High level policy recommendations on how to foster researcher career development
A number of representatives from different European organizations worked together on a set of recommendations for the Member States, research funding and performing organizations and researchers to support a harmonized strategy for researcher career development in Europe.
Member states of research funding organizations should..
- The endorsement could be in the form of having researcher career development (RCD) strategies or in a more informal way, but it should be clear that the RCD is part of the political agenda.
- The commitment of resources could be achieved by mainstreaming researcher career development support within all funding schemes.
- Researcher career development can only be fully achieved if other aspects of researchers´ careers are improved in parallel (pension schemes that do not hamper mobility, open recruitment processes, better availability of tenure track positions, dual careers opportunities and, in general terms, a research-friendly labor market). It should be noted that career development is important for researchers at all stages of their careers from R1 upwards, and that sometimes mid-career researchers would benefit a lot from career support at crunch times in their quest for funding or permanent positions.
- The outputs from scientific research are many and varied, and the evaluation systems should be flexible enough to also acknowledge transferrable and interdisciplinary skills. This flexibility would encourage researchers to engage with research career development plans that foster new attributes and capacities that will enrich their career.
Research performing organizations should..
- RPOS need to work on RCD strategies that harmonize and channel all the activities within the institution.
- The strategies need to be accompanied with funding strategies to guarantee their sustainability.
- The strategies need to find a good balance between the institution’s responsibility for supporting RCD of their staff and the personal responsibility of researchers for their own development.
- The strategies should have principal investigators as key targets, as they can be multipliers of the cultural change needed in research environments.
- The strategies should contemplate enhancing researchers’ engagement in mentoring, skills teaching and/or science policy through reward systems including economic complements and other recognitions.
- So that they become more flexible and include acknowledgment of broader activities beyond classic research outputs
- Research Development framework for their researcher career development strategies and activities so that a common language is used throughout Europe. Of course, they will have the freedom and autonomy to adapt it to their own context.
- Evaluation systems should acknowledge all sides of research outputs, including those that require sets of transferrable skills. Researchers should request these systems to be harmonized in Europe so that the current imbalances (for example, some institutions still almost exclusive consider research papers) are polished.
- To make sure their RCD needs and expectations are heard and supported by their institutions