Concept & Goals

“A core element of completing the ERA by 2014, as called for by the Innovation Union Flagship Initiative, is strengthening the capacity of the Member States to attract and train young people to become researchers, and to offer internationally competitive research careers to keep them in Europe and attract the best from abroad (cf. IU Commitments 1, 4, and 30). An Irish Presidency Conference on this theme will assess progress and map out the outstanding issues. In particular, it is envisaged that the event will address the role of the European Framework for Research Careers and make final recommendations for doctoral training in the context of EU Research and Innovation Funding beyond 2014.

The event organised by the Irish Presidency aims to improve the coordination and coherence of policy initiatives and actions at EU and national levels and thereby will contribute to advance the realisation of the objectives of the Innovation Union initiative, including ERA.”

Presidency Conference: Excellence through ERA – achieving the 2014 deadline

We are now at a critical point in the European initiative. Economic downturn has led to much uncertainty but there is still a firm commitment from the Commission and Member States alike that investment in research and innovation is a critical part of economic recovery. There remains many challenges, not least the current discussion on the multiannual budget. The ability to implement policy (as laid out in the Lisbon Treaty) through the Framework Programme will be contingent on the final agreed budget for Horizon 2020 (2014-2020). Globally, despite cutbacks, there is keen demand for talented researchers and barriers to mobility will deter people from coming to and remaining in Europe.

Presidency conferences can play a key role in policy development and implementation. They facilitate engagement and discussion with a wide range of key stakeholders. The central theme of the conference will be achieving excellence in research and innovation through achieving the European Research Area. Researcher mobility is a major contributor to excellence however several obstacles stand in the way of a genuine European research labour market. One of the most important obstacles is the lack of transparent, open and merit-based recruitment, which makes research careers less attractive and hinders mobility and researcher career development.  An excellent system will attract talented people and facilitate their career development in Europe.

This conference will address progress towards achieving ERA by 2014. It is important to keep in mind that this deadline does not mean that all of the issues will have been resolved. One can liken this to the Single European Act (1992) where the deadline ensures that there is full commitment from Member States and all stakeholders to implement ERA. Therefore the conference will focus on assessing progress, identifying outstanding issues, and finally, formulating practical initiatives to speed up progress and overcome the outstanding issues.  In particular, it is envisaged that the event will address issues including the role of the European Framework for Research Careers and make final recommendations for doctoral training in the context of EU Research and Innovation Funding beyond 2014.

The issues to be addressed during the conference are listed as follows:

Recruitment of Researchers

o Open Recruitment as a pathway to Excellence

o Bringing new talent to companies

o European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for their Recruitment

o Progress in implementation through the HR Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)

o European Accreditation Mechanism for Charter & Code- based human resources management in universities and publicly-funded research

o Establishing EURAXESS as the European site for researcher jobs

o The challenges of getting researchers employed in sectors outside of academia


Preparing Doctoral Candidates for the Future

o Progress on the Principles of Innovative Doctoral Training (PIDT); learning from the outcomes of the DOC Mapping Study

o Experience through the Marie Curie Actions Initial Training Networks (ITN) and recent pilot schemes; the European Industrial Doctorate (EID) and Innovative Doctoral Programmes (IDP)

o Experience from Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Programme

o Experience from schemes that train doctoral candidates entirely/partly in industry; getting doctoral graduates into employment in industry or other employment sectors.


Professional Development and Training for Researchers

o Training for Researchers as a stepping stone to a successful career

o Promoting research careers in industry/other employment sectors

o Supporting the mobility of senior researchers including between different sectors (academia/industry) and disciplines.

O EURAXESS as a Careers Advice Centre


Mobility of People – Between Countries and/or Employment Sectors

o Assessing the success of the Scientific Visa (Directive 2005/71/EC) as a tool to attract international researchers

o Outcome of survey by EC on immigration for researchers and students

o Initiatives to attract and retain researchers from outside Europe.

o Initiatives to forge links with our diaspora outside of Europe – reducing “brain drain”.

o Supporting researchers with family (particularly families where more than one person is a researcher) to move around Europe.

The outcomes of key EU funded projects in this area in conjunction with the EURAXESS network will be integrated into the conference. The conference will link to the outcomes of the Cypriot conference, “Completing the European Research Area in the Context of the Innovation Union”, 14/11/2012. The outcomes of this conference will inform related activities under the Lithuanian Presidency in the latter part of 2013. For example, the planned conference dedicated to the research profession during Lithuania’s EU Council presidency, scheduled for November 2013.