Brussels, 02 Apr 2004
Thanks to the launch of a new search tool, Europe's researchers and students will be better equipped to track down R&D grants, fellowships and training opportunities at home and abroad.
Marie Curie search tools, helping researchers make the right career choices
© Source: PhotoDisc
Since the Lisbon Summit declarations in 2000, Europe has been mission-bound to become the world's powerhouse of knowledge, driven by innovation and new scientific endeavours – and all this by 2010. Two years later, sensing the European Union was falling behind schedule, this ambition was reinforced, at the Barcelona Summit, with a set of targets encouraging Member States to increase the percentage of GDP they spend on research and development – the so-called 3% objective.
It remains to be seen if the Union can achieve its stated goals. What is clear, however, is that human resources and mobility are crucial ingredients in the mixture of programmes and actions being taken by the EU to meet its deadline. Helping researchers during their careers – through training, career development and mobility opportunities – is the core aim of the EU's Marie Curie Actions, with its €1.58 billion budget under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) for research.
These opportunities are open to researchers of all ages and levels of experience regardless of nationality, and are one of the most visible means of developing and enhancing human resources in the European Research Area (ERA), according to the Commission's Marie Curie website.
Fast track information
One of the problems, researchers lament, is getting access to relevant information on available fellowships and grants.
So the Commission's Human Resources and Mobility programme decided to set up a more straightforward and fair system to help researchers identify training opportunities. The new search function set up for the Marie Curie Actions cuts out the middleman by allowing potential fellows, for example, to approach institutions and universities in the scheme directly.
Candidates can find out about vacancies, partnership opportunities and relevant events in the full range of Marie Curie Actions, including research training networks, host fellowships for early-stage research training, host fellowships for the transfer of knowledge, grants for excellence, and conferences and training courses.
For instance, web visitors can fill out the search form on the 'Host Fellowships/RTN' page – choosing from a number of options, such as whether they are looking for 'vacancies' or 'project information' and from which scientific discipline – and, with the click of a button, the database shows what is available.
In addition to the results provided on this new website, openings and information are also published on the Researchers' Mobility Portal – a self-described 'gateway' to research organisations offering grants, fellowships, training opportunities and job openings worldwide.