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Europe must act to strengthen research market, say advisers

An independent advisory group has called on European policymakers to create a monitoring system to track the mobility and career paths of researchers to make Europe more competitive in science.

The report states that a lack of investment and mobility and limited research cooperation between member states is affecting the ability of Europe capitalise on its research base by attracting international researchers. “The research community in Europe is very fragmented and clearly lacks a strong voice to communicate and interact with policy-makers and funders of research,” says the report, which was written by an expert group established by the European Commission.

A European monitoring system would help overcoming this fragmentation by generating information on the research profession to inform policy, says the report. A proposed European Framework for Research Careers should also be implemented to tackle current disparities in career structures across the member states. This would include improving working conditions such as access to funding, lifelong training and salary levels.

The expert group was chaired by Martin Hynes, chief executive of the European Science Foundation. “Global competition for the best research talents is growing. The European Union therefore needs to make strong progress in improving career prospects for researchers and creating conditions for their mobility […],” the ESF said in a statement. “This will help ensure an adequate supply of researchers and enhance the quality of EU research.”

The report was published last month as part of the Commission’s European Research Area Framework Impact Assessment. However, the report was only made available this week.