ISE welcomes the fact that the Commission wants to strengthen researchers’ careers to attract and retain talents and make the overall system stronger and more competitive — as showed by the the European Commission Directorate General Research and Innovation (DG RTD) “Proposal for a COUNCIL RECOMMENDATION on a European framework to attract and retain research, innovation and entrepreneurial talents in Europe”.
We have been arguing for major initiatives to improve the present situation of researcher’s careers, especially early career researchers, as shown by our Manifesto published in September 2023. We want to positively highlight:
(1) The renewed recommendation to ensure attractive career conditions for researchers including an important (and urgent) shift from fixed-term contracts to permanent or long-term positions;
(2) The promotion for a wider use of institutional/basic funding alongside project-based funding;
(3) The importance of improving researchers’ career assessment towards a more balanced system between the quantitative and qualitative evaluation of research;
(4) The recognition of the need for an improved work-life balance as essential for better productivity and a healthy lifestyle.
However, as we explain in this Opinion, the project, in its present form, is falling short in the following three main areas:
1. The EFRC is lacking effective procedures to ensure successful implementation and auditing of the recommendations for career progression and tenure track models.
2. The EFRC lacks concrete methods for addressing the departure of postdoctoral researchers to industry.
3. The target of the EFRC should be better defined