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.
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
The obstacles to mobility in Europe were highlighted
in a report
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
- 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 (
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 (
100 KB) on the steps taken to implement the strategy was already
published in February 2003. A second implementation report (EN,
- 270 KB) was finalised in April 2004.
The third Implementation
– 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.
The pan-European Researchers'
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,
- 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.
ERA-MORE - The European Network of Mobility
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,
- Career development – Information on job and funding opportunities
abroad, or advice on reintegration as a researcher in the home
- 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
- Brochure ‘Keys to mobility’ – EN,
- ERA-More network map – EN