CESAER Envoy Manuel Heitor emphasises importance of improved research careers at high-level conference of Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU

On 19 April, our Envoy on Research Careers Manuel Heitor underlined the importance of better research careers at the annual Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) conference.
26th April 2024
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At the MSCA annual conference held on 18 and 19 April in Mons (Belgium), we were represented by our Envoy on Research Careers & Co-Chair of our Task Force Human Resources, Manuel Heitor. Manuel is also the Chair of the expert group for Horizon Europe and its successor.

The overall theme of the conference was ‘Researchers’ careers: multiple pathways’. The conference showcased, among others, various examples of how researchers’ careers are non-linear, and should be treated as such.

Manuel Heitor called on Europe to better consider the quality of research jobs affecting, above all, young researchers, as well as to support and foster stability for modern research careers.

Two main issues were addressed:

1. new assessment procedures considering the quality of research jobs together with the quality and impact of research results, and;

2. new co-funding schemes and increased institutional autonomy to foster more and better research careers in Europe.

Manuel joined a panel discussion alongside Céline Peroni from European Commission’s department for education and culture and Michele-Rosa Clot from the Commission’s department for research and innovation. Additionally, representatives from the Marie Curie Alumni Association, Mostafa Moonir Shawrav, and the Guild, Julien Chicot were also present in the panel. A video of Manuel’s keynote speech, and the roundtable, is available below.

The panel discussion revolved around the significance of the new European Charter for Researchers and the related framework adopted in December by the Council of the EU.

In this panel, Manuel said:

“We should be very proud of the work done over the last 20 years by many stakeholders when it comes to research careers in Europe, as the numbers of researchers have improved tremendously. However, these numbers cannot distract us from the problem we have in Europe: it does not reflect the quality of research jobs, a quality which is becoming increasingly precarious, particularly for women, and young men.”

Manuel also talked about the gender imbalance, which strongly exists in research careers, and how not enough women have benefitted from the previous charter adopted in 2005. It is clear that attracting and retaining young underrepresented talent will be vital to address the critical challenge of fostering competitive excellence in research and innovation. Furthermore, it will be crucial for both the evolution of the European framework programme and ensuring the independence of existing programs like MSCA. In this light, CESAER aims at publishing a report on research careers this autumn to provide further evidence and guidance for the next steps.

The panel discussions starts at 2 hours and 24 minutes in the video recording.

For more information please contact our Junior Advisor for Research, Vincent Klein Ikkink.

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