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,”
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).
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.