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Fostering balanced brain circulation – ERA Talents

Cross-sectoral talent circulation and academia-business collaboration for knowledge transfer is requiring systematising and structuring efforts. Through ERA4You, as one of the ERA Policy Actions[[Council recommendation on a Pact for research and innovation in Europe and Council conclusions on future governance of ERA, including ERA Policy Agenda]], the European Commission aims to support and incentivise such transformations, towards a more balanced circulation of talents, both trans-nationally and across sectors. Within this scope, ERA Talents aims to support training and mobility of researchers, innovators, and other research and innovation talents across sectors with a particular focus on widening countries. The grant covers expenses related to the ERA Talents participating organisations and individual talents hosted/seconded (administrative costs, training costs, travel and subsistence costs and salaries for seconded staff, and costs associated with dissemination & communication and transfer of knowledge).

Experimentation. Complementary to ERA Chairs, Excellence Hubs, ERA Fellowships and MSCA Staff Exchanges, the ERA Talents scheme promotes innovative inter-sectoral collaboration in research and innovation through cross-sectoral exchange of staff, with a focus on widening countries. This call particularly encourages experimentation by diverse and heterogeneous consortia in order to develop best practices for intersectoral talent circulation at the benefit of widening countries. Grants awarded under this topic will be invited to collaborate with each other and participate in mutual learning exercises.

Intersectoral mobility. Actions are invited to develop activities in view of realising one or more of the following European Commission’s objectives regarding intersectoral mobility. The European Commission aims at selecting a portfolio of complementary actions where possible.

  • Strengthening academia/non-academia cooperation, and reinforcing innovation ecosystems, focussing on establishment of public-private links, private sector involvement booster, activities for the transfer of researcher know-how to businesses, as well as activities that foster closer involvement of business sector staff in training of academic staff.
  • Improving training and lifelong learning for researchers, innovators, and other research and innovation talents, characterised by opportunities for upskilling and interdisciplinary skill development. In particular, (i) training for specific in-demand skills by industry or other non-academic sectors in specific thematic areas, such as Missions and Partnerships, greening of society, to improve employability and interoperability, and (ii) training to build R&I support capacity (‘other research and innovation talents’), such as knowledge brokers, data stewards, research managers, research infrastructure operators, knowledge and technology transfer officers, etc.
  • Boosting researcher entrepreneurship, focused on development of entrepreneurial skills (e.g. business economics, business creation, knowledge transfer, intellectual property rights and other relevant legal framework) for researchers and commercialisation or other valorisation training and support for researchers, through preparatory activities for entrepreneurship and support for researcher start-up creation.

Participating organisations. ERA Talents actions must involve organisations from the academic and non-academic sectors. The consortium partners contribute directly to the implementation of a joint training and mobility methodology by seconding and/or hosting eligible staff members. The collaborative approach of ERA Talents should exploit complementary competences of the participating organisations and create synergies between them. The participation of Ukrainian researchers in these activities is especially encouraged.

Seconded staff. Support is provided for inter-sectoral mobility of R&I staff leading to knowledge transfer and increased employability between participating organisations. Costs to be claimed by beneficiaries should be mainly linked to seconded personnel in the form of salaries, training, travel, and subsistence packages. The joint training and mobility methodology presented by the applicant consortium should include an approach to identify a diverse audience of research and innovation talents engaging in the action, outlined in the application. The ERA talent should have a secondment term within one (or more) of the participating organisations. Supported staff members must be actively engaged in or linked to R&I activities or R&I support activities for at least 6 months (full-time equivalent) at the sending institution before the first period of secondment.

Proposers are requested to provide an estimate of the number of ‘ERA talents’ the action is going to provide with a mobility opportunity. Secondments are open to researchers, innovators, and other research and innovation talents – such as administrative, managerial and technical staff supporting R&I activities in their organisations – from any career stage, excluding though doctoral candidates (PhD students). For innovators and other R&I talents, emphasis needs to be put on staff at an early career stage. The consortium needs to demonstrate clear benefit of the proposed secondment methodology for widening countries, including the perspective to allocate at least 70% of the budget for secondments for the benefit of widening countries.

Return and reintegration. A mandatory return phase for every cross-border secondment from a widening country has to be included in the secondment methodology, equal to the duration of the secondment, but not more than 12 months. Support, excluding salaries, for such return phase on the grant is allowed for up to 12 months after the first secondment, within the duration of the grant. A return phase is not mandatory for mobility within the same country or secondment from a non-widening to a widening country.

Strengthening careers and collaboration. For participating staff members, the project should offer new skills acquisition and career development perspectives. Participating organisations must ensure that the seconded staff (ERA talents) are adequately mentored. Preference will be given to actions that propose secondment mechanisms offering improved and more sustainable career prospects to the ERA talents (e.g. with follow-up position at the sending organisation after the secondment duration), thus maximising the impact of the action for knowledge sharing and long-term collaboration. Specific attention should be paid to gender equality objectives, in line with the organisations’ commitments through their adopted gender equality plans, and in line with ERA objectives, as far as appropriate.

Exchanges should mainly occur between academic and non-academic sector entities (or vice-versa) from different EU Member States and Horizon Europe Associated Countries. Same-country exchanges are also possible under the condition that they serve the specific purpose of maintaining or reinforcing regional innovation ecosystems.

Grants have an expected duration of up to 4 years.