Signposts to the end of the European rainbow

September 15, 1995

John Bosnell gives a guided tour of EU grants for research. Money to go somewhere else in Europe to work, attend conferences or visit large facilities is available from the European Commission's Training and Mobility of Reseachers programme. It has Pounds 520 million to hand out over four years to graduates, postdoctorate students (if under 35) and established researchers from both industry and academia.

The aim of the TMR programme is "to break down the barriers which inhibit the free and effective movement of researchers in Europe".

To apply, you must be studying the natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics and information science. Economics, human and social sciences projects are also eligible provided they can be shown to fulfil the aims of the EU's Fourth Framework Programme, which aims to improve the competitiveness of European industry and the quality of life in Europe.

If you come from Northern Ireland, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland or Merseyside (all regarded as "less-favoured") you could apply for a Return Grant, one of three types of research training grant available. Under this grant, after a period of at least 20 months abroad under the TMR programme, you can return home and carry on researching for a year with the EU footing the bill.

The second, and major, type of grant is the Training Grant, for postdocs who want training outside their country of citizenship. About 65 per cent of the TMR budget is intended for postdocs so they can spend between six months and two years doing research abroad. Postgraduates can also apply for between six months and three years' support.

The third grant, the Established Researcher Grant is for researchers with at least eight years of research experience in Europe to join a research team in a less-favoured region of Europe for up to a year. The idea is for the established researcher to impart knowledge and research expertise to the team.

There is also money for "Euroconferences" (high-level symposia) and for summer schools which give advanced training for postgraduate and postdoctorate researchers. You can apply to the conference organiser for your travel expenses if you are under 35 (or older if you have done military service or childcare).

Practical training courses can also get European funding.

For more information, find a copy of the Official Journal of the European Communities, your university's European liaison officer, or contact: Graham Blythe, DG XII-G-3 Training and Mobility of researchers, Office MO75, 4/30, European Commission, 200 rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 200 B-1049 Brussels, Tel: +32 2 295 58 22; Fax: +32 2 296 32 70; email

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