European Universities Associations Response to Council’s Research Career Recommendations

2 November 2023

Based on the outcomes of the European Research Policy Agenda Action 4 on research careers and talents, the European Commission has proposed EU Council recommendations regarding the implementation of activities related to research careers and retaining talent.

As part of the university sector Aurora Universities, together with four university associations (EUA, The Guild, Coimbra Group, and YERUN), supports the proposal. Although this proposal is about recommendations to EU Member States, the actual implementation of the activities and use of tools mentioned in the proposal, including the Research Competence Framework, a revised Charter for Researchers, a pension scheme (RESAVER), and an observatory on research careers (ReICO), may not be optimal for the sector. We recommend further steps to include:

  • The presence of enabling framework conditions for institutions and the stability granted by long-term core funding needed for sustainable research careers;
  • Envisioning a holistic and long-term perspective for flexible and multiple career pathways;
  • The empowerment of universities to offer stable and more predictable research careers;
  • And the need to develop the evidence base for monitoring research careers in an open and sustainable manner.

We also conclude that the Charter for Researchers, the Research Competence framework, the HRS4R label and the Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment are incentives that should remain voluntary and inspirational. Finally, it should be noted that the voluntary status of the Council Recommendations may lead to further divergence in career pathways and talent retainment strategies between countries already having mechanisms in place versus countries not implementing the recommendations.

The full statement can be read here.