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Developing talents, advancing research

Guidelines for Inclusion of Researchers at Risk

This page outlines the role of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Guidelines for the Inclusion of Researchers at Risk. You will learn

  • who are researchers at risk
  • why supporting researchers at risk is important
  • how you can support researchers at risk through some best practise examples and main recommendations
  • where to find more information

Who are researchers at risk?

Researchers at risk include researchers, scholars and scientists at all stages of their careers who are experiencing threats to their life, liberty or research career, and those who are forced to flee or have been displaced because of such threats. 

Some researchers at risk have recognised refugee status, asylum status, or similar protection status.

However a more significant proportion of those seeking the assistance of NGOs specialising in the field of scholar protection are outside the refugee process, seeking or holding temporary visas/work permits through visiting research/scholar positions at host institutions in Europe or elsewhere, outside their home countries.

What are the MSCA Guidelines for the Inclusion of Researchers at Risk?

Academic freedom and freedom of scientific research are core principles of the European Union, as documented in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU.

They are in line with the European Commission’s key political priorities (2019-2024), and figure high on the European research and education agendas.

The MSCA Guidelines for the Inclusion of Researchers at Risk provide useful background on researchers at risk and recommend ways to improve their recruitment.

The guidelines have been developed by the European Commission with the help of the Inspireurope project, a Europe-wide initiative to support researchers at risk funded by the MSCA.

Why it’s important

In order to remain globally competitive and innovative, it is essential for Europe to invest in excellent researchers. At the same time, it must stay true to its common values.

As the EU’s flagship programme for the mobility and training of researchers, the MSCA are open to individuals of any nationality. They may be at any stage of their careers, from doctoral candidates to postdoctoral researchers.

As such, the MSCA are open to researchers at risk. All MSCA applicants and beneficiaries are encouraged to take measures to facilitate the participation of these researchers.

Recommended practices

To widen access for researchers at risk, MSCA applicants and beneficiaries are encouraged to consider these guidelines on a best-effort basis.

Most of the recommendations go beyond the MSCA, and may well be implemented by the higher education community more generally. The recommendations focus on aspects such as

  • dissemination
  • application, recruitment and selection of researchers
  • pre-arrival and post-arrival measures
  • career guidance and training of recruited researchers

To help implement the recommendations, the guidelines also provide several examples of good practice and relevant links to more information.