Brussels, 19 Sep 2002
While Europe is potentially capable of producing the scientists to meet aspirations of a knowledge driven economy, most EU Member States have inadequacies at almost every stage in the process, according to a new report.
The report, which examines human resources in research and technological development (RTD) in the EU, and is published by the European Commission, addresses the question of whether the EU has at its disposal the appropriate skills, at the appropriate time and place, and of the appropriate quality and quantity.
The paper puts forward a series of recommendations intended to address the EU's lack of human capital. These include priority changes in the school system to increase the number of students choosing to study science, measures to address teacher shortages and better resources and working conditions at training institutions so as the increase the attractiveness of scientific careers.
Special attention should also be given to the phase of recruiting young graduates and researchers with PhDs to research careers. The report claims that the public sector is becoming increasingly uncompetitive in some EU countries.
Measures should also be taken to ensure the efficient utilisation of experienced researchers throughout the whole career period, advises the report.
The proportion of researchers in the EU's workforce is only two thirds of that of the USA and Japan, and at present growth rates, the EU will not catch up, says to the report.
The paper calls for more attention to be paid to researcher mobility, both in and out of the Community and between disciplines and sectors. The report writers claim that 'some Member States may be experiencing unacceptable haemorrhages of scientific talent.' This weakens EU competitiveness in the knowledge based economy, says the paper.
In terms of good practice, the report highlights Finland as well as the regions of Bavaria in Germany and Flanders in Belgium as role models for the rest of the EU.
To see the report, please consult the following web address: ftp://ftp.cordis.lu/pub/rtd2002/docs/bench_0802.pdf