“People describe the current era in many ways, calling it the information age, or the post-industrial age. But, above all else, we are now living in the knowledge age.” These are not the words of a modern philosopher but editorial comments in the inaugural Europe4Researchers newsletter, produced by the European Commission. Headlinesquickly recaps this first issue and previews the next due out in November.
The Europe4Researchers – ‘European research on the move' – newsletter aims to document, on a regular basis, the rich rewards, and occasional challenges, of working and pursuing a career in research today. It showcases success stories and present news-making events, activities and policy measures, such as the European Charter for Researchers, which promote researcher mobility.
|Packing up your knowledge and using it elsewhere in Europe – truly mobile research.|
One news story in Issue 1 of the newsletter charts future Marie Curie Actions – human resources and mobility activities – under the EU's next Framework Programme (FP) for research. FP7 (2007-2013) is set to become the Union's most ambitious FP to date, with a proposed overall budget of almost €65 billion, double the current annual spending in FP6. If approved by Parliament and Member States, it would revolve around four specific programmes: Co-operation, Ideas, People and Capacities.
“By dedicating a specific programme to ‘People', the Commission underscores the growing importance of human resources in research and technology as a dynamo for scientific excellence and economic growth,” the article points out. “The ‘People' programme will strengthen, both quantitatively and qualitatively, Europe's human potential in research and technology. It will do this by inspiring more young people to take up research professions, encouraging European researchers to stay in Europe and widening their skills base, as well as attracting the world's best research talent to European shores.”
Broaden horizons abroad
In the article entitled ‘Labouring to understand worker rights in an enlarged EU', Issue 1 takes readers on an eastbound journey. Scottish social scientist Charles Woolfson tells the story of how economic liberalisation and EU enlargement is affecting workers in the Baltic's transition economies.
A former director of a Glasgow University graduate school, Woolfson notes during his travels East that the EU transition process has not been ‘pain-free' for the Baltic States. Weakening trade unions and ‘social dialogue' raise some concern, and there is evidence of deteriorating workplace safety and health, the article suggests.
The first edition's feature story focuses on Aki Virtanen, a Finnish sociologist whose move to Turkey has – for both private and work reasons – been a labour of love. As a teacher at Istanbul's esteemed Bogazici University (Bosphorus University), his work involves comparing the education systems and policies of various OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries.
In the story, Virtanen recounts the cultural and administrative challenges he faced migrating and working abroad. He laments that the ERA-MORE Mobility Centres in Turkey were not open when he first arrived, but that he would recommend their services to other researchers making a similar big move.
The next issue, out in November, gauges Europe's position in the so-called 'brain-drain-gain' stakes and announces the official launch of Slovenia's 'Researchers' Mobility Portal'. Among many interesting features, it takes a look at the legislative progress towards admitting third-country nationals into the EU for scientific research purposes, focusing on Greece's fast-track visa system for such researchers.
Special issues are also planned to cover two major events. The first, due out in December, covers an event which took place in the UK earlier this year focusing on the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for their Recruitment. The second, scheduled for January next year, will cover the second annual meeting of the ERA-MORE Network, taking place in Bled, Slovenia this month.