Brussels, 02 Dec 2004
If a scientist relocates to another country during the course of an ongoing project they will now be able to transfer their research funding with them, thanks to an agreement concluded by the European Heads of Research Councils (EUROHORCs).
The representatives of 12 research organisations from 10 countries have signed up to the so-called 'money follows researcher' agreement, and another six to eight signatures are expected before the end of the year. The aim is to facilitate the mobility of scientists within the European Research Area (ERA), preserve existing research initiatives, and bridge the gap until researchers' applications for funds in a new country has been successful.
In signing the agreement, organisations affirm their support for the 'money follows researcher' principle and its implementation within their individual structures, however each organisation can decide when and to what extent the transfer of funding is appropriate. In order to qualify for a transfer of grants, a researcher must move to a new position in one of the other participating countries.
According to the German Research Foundation (DFG), based on experience gained in similar bilateral agreements a number of basic principles can be applied. The precondition for a transfer of resources is an existing grant, whether it is an individual grant or part of a coordinated programme. If possible, argues the DFG, the project should have at least another six months to run, but if it hasn't yet begun, a transfer can be limited to one year. 'The possibility of transferring equipment and larger investments needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis,' it adds.
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