Sustainable research careers for a sustainable recovery
The pandemic illustrated the importance and value of research and its workforce. But the value of research is unfortunately not reflected in the working conditions of researchers nor in equal career opportunities for women. Europe needs stronger measures to value researchers and their work for society and economy.
“Research and innovation policy will play a key role in responding to the challenges brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic. R&I are critical levers to ensure a sustainable and inclusive recovery, while boosting the resilience of our production sectors, the competitiveness of our economies and the transformation of our socio-economic systems.” This is what the “Strategic Plan 2020-2024” on research and innovation of the EU Commission is saying.
But, for research to fulfil its role, it needs good working conditions for researchers. The OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook of 2021 is questioning whether current academic career structures and the allocation processes for research funding is largely affecting the precarity and attractiveness of research careers and generate a lack of diversity in the scientific workforce.
Therefore, Eurocadres welcomes the recent EU Council conclusion (May 2021), which stresses “the increasing trend towards precariousness of employment in academia, loss of talent and reduction of job security in many countries, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic”. The Council asks Member States and the Commission for appropriate instruments and tools promoting attractive working conditions within and beyond academia.
- Eurocadres calls for applying the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers which should ensure in particular stability and permanence of employment, gender balance, career development, career advice, value of mobility, and intellectual property rights for the researchers in Europe.
- Eurocadres claims for member state to promote gender equality as well as diversity and inclusiveness in science, research and innovation. Only one third of European researchers are women, men hold more than three quarters of the top academic positions. The pandemic intensified the inequality between men and women due to increased telework.
- We insist that the target of investing 3% GDP on EU research and development is reaffirmed and propose a new EU 1.25% GDP public effort target to be achieved by member states by 2030, as it is established by the European Research Area (ERA) based on excellence, competitive, talent-driven and open.
- Eurocadres urges both private and public administrations, companies and universities as well as research institutions to make lifelong training available for all researchers so that their career does not come to a standstill and also to provide solutions so that their careers are not precarious. It is important so that we can attract and keep talent within Europe. It is important that there are measures to support researchers’ careers through a mobility scheme and trainings in order to make it more attractive for talent.
- Eurocadres encourages the creation of guiding principles for creating value from knowledge and a code of practice for an appropriate use of intellectual property.
 Strategic plan 2020-2024 – Research and Innovation, DG Research and Innovation (2020)
 Eurocadres’ “Benchmarks for best contracts: towards excellence in the European Research Area” (2013)
 OECD Science, Technology and Innovation Outlook 2021: Times of Crisis and Opportunity, OECD (2021).