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Analysis: ERA-MORE - a welcome service for the mobile researcher

30 June 2004 - This week’s official inauguration of the European Network of Mobility Centres (ERA-MORE) marks an important milestone on the road – first embarked upon by European leaders four years ago – to enhancing researcher mobility across the EU.

Now that Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin has officially launched ERA-MORE, the 200-plus centres that are part of the network will undoubtedly become a must-see for researchers moving to a new European country. “Mobility centres will often represent a first contact point for researchers undertaking a mobility experience,” observes Busquin.

The new EU-backed network aims to make this cross-border transition as easy as possible for researchers and their families, thereby reinforcing the European Research Area. ERA-MORE is the latest initiative created, through the Union’s research programmes, to help Europe fulfil its ambition – spelt out in Lisbon in 2000 – of becoming the world’s most competitive knowledge-based economy.

In gearing up for this ambitious goal, the Union is seeking to boost its R&D investment to some 3% of gross domestic product, which will require the training of between 600 000 and 700 000 new researchers on the way. To meet this burgeoning demand for researchers, the Union needs to work on three fronts: interesting young people in scientific careers, reversing the brain drain of EU scientists, and attracting top researchers from around the world.

“The ERA-MORE network finds its origin in the commitment of European leaders in March 2000 to identify the remaining obstacles to the mobility of researchers in Europe and to find urgent solutions for their removal,” Busquin explains. It is part of a suite of Commission initiatives seeking to improve the mobility of European researchers and make the EU a more attractive destination for international talent. These include the on-line Researchers’ Mobility Portal, the new ‘scientific visas’ for third country researchers, and the brand new 2005 ‘Researchers in Europe’ Initiative (See related article).

One-to-one support
Travel broadens the mind and opens the door to a wealth of new professional and cultural experiences. But it also involves a number of practical hurdles. “Undertaking a mobility experience represents a real challenge for many researchers and their families,” notes Jimmy Jamar of the Human Resources and Mobility directorate at the Commission’s Research Directorate-General. Researchers often mention a lack of adequate support as one reason why they do not take up mobility opportunities in Europe.

ERA-MORE provides one-to-one assistance to national and foreign researchers at various stages before, during and after their periods abroad. By tapping into the resources of dozens of existing organisations in 33 countries, the centres will provide much-needed help to that will ease the pain of moving. The aim is to provide researchers and their families with comprehensive and up-to-date information and assistance on all matters relating to their professional and daily lives in their host country.

“The members of the network will take the commitment either to provide the answers directly, based on their own experiences and knowledge of the area, or to direct the researcher to the appropriate information source,” Jamar says.

The centres will help researchers with diverse issues, ranging from visas and work permits, to day care, schooling and language courses. “All services will be accessible free of charge,” Jamar points out. For ease of access, a convenient link to the ERA-MORE website has been added to several EU website, including the Research Directorate-General’s popular homepage.

If you are a researcher looking to get mobile, do not forget to bookmark this valuable resource.

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last update: 28-06-2004