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Researchers Mobility Policy

- Objectives
- European Research Area
- Framework
programmes

- Assistance to Researchers


Removing obstacles

Increasing researcher mobility is a major tool in transferring scientific knowledge and in making the EU a more attractive location for research talent from all over world. Making sure researchers are well informed about the opportunities available and providing them with practical support before, during and after their move abroad is essential to a successful mobility experience.

Solving problems

Up until now, many researchers and their families have encountered practical problems when moving to other EU countries for training a factor often cited as a reason for choosing another destination to carry out their research.

The obstacles to mobility in Europe were highlighted in a report (PDF document 119KB) by a high-level expert group set up in the summer of 2000 to help the European Commission put together a mobility strategy for the European Research Area and to highlight good practices in this field. The experts found that the difficulties facing researchers vary between Member States and depend on the length of stay and the status of the researcher in his or her own country. Among the problems highlighted by the group include:

  • Career development — this relates to the fear that some researchers have of being left out of their national research system if they go abroad.
  • Financial issues —- mobility is often hampered by inadequate funding and insufficient numbers of fellowship opportunities.
  • Visa problems — sorting out residency and work permits can be problematic for third country researchers coming to Europe for training.
  • Social security and taxation — the differences in the social security and taxation systems in the Member States can make mobility financially unattractive for researchers.
  • Family issues — this includes problems with schooling, day-care, and finding suitable jobs for partners.
  • Lack of information and practical assistance - accessing comprehensive information on the funding opportunities available is an obvious first step, but not always easy to obtain.

In light of these findings, the European Commission adopted in June 2001 a Mobility Strategy for the European Research Area (PDF document 84KB) in which it proposed a series of actions to overcome these obstacles to researcher mobility. The strategy strives to create a "favourable environment for the mobility of researchers in ERA, in order to develop, attract and retain appropriate human resources in research and to promote innovation". A first progress report (PDF document 100 KB) on the steps taken to implement the strategy was already published in February 2003. A second implementation report (EN, FR, DE -PDF document - 270 KB) was finalised in April 2004.

The third Implementation Report (EN PDF document – 283 KB) published in April 2005, covers the activities developed in 2004 in the framework of both the ‘Mobility Strategy for the European Research Area’ and the Communication ‘Researchers in the ERA: one profession, multiple careers’.

Included in this strategy are two initiatives put in place by the European Commission and the Member States and candidate countries aimed at solving the specific problems of information provision and practical assistance.

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The pan-European Researchers' Mobility Portal

Logo Mobility Portal
The pan-European Researchers' Mobility Portal, launched in July 2003, is the Commission's initiative targeted at researchers which aims to provide them with the following useful information and services:
  • Links to research funding at national and international level.
  • Research organisations can advertise for free their job vacancies directly on the Portal and self-tune their candidate search.
  • Researchers can post for free their CV directly on the Portal and self-tune their job search.
  • Information about policies for human resources, administrative and legal issues for mobile researchers (the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, conditions of entry, social security and tax schemes, etc.)
  • Access to help-desk function through ERA-MORE, the European Network of Mobility Centres, which provide personal assistance to researchers moving from one country to another (see below).
  • Access to the national Researcher’s Mobility Portals.

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ERA-MORE - The European Network of Mobility Centres

Launched in 2004, the ERA-MORE network counts about 200 mobility centres and numerous local contact points in 32 different countries, providing personalised assistance to mobile researchers from inside and outside Europe.

Aimed at supporting greater mobility across Europe and attracting world-class talent from the rest of the world, ERA-MORE offers professional and personal assistance in a wide range of areas, including:

  • Career development – Information on job and funding opportunities abroad, or advice on reintegration as a researcher in the home country.
  • Legal issues – Help with visas and other legal requirements.
  • Social security, health and taxes – Information and advice on how to ensure adequate social security, health and pension coverage. Assistance in understanding taxation issues.
  • Everyday life – Information and assistance on all matters to settling down in a host country, e.g. housing or language courses.
  • Family support – Practical and legal assistance for researchers with accompanying family on matters such as schooling and child care.

More information

  • Brochure ‘Keys to mobility’ – EN, FR, DE (PDF document 175 Kb)
  • ERA-More network map – EN (PDF document 819 Kb)

last update: 13-01-2006