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Improving researchers’ integration in a new professional environment

The IMPACTE project focusses on the successful professional and social integration of researchers into a new environment. Building on EURAXESS, the initiative offered researcher-training in six key areas, while also fostering improved services from the Euraxess staff through better understanding of cultural differences.

Climate Change and Environment

Europe has determined that people are central to innovation, and that mobility is one of the key mechanisms for fostering human resources. The "EURAXESS – Researchers in Motion” is a unique initiative that was launched by the EU to promote research careers and facilitate the mobility of researchers across Europe. EURAXESS is a one-stop-shop for the development of researchers’ careers in Europe with the support of a network of HE (high education) staff to assist them. The EU-funded IMPACTE (Integrate mobile people through innovative actions in the EURAXESS service centres) project aimed to lessen obstacles to researchers’ mobility, with a focus on cultural differences. The proposal involved enhancing EURAXESS performance, and involved six EURAXESS service centres. Goal was to facilitate the integration of mobile researchers into new environments through training sessions combining professional and social aspects (development of ‘soft-skills’ for career development, networking and improving their effectiveness and ability to integrate into their new research setting when studying or working away from their country of origin). Mechanisms included: training programmes for researchers, improving the quality of EURAXESS services, and establishing a network of EURAXESS alumni. The six-member project ran for two years to late 2014. Through a survey directed to visiting researchers in the six partner institutions, IMPACTE identified six innovative actions supporting its aims: research integrity, intellectual property rights, academic networking, intercultural dialogue, communicating to international audiences, and leading international teams. The set was tested during 37 training sessions involving a total of 450 participants. Following success of the first round, the training programme was significantly expanded. Researchers and EURAXESS staff provided feedback on the sessions, yielding a global evaluation. The team organised three workshops on intercultural dialogue, for a total of 155 EURAXESS staff. The network also established a database to register all IMPACT alumni. The project set up LinkedIn and Facebook groups to manage communications within the community. During the second year, work yielded several tools. One was a researcher mobility lens, illustrating behavioural traits of effective mobile researchers. The team provided a description of career pathway options in seven EU countries, a booklet of eight case studies regarding cultural integration. Lastly, the group produced a training guide for EURAXESS staff. Other outcomes included several reports for the EC. The high number of researchers and Euraxess staff taking part to these training activities shows that the IMPACTE project has successfully helped to overcome obstacles to European researcher mobility. Such achievements promise to ultimately improve EU research innovation.

Keywords

Researcher mobility, EURAXESS, career development, multicultural issues, training, services

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