CREST peer learning group moderated by CHE meets in Dublin to exchange on the policies to lead early career researchers to academic excellence
The young scientific minds of Europe are faced with many challenges beyond those concerning their theses or of publishing their empirical results. For PhD candidates, their very status is debated across Europe, though the trend is for them to be considered as employees with full benefits rather than students. Good practices can be found in countries such as Belgium, where a dual employee/student status taking the best of both sides has been established. In still other countries, such as Estonia, PhD candidates will have the choice of employee or student status from 2012.
Certain measures are seen to be key practices for the development of the European Research Area and for a stronger knowledge society. Among these is the implementation of and aspects regarding structured PhD programmes. Though a great variety already exist, regardless of the model, the objectives of the system should dictate the choice of the instrument. When the objective is to establish a sense of team culture and cooperation in research, for example, inter-institutional cooperation for funding is needed. Both Denmark’s Aarhus University and Ireland’s PRTLI Awards Programme provided cases of such practices. Early career researchers are also hindered by issues relating to recruitment, career development, skills training, funding, and mobility. In addition, aspects such as the development of mentorship skills and involvement with industry at all levels of the researcher career are seen as important for the success of a robust and sustainable early career researcher system.
These topics and others were the focus of the CREST Peer Learning Activity on “Early Career Researchers: Recruitment and Careers”, which was held in Dublin, Ireland from 8-10 June 2010. CREST, the European Union committee for scientific and technical research, is an advisory body assisting the European Commission and the Council of the European Union on research issues. In the context of the “open method of coordination”, representatives from governments and higher education institutions of nine different countries came to Dublin for an exchange of experience and information.
This workshop was fourth in a series of five workshops in European countries. Reports of the workshops will be published in autumn of 2010. CHE, in coordination with the European Commission, took on moderating and rapporteuring roles.