A European partnership for researcher careers and mobility

Laurent Cousin

The European Commission plans to establish a partnership with member states in order to achieve “measurable progress” by 2010 in recruitment, social security, pensions and working and training conditions for researchers.

Europe wants to keep its researchers, and even convince those who have left to return. To meet this goal, it has outlined a new partnership for its member states. This partnership involves granting researchers a certain number of advantages in four areas: recruitment, social security and pensions, working conditions and training.

Universities and public research institutions will thus have more recruitment autonomy. Positions will be more open to competition and recruitment of foreign researchers will be encouraged. The partnership also hopes to enable researchers to move more easily thanks to the portability of grants. Grants will follow the research and no longer be tied to an institution.

Another aim is to better coordinate and provide targeted information among member states in the areas of pensions and social security. Mobile researchers would thus be able to pay into the same supplementary pension plan while working in various EU countries and respecting the various legislations.

The Commission also wishes to improve working conditions for researchers by enabling senior researchers to better advance in their career and junior researchers, who often have a string of short-term contracts, to be hired more easily when a contract ends. Regular evaluations will be set up and access will be given to broader autonomy and better training that is more open to the non-academic world.

An overall assessment of these actions will be made in 2010.