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Marie Curie Fellows vote to take ethical oath

Members of the Marie Curie Fellowship Association voted overwhelmingly In favour of a proposal for the Association to adopt an ethical oath to carry out research which is not to the detriment of humanity, when it convened for a meeting in Brussels recently.

The Marie Curie Fe...
Members of the Marie Curie Fellowship Association voted overwhelmingly In favour of a proposal for the Association to adopt an ethical oath to carry out research which is not to the detriment of humanity, when it convened for a meeting in Brussels recently.

The Marie Curie Fellowship Association is made up of scientists who have benefited from the European Union's Marie Curie Fellowship funds, which are awarded to outstanding young researchers - normally at doctoral or post-doctoral level, to enable them to study in a Member State other than their own. The initiative has evolved from the grants of the Human Capital and Mobility programme, under the Third RTD Framework Programme (FP3), through the Training and Mobility for Researchers (TMR) programme under FP4, when the Commission decided to re-name the scheme after a famous European scientist, Marie Curie. Funds for Marie Curie Fellowships are now coordinated through the horizontal programme on Improving Human Potential within the Fifth RTD Framework Programme.

The Marie Curie Fellowship Association (MCFA) now has over 2000 members and is one of the few large, interdisciplinary groups of young scientists in Europe. At its recent meeting, the organisation, which plays an important role in tackling issues of concern young scientists, addressed the opportunities and challenges facing young scientists in Europe today.

The concept of an ethical oath for scientists, was just one of the many issues raised at the meeting, with the chair of the MCFA, Ms Laure Ledoux, highlighting in particular the lack of permanent academic posts in Europe dampening young researchers' long-term career prospects. Young researchers - especially those from southern Europe - training abroad are also often faced with difficulties of re-entry after post-doctoral or PhD training in another country. The MCFA, she said, is well placed to try to help alleviate such difficulties, as well as raise awareness on issues of concern to all young scientists.

Representatives from the European Science Foundation and the International Council for Science attending the meeting expressed their willingness to work together with the MCFA on such schemes. Dr Enric Banda from the ESF noted in particular that better communications within the extensive network of scientific institutes, foundations and research centres could vastly improve their effectiveness.

A number of participants expressed their concern that post-doctoral and doctoral training is still not adapted well enough to meet the challenges of modern science, where interdisciplinary knowledge is becoming increasingly important.

Speakers from the European Association of Research Managers (EARMA), Unilever and McKinsey also highlighted the possibilities open to scientists moving away from the field of research, and many of the participants agreed that young scientists would benefit from learning how to communicate better with the general public.

To find out more about the Marie Curie Fellowship scheme, now operating under the Fifth framework Programme, please see the following website:

http://cordis.europa.eu/improving/src/hp_mcf.htm

Source: Marie Curie Fellowship Association

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