Highly trained researchers are needed to advance science and underpin innovation, and to attract and sustain public and private investment in research. With growing global competition, the development of an open European labour market for researchers and the diversification of skills and career paths of researchers are crucial, and mobility, both trans-national and inter-sectoral, is a key component of the European Research Area.
The Commission’s proposal for the FP7 Specific Programme on ‘People’ aims to improve the quality of the human potential in European R&D and increase the number of researchers and others working in the R&D sector. It aims to do this by stimulating people to enter into research professions, encouraging European researchers to stay in Europe and making Europe more attractive for the best researchers from around the world. At the same time, training and career development of researchers will be actively supported.
The FP7 programme’s activities will be based on the long and successful experience of the Marie Curie actions and will cover all stages of a researcher’s professional life, from initial research training to life long learning and career development. While building on the positive experiences of the Marie Curie programme so far, there will be an increased focus on three aspects:
- Better structuring: While existing European post-doctoral fellowships have reached a degree of maturity, there is fragmentation among regional, national and international (non-Community) programmes, which are often limited in their European dimension. European co-funding for these programmes (based on open calls) could bring a better structure;
- Industrial participation: FP7 will introduce a stronger focus on training and career development (especially in the private sector). There will be a stronger emphasis on developing the complementary skills needed to better understand research in enterprises and on an active role for industrial actors, especially SMEs.
- A stronger international dimension: FP7 will reinforce cooperation with researchers from third countries and introduce new dimensions for collaboration with the EU’s neighbouring countries. ‘Scientific diasporas’ of European researchers abroad and foreign researchers in Europe will also be supported.
Marie Curie actions to achieve the aims of the Specific Programme on ‘People’ cover:
- initial training via Marie Curie Networks - aiming to improve career perspectives by strengthening the initial training and career development of researchers at the European level and to overcome fragmentation of researchers' qualifications and prospects.
- Life-long training and career development to support the career development of experienced researchers through individual fellowships awarded directly at Community level and by co-financing of regional, national or international programmes.
- Industry-academia pathways and partnerships – supporting longer term cooperation programmes between academia and industrial entities, in particular SMEs, through staff secondments and workshops for exchanging information and experience.
- The international dimension: FP7 aims to attract research talent from outside Europe, to foster mutually beneficial research collaboration with researchers from outside Europe and to improve the career development of European researchers by supporting international research cooperation. Marie-Curie International Fellowships will support exchanges and work-stays for non-European researchers. The introduction of reintegration grants and the new 'scientific visa' Directive also aim to facilitate these exchanges. Partnerships between European research institutions and their counterparts in countries covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy or who have a Science and Technology Agreement with the EU will also be actively encouraged and supported.
- Specific actions to support the creation of a genuine European labour market for researchers and awards to improve the public awareness of Marie Curie actions.
Further information on existing Marie Curie actions under FP6
For more generic information visit the Marie Curie Actions - Human Resources and Mobility service on Europa.