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European Commission > Investing in European Research > Human Resources in S&T

Human Resources in S&T

To help Member States, Associated ones and Candidate Countries progress towards higher levels of R&D investment and more attractive framework conditions, a broad integrated strategy to strengthen human resources in R&D in Europe has been developed and implemented with all of them in recent years.

This EU strategy focuses on the following action lines:

  • Reinforcing the funding for training, mobility and career development of researchers;
  • Fostering the career prospects of researchers both in the public and private sectors;
  • Improving the overall environment for researchers in Europe and enhancing the public recognition of researchers

The aim is to realise an open and competitive European labour market for researchers, enhancing the diversification of competences and career paths at trans-national level.

On European funding dedicated to researchers, the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), as launched in 2007, provides lots of new and lasting opportunities for researchers, in particular through the 'Ideas' and 'People' programmes. For 'Ideas', implemented through the groundbreaking European Research Council (ERC), we have seen the first selection round in the Starting Grant competition for younger researchers. From 2008 the ERC is to launch the Advanced Grant scheme, which will channel around € 4 billion over the next 6 years to the very best research projects and the most talented researchers across Europe. The € 4.75 billion 'People' programme under FP7 considerably steps up the Marie Curie Actions to boost researchers' trans-national and inter-sectoral mobility, training and career development. In addition to well-known opportunities for (host) fellowships at various career stages, it will enter its second year with exiting new Marie Curie actions: COFUND, aimed at stimulating trans-national mobility in regional and national research fellowships programmes; and IRSES, an international research staff exchange scheme for countries with which the EU has an S&T agreement, as well as countries covered by the European Neighbourhood policy .

Staying with the international dimension of researchers' mobility and career development, but moving to regulatory actions, 12 October 2007 was the deadline by which Member states were expected to transpose into national law the Directive part of the "scientific visa"-package for fast-track admission and residence of third country researchers. Up to now only 11 Member states have notified the Commission of full or partial implementation.

As concerns policy actions, further progress has been marked in a number of areas. After unfolding ERA-LINK (aimed at linking-up with European researchers active outside Europe) in the US, the action has been successfully expanded to Japan and in 2008 the action will also target European researchers in China.

Closer to "home", issues regarding the mobility and career development of researchers inside Europe was addressed in the Commission's Green Paper on the future of the European Research Area. Concerning researchers, the public consultation on the Green Paper during the course of 2007 made it very clear that one of the issues most hampering Europe's development as a world class destination for science and technology are the difficulties researchers face when trying to work in another part of the EU.

That it why in spring 2008 the Commission intends to propose the "European researchers' passport partnership". This initiative will seek a renewed, focussed partnership with Member states and key-stakeholders to speed up the creation of a true European labour market for researchers by directly addressing current obstacles in key-areas such as social security, competitive, merit-based recruitment, recognition of experience gained elsewhere in the career path, fair employment conditions and the ability to move with existing grants and funding.

The resulting process with specific milestones and concrete deliverables for Member states and Commission, taking into account differences in national situations, will give rise to actions that will constitute the equivalent of a "researchers' passport", facilitating "brain circulation" and career development for researchers at European level.

In line with the development of this partnership, ERA-MORE - the European Network of Mobility Centres - and the European Researcher's Mobility Portal are object of a huge re-branding, to be unveiled by mid 2008, for the celebration of the 5 th Researcher's Mobility Portal's birthday. The two instruments being the 'visit card' of Europe for information about job and funding opportunities in the EU, as well as for personalised assistance to researchers and their families.




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