Supporting modern and stable research careers in Europe

Our Board of Directors has appointed Manuel Heitor as CESAER Envoy on Research Careers and adopted a position ‘Supporting modern and stable research careers in Europe’.
30th June 2023
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LEUVEN, 30 June 2023

The leading universities of science and technology united within CESAER today announce the appointment of an Envoy and the publication of a position to support modern and stable research careers in Europe.

Rik Van de Walle (President of CESAER and Rector of Ghent University) said:

“For universities of science & technology, researchers are at the core of what we do.

“However, instead of finding an environment that nurtures them, across Europe too many smart and young researchers are being pushed out of research careers. This strikes at the heart of universities and represents an enormous loss for our knowledge-based societies.

“Let us take action today, so that we can look back upon this as the watershed moment for when our societies fully committed to eliminating precarity of research careers.”

Manuel Heitor appointed CESAER Envoy on Research Careers

Our association is delighted to announce that our Board has appointed Manuel Heitor (Instituto Superior Técnico) as CESAER Envoy on Research Careers with immediate effect and until the end of 2025. As an Envoy, Manuel will advise and support the Board, and is mandated to speak on behalf of the Board on all matters related to the envoyship.

Manuel Heitor is Full Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) and the founding director of IN+, the Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy Research at IST. From November 2015 to March 2022 he served as Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal and from March 2005 to June 2011 as Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Higher Education.

During the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, he chaired the meeting of the Council of the EU on 28 May 2021 when conclusions were adopted on ‘Deepening the European Research Area: Providing researchers with attractive and sustainable careers and working conditions and making brain circulation a reality’ providing a foundation for renewed efforts to support modern research careers in Europe.

Position ’Supporting modern and stable research careers in Europe’ adopted

The position (PDF) published by our association today provide five key recommendations:

  1. Unlock stability in researcher careers through sustainable institutional funding;
  2. Pursue balanced funding to achieve balance between temporary and non-temporary contracts;
  3. Strengthen evidence base: Implementing a ‘Research & Innovation Careers Observatory’;
  4. Modernise outdated legal and employment frameworks;
  5. Foster excellent institutional support of (early-career) researchers through the European Excellence Initiative.

Manuel Heitor (CESAER Envoy on Research Careers & Instituto Superior Técnico) said:

“There is a wide consensus throughout Europe about the need to further attract and retain the best talent for research. Indeed, research is the basis upon which present and future generations will be able to conduct the major transitions needed for our societies.

“To attract and retain the best talent requires increasing recognition of the research activity and a move to a new conceptual framework and assessment methodologies that consider the quality of research and innovation jobs, in parallel with the quality and the impact of research results.

“To support the achievement of these goals throughout Europe, the next European framework programme should foster diversified research careers at a European level, across the public and the private sectors, including non-governmental organisations and the third sector.

“Universities do not act in a vacuum, and to take this to the next level and truly eliminate precarity for researchers, we must join forces in partnership with EU institutions, national and regional governments, research funding organisations and broader societal players including industry.

“The position published today lays the foundation for creating, advancing and expanding such partnerships.”

Mattias Björnmalm (Secretary General) said:

“With the ongoing momentum in Europe and beyond, and the full legal backing provided by the Lisbon Treaty, we urge the EU institutions to seize the opportunity and leverage the legal mandate provided to actively lead efforts ensuring progress in supporting modern and stable research careers in Europe.

“We offer our full support for this endeavour.”

Photo: Rik Van de Walle (President, left) and Manuel Heitor (Envoy, right) during the CESAER events hosted by National Technical University of Athens from 19 to 20 June 2023.



For more information, please contact Mattias Björnmalm (Secretary General).

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