Funding will be given to a consortium of organisations with (i) experiences in supporting researchers at risk and (ii) knowledge of related European and national R&I funding programmes. “Researchers at risk” refers to researchers who are either at risk in their origin countries (due to discrimination, persecution, suffering and/or violence), or are seeking refuge out of these reasons or have recently found refuge in Europe.
Special attention will be given to assess the effectiveness of existing measures in European and national R&I programmes and to develop recommendations for policy-makers for effective programmes addressing support to researchers at risk to continue their scientific career in Europe, to find employment in line with their expertise and to support their integration in society in Europe.[[“Action Plan on the integration of third country nationals”. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions COM(2016) 377 final, p. 4-5]]
The consortium should also build up cooperation with other related networks. It should also increase visibility of these R&I programmes to potential beneficiaries, especially in the non-academic sector. Therefore, particular focus should also be given to training schemes for researchers at risk, in line with the recommendation set out in the Report of the independent High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU Research & Innovation Programmes[[“LAB – FAB – APP – Investing in the European future we want.” Report of the independent High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU Research & Innovation Programmes, p.13]].
This Coordination and Support Action should enable the enablers by facilitating the establishment of sustainable and long-term support networks in Europe beyond its duration in order to be prepared with contacts, guidance and support structures to assist researchers at risk. This Action will support additional collaboration and peer-learning activities of existing networks and organisations.
The following activities should inter alia be envisaged in order to address these goals:
- Explore available national and European R&I programmes for researchers at risk and produce targeted guidance materials,
- Training and guidance for the application process for the MSCA and other relevant support programmes,
- Support for career development for researchers at risk, in the academic and non-academic sector,
- Awareness-raising about funding and support opportunities among stakeholders in Europe through workshops and training seminars,
- Examine or run test-cases of supporting the integration of researchers at risk in relation to their individual academic backgrounds and their professional careers.
The focus throughout these activities should be on topics specific to MSCA in relation to researchers at risk, in particular scientific excellence, skills and career development, intersectoral mobility, entrepreneurship, equal opportunities and inclusiveness, attractive working conditions, work/life balance, and lead to policy recommendations in this thematic area. It should not duplicate other actions foreseen under Horizon 2020, notably Science4Refugees. Furthermore, the activities should complement actions in Member States and Associated Countries.
In order to ensure maximum inclusiveness, the consortium should gather a group of legal entities from EU Member States and Associated Countries with broad experiences in the field of supporting and integrating researchers at risk in Europe and beyond. Representatives from other entities from EU Member States, Associated Countries or third countries from outside the consortium might however be invited to participate in the CSA's activities (e.g. workshops and conferences) for exchanging best practices.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 1.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. The requested duration of support should not exceed three years from the starting date specified in the grant agreement. Nevertheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts or duration.
- An improved, sustainable and professionalised support network for researchers at risk across Europe, facilitating access to Horizon 2020 calls, creating level playing field for applicants to MSCA and other R&I programmes, and raising the average quality of submitted proposals.
- A more consistent and sustained level of preparedness for supporting researchers at risk in Europe.