over five workers in every thousand are researchers, whereas in the United States the figure is more than 8.5 and in Japan it is nearly 10. Boosting R&D investment to 3% of national income – as EU leaders had agreed in Barcelona last year –requires Europe to create   700 000 additional researchers positions, the communication points out.

The Commission’s communication PDF document recommends a series of concrete steps to pave the way to a “genuinely competitive research labour market”. Under the heading ‘One profession, multiple careers’, it identifies the factors that affect R&D career development, such as training and recruitment methods. Among the actions it recommends are the creation of a European researchers’ charter to help researchers manage their careers. The communication also proposes a recruitment code of conduct, as well as establishing a common way of evaluating and recording researchers’ skills, qualifications and achievements.

Making the pieces fit

The Commission hopes that its communication will provide the “political impetus” for Member States, the research community and EU institutions to work more closely together to attract and retain in Europe the world’s top research talent. “Building on recent developments aimed at enhancing the mobility of researchers, such as the European Researchers’ Mobility Portal, and the forthcoming network of mobility centres, the   communication represents another important step forward in improving the EU’s attractiveness [to] research talent across the world,” said Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin.

The document’s key recommendations were echoed during a conference organised in Florence by the Italian Presidency of the European Union– which was timed to coincide with its release – on the topic of human resource mobility held in Italy.

More information:
- EC’s Press release



last update: 23-07-2003