We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
In 2017, the JRC launched a pilot programme to welcome refugee scientists for one-week training programmes at the JRC. The objective of the programme is to introduce them to the European research context, which would allow them to pursue scientific activities in their field of expertise and to help them build up work experience, qualifications and contacts for future employment in Europe.
This scheme is in line with the efforts of the EU, academia and NGOs to help refugee scientists and researchers use their skills and experience to connect to other European researchers.
It was in this context that in March, a Syrian food technology scientist, a chemist and an environmental scientist from Ethiopia spent a week at JRC Ispra to learn more about the JRC's work on consumer product safety and land resources. Earlier in March, scientists from Syria and Iraq attended the same training programme on the JRC sites in Geel, Belgium, and Petten, The Netherlands.
The participants left with new ideas and encouragement to continue their scientific careers in Europe. They urged the JRC to continue with the mentoring programme and to reach out to other scientists.
The JRC is now discussing the feedback received from the participants and looking into how this pilot could be turned into a more permanent programme which would allow more scientists with a refugee background to reconnect with their scientific fields.