21.01.2011

Study on Mobility Patterns and Career Paths of EU Researchers

The drivers and obstacles to the mobility of EU researchers have a lot in common with those of artists. Find out the similarities between artists and scientists mobility by reading the MORE study - Mobility and Career Paths of EU Researchers, requested by the European Commission and published by EURAXESS, the researchers in motion website.

Through a series of international surveys, the MORE study (Mobility and Career Paths of EU Researchers) produced a wealth of information on the extent to which researchers in universities, research organisations and industry are internationally mobile, the motivating factors and barriers to mobility, the extent of inter-sectoral mobility, as well as the positive link between student mobility and researcher mobility.

In addition, the survey of EU-US researcher mobility shed light on the drivers of mobility between the EU and US, assessed the attractiveness of the EU research environment vis-à-vis the US, as well as the impact of mobility on a researcher’s career.

Some highlights:

Although the number of researchers in the EU (1.5 million FTE in 2008) has been increasing since 2000 at a faster rate than in the US and Japan, the EU still lags behind in the share of researchers in the total labour force.

On average 56% of EU university-based researchers have conducted research in a foreign country (for a minimum of 3 months) at least once in their researcher career. There is a clear north-south split with Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy featuring among the top-five countries in terms of highly mobile researchers.

80% of these internationally mobile researchers believed that this mobility experience had a positive impact upon their career.

The main motives for researchers to go abroad are training and development goals, personal research agenda and career progression goals. In contrast, non-mobile researchers cite personal and family factors so these can be regarded as a barrier. In terms of future mobility, previously-mobile researchers cite 'finding a suitable position', 'obtaining funding' and 'making childcare arrangements' as the main obstacles.

Read Study on Mobility Patterns and Career Paths of EU Researchers