Researchers Profession In the European Research Area ­ Council (Extract from: Provisional Minutes of the Competitiveness Council of 10 Nov.)

November 11, 2003

Brussels, 10 Nov 2003


"Council Resolution on the Profession and the Career of Researchers Within the European Research Area (era)

The Council of the European Union


1. The Council Resolutions of 15 June 2000 and 16 November 20001 on the European Research Area (ERA) which, inter alia, stressed the importance of developing human resources as the key to research excellence in Europe, as well as the need to introduce a European dimension into researchers' careers;

2. The Commission Communication on: "A mobility strategy for ERA",2 and the subsequent Council Resolution3 concerning the "Reinforcement of the mobility strategy within the European research area (ERA)" which endorsed efforts to create a more favourable environment for researchers in Europe; as well as the Commission Communication on "The role of the universities in the Europe of knowledge"4;

3. The Commission's Communications on "More Research for Europe towards 3% of GDP"5, and "Investing in research: an action plan for Europe"6 which stressed that more researchers are needed by 2010 as well as the subsequent Council Resolution of 22 September 2003 on "Investing in research for European growth and competitiveness"7 which underlined the fact that enhanced investment in human resources in particular through the development of the training of researchers and the promotion of career opportunities would be key factors in achieving the 3% objective for investment in research;

4. The Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006)8 which, in particular under its "Human resources and mobility" chapter, supports the development of abundant and dynamic world- class human resources in the European research system, taking into account the inherent international dimension of research;

5. The Council Resolution on "Science and society and on women and science"1 and the importance of the science/society dialogue and the gender dimension in achieving the full potential of R&D efforts in ERA;

6. The discussions in the context of the Bologna Process and the development of the European Higher Education Area, and in particular the conclusions of the Berlin Conference on the Bologna Process in September 2003, which referred to the importance of research as an integral part of higher education across Europe;

7. The conclusions of recent European Councils, which have endorsed the creation and development of the ERA, highlighted the importance of investment in R&D to achieve a higher degree of competitiveness and economic growth and, in this context, have emphasised the importance of developing human resources in R&D;

8. REAFFIRMS that research and researchers play a key role in stimulating European growth and competitiveness;

9. WELCOMES the Commission's Communication "Researchers in ERA: one profession, multiple careers"2 which analyses the different factors which condition and shape careers in R&D and which refers to researchers as "professionals engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge, products, processes, methods and systems, and in the management of the projects concerned";

10. RECOGNISES that a variety of factors affect the careers of researchers in Europe, bearing in mind the diversity of approach within Member States. These relate to, inter alia, training, mobility, recruitment methods, the development and evaluation of careers, as well as the contractual and salary situation according to the sectors in which researchers operate or the legal, administrative, infrastructural and cultural environment in which they work, as well as the level of R&D funding. RECOGNISES that improvements in these areas are needed to contribute to the development of a true European employment market for researchers, paying specific attention to an enlarged European Union;

11. THE COUNCIL THEREFORE WELCOMES the Commission's approach to overcome the difficulties inherent in research training and mobility and career development, in cooperation, on a voluntary basis, with Member States and other stake holders including both public and private sectors. The Commission's actions would complement other initiatives in this area being undertaken also in the international context taking into account the experience of relevant third countries. It welcomes in particular the Commission's intention to:

  • Work towards the development of a "European Researcher's Charter" in order to further improve the framework for the career management of human resources in R&D, and a code of conduct for the recruitment of researchers, taking into account the specificities of different sectors and based on best practice;
  • Launch a European Year of Researchers to strengthen the public recognition of the profession of researchers and careers in R&D;
  • Further analyse different career development issues and research training including data collection and analysis of needs, which could also feed into actions implementing the open method of coordination;
  • Intensify efforts to improve the operation of the Researchers' Mobility Portal and the European network of mobility centres.
12. INVITES Member States, Acceding States and the Commission, in cooperation with the stake holders including both public and private sectors, to undertake, on a voluntary basis, actions, in particular through the implementation of the open method of co-ordination (omc), as agreed by the Scientific and Technical Research Committee (CREST), in relation to:

  • developing criteria for recording different professional achievements throughout the career of researchers taking into account developments in the "Bologna Process";
  • exchanging good practice, where appropriate at international level, as regards the evaluation and appraisal systems for careers in R&D;
  • encouraging the social dialogue, as well as dialogue among researchers, stakeholders and society at large, including improving public awareness of science and promoting the interest of young people in research and in a career in science;
  • overall working conditions for doctoral candidates, including aspects such as parental leave, and taking necessary steps, bearing in mind reciprocity at European level, regarding the portability of national loans and grants in the context of enhanced mobility for researchers;
  • promoting equal opportunities for men and women researchers when developing these initiatives;
  • continuing efforts to remove other obstacles to a career in research or to mobility including those related to intersectoral mobility and mobility between and within public and private sectors as well as mobility between different functions, taking into account an enlarged European Union;
13. INVITES the Commission to report regularly on the progress achieved in improving the employment and career prospects for researchers in Europe."

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