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Conference on the Careers and Mobility of Researchers

Final Report Summary - CAMORE (Conference on the careers and mobility of researchers)

Executive summary:

Under the auspices of the Belgian Presidency of the European Union (EU), the 'Conference on mobility and careers of the researchers' took place in Brussels on 9-10 November. The venue was the Square-Brussels meeting centre. An evening dinner at the Magritte Museum was foreseen at the end of the first day.

The Belgian federal Science Policy (Belspo) was responsible for the organisation of the conference. And the regional administrations in charge of Research and development (R&D), science and innovation, joined Belspo on the project. Namely, these regional administrations were the EWI for the Flemish Community, the DGENORS for the French-speaking Community and the IRSIB (now known as Innoviris) for the Region of Brussels-Capital.

Over 1 and a half day, more than 350 participants took part in the discussions. Between 40 and 50 speakers presented their case studies, talked of their experience in the field, of best practice they know. The importance of interconnections between sectors is reflected in the program with many speakers coming from the business sphere. Moreover, a good balance between speakers from the public and the private sector inside each plenary or parallel session has been observed. The same caution was taken for the gender balance in the speakers.

The idea was to explore the issues of mobility and career of the researchers, in all their dimensions. The momentum was right for some concrete steps improving the mobility and careers of researchers, as the idea was to get practical. The conference has seen alternate sessions, either parallel or plenary. The four parallel sessions concerned: indicators, working conditions, recruitment and mobility, and skills and industry. For the debriefing of the last day, a presentation of the main conclusions of the international workshop held on 8 November, 2010 on the scientific visa package was made.

Morning parallel sessions have looked at the past, namely summing up some good practices, challenges to be overcome and ways to monitor progress. And the afternoon session of the first day have taken some time to look ahead into the future. The conference was based on knowledge sharing as a way of ensuring an effective dissemination of the information on these issues, particularly taking into account the European added value in terms of their structuring effect on the European Research Area (ERA). The debates should address researchers at all stages of their careers, in the public and private sectors, as well as knowledge transfer between sectors, and with the rest of the world. Some specific questions such as the participation of women researchers, place of Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)s, mobility into and out of the business sectors... are to be considered carefully.

A very interesting moment of the conference was the talk show, feared by the moderator and by the persons taking part to it, as the preparation was difficult and the questions so numerous.

The dialogue between stakeholders during the Conference has implied a strong participation of the business sphere (including SMEs, large multinationals or spin-offs). The enhancement of industry-academia cooperation in terms of research training, career development and knowledge sharing, taking into account the protection of intellectual property rights, was at the centre of the discussions and these have proven fruitful.

Project context and objectives:


To support the further development and consolidation of the ERA, the overall strategic objective is to make Europe more attractive for researchers. One of the main challenges in science and technology deals both with the quantity and the quality of its human resources.

Attracting sufficient numbers of high-quality researchers is a worldwide challenge: with globalisation the law of supply and demand prevails on an international scale. Within this international labour market for researchers, Europe has to play a prominent role, as an area where excellent, dynamic, flexible and mobile scientific workers are encouraged. Therefore, Europe must offer adequate training and mobility opportunities, foster the transparency of recruitment, ensure the widest publicity to job offers throughout the research community in Europe and in the rest of the world or make the researchers' career more attractive.

Researchers need to be appreciated and supported in their professional career and to be valued for their efforts. The European charter for researchers and the code of conduct for the recruitment is an important step in the right direction. We can also cite the Gago-Biltgen Report, the rebranding of Euraxess (services and jobs), the implementation of the HR strategy, the multiple initiatives of the Member States, the Spanish Council Conclusions, the delegation from the Competitiveness council to the EPSCO council. Progress has been made. Furthermore, there is a clear political goodwill in the European Commission (EC) and Member States. Moreover, the link between industry and academia is increasingly at the forefront in policy making. The recently developed European Institute for Technology, for example with its knowledge and innovation communities, drives innovation forward, by developing links between actors from higher education, research, business and entrepreneurship. Also the University-Business Forum has, since a few years, made progress in bringing academia and business together. This tendency adds an extra dimension to career development and mobility of researchers. Cross-fertilisation between sectors is of great importance, young researchers should be prepared and supported to work in the business sector, and intersectoral mobility is added to international mobility as important policy goals. The importance of interconnected and intertwined sectors is widely recognised. Raising awareness, stimulating the debate, gathering stakeholders and policy-makers (whether public, academic or from the business sphere) is essential to a better understanding of the situation. This is crucial when considering the 'EU 2020' strategy and the commitments involved with it.


The Belgian presidency wants to build on the momentum; believing that the time is right to take further steps in improving the mobility and careers of researchers. Building the ERA is one of the priorities set by the Belgian presidency. Within this priority line, the Researchers conference, with objectives of stocktaking and of delineating future pathways towards better careers for researchers, will be one of the flagships of the Belgian presidency. The purpose of this conference on researchers is manifold.

1. Its first intent is to take stock of the progress made on EPR implementation, highlight best practices and identify common approaches. More specifically, the four dimensions of the Steering group for human resources and mobility will be discussed in detail, along with some others, e.g. flexicurity, working conditions, transparency of recruitment, publication and diffusion of job offers on a wide scale, gender issues, specificities of the research careers (like the European research career framework), pensions, (international and intersectoral) mobility.
2. The conference wishes to highlight gaps and challenges in EPR implementation.
3. It intends to take stock of the implementation of the 'scientific visa' directive and promote it with the relevant stakeholders. The visa package can be seen as one of the cornerstones of the mobility of the researchers.
4. Last, but certainly not least, focus areas for the near future following the conference will be identified and recommendations will be made on where we can go from here, and what steps can be taken.


The conference will contain contributions, either in parallel sessions or in plenary talks. These will focus on key dimensions of the career and mobility of researchers. As the aim is to strengthen, quantitatively and qualitatively, the human potential in research and technology in Europe, and therefore innovation, the conference will reflect upon best practices and the most successful experiences to stimulate people to take up the profession of a researcher, encourage European researchers to stay in Europe, or attract to Europe the best researchers from the entire world. Attention will also be paid to how to monitor the progress in these areas.

After looking at the past (namely summing up some good practices, challenges to be overcome and ways to monitor progress), time will be taken to look ahead into the future. Sharing knowledge during the conference (as well as before it and afterwards) is a way of ensuring an effective dissemination of the information on these issues, particularly taking into account the European added value in terms of their structuring effect on the ERA. The debates should address researchers at all stages of their careers, in the public and private sectors, as well as knowledge transfer between sectors, and with the rest of the world. Some specific questions such as the participation of women researchers, place of SMEs, mobility into and out of the business sectors are to be considered carefully. The dialogue between stakeholders during the Conference will imply a strong participation of the business sphere (including SMEs). Mutual needs should be heard and taken into account. Indeed, the Public-Private Partnership is a must-be nowadays. The enhancement of industry-academia cooperation in terms of research training, career development and knowledge sharing, taking into account the protection of intellectual property rights, is of crucial interest and will be discussed.

Project results:

Conference on mobility and careers of the researchers
Findings, recommendations and conclusions

Opening speeches - challenges

The opening speeches have taken three diferent approaches to address the question of mobility and its relevance. Namely, the EPR, the point of view of academia and the private sector vision were presented.

The issue of challenges and steps to take, of best practice and what can be made of was central to the three speeches. Among the most important challenges, it was considered that knowledge transfer was a key element. For the universities, it was also said that the integration of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) holders on the labour market was worrysome too.

The idea is that researchers must be attractive for employers, and particularly to business companies. But this must be done on the basis of more than their technical/scientific competences. The researcher must convince the employer of his / her added value. This leads us to the soft skills (horizontal competences) discussed during a parallel session. These skills offer a great opportunity for the researchers.

The soft skills have also been discussed by the SGHRM and appear in the European partnership for researchers.

A presentation of the EPR is made by the president of the SGHRM, prof. Fulvio Esposito. The EPR represents an impressive achievement, but carries its lot of challenges too.

Eight countries have elaborated national action plans to implement the EPR. A set of indicators has been developed to follow and assess this implementation. And twenty-two research institutions in 11 countries have obtained the HR excellence in research logo.

The SGHRM has also produced an European framework for the career of the researchers, and a study on a pan-European pension scheme for mobile researchers (both will be discussed in the parallel sessions). In addition to this, Euraxess Jobs as a tool for mobility and open recruitment is showing a growing number of Curriculum vitae (CV)s and of vacancies of jobs published.

These tools and initiatives have brought much attention on the importance of the researchers in the economic development. Furthermore, best practice has been registered and common difficulties have been highlighted.

Finally, the challenges/priorities encompass the doctoral schools / programmes and the issue of gender balance in research. Both issues will be discussed in the parallel sessions.

For business companies a key challenge is the public-private partnership. In that sense, companies welcome on the one hand measures that lower the cost of HR and of research (like tax credits, as it is the case in Belgium). Such measures diminish the cost of research projects, and therefore allow the companies to undertake them. On the other hand, the companies have a great interest in fellowships and grants, like the Marie Curie actions (particularly the IAPP). Finally, the social security system, the health care scheme is an element that plays a attracting role.

Furthermore, many companies have their own receipt and their own (best) practice, including culture, housing, schooling, language courses.

The main challenge for companies is the reinforcement of policies that support (financially most of the time) the public-private collaborations at the national level. Unfortunately, it has to be recognised that despite the willingness of the EC to simplify procedures, at the European level, such policies are too heavy and cumbersome.

Session 1: How to measure progress - proposed future indicator initiatives

It is considered that bibliometric indicators may capture international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral (academia - industry) research collaboration. There is a stronger need for more information, and more accurate information. This is a matter of governance, for funding bodies. Therefore, research institutions and universities are increasingly registering detailed information on scientific publications including co-authors and their affiliations as part of their annual reporting routines, and because funding is increasingly connected to publication activity, which seems to be a good and accepted situation.

Bibliometric indicators will be even more important as instruments to monitor research collaboration when EU Joint Programming Initiatives and multinational research coordination outside the Framework Programme (FP) will increase as a consequence of EUROHORCs and ESF joining forces to strengthen their influence on European research and -policy. So things are not supposed to slow down on that level.

Furthermore, some countries have developed a methodology that should/could be implemented as a standard. This should be spread around with more publicity, so that a consensus could emerge, with a harmonisation of the national methodologies. With that respect, universities (e.g. EUA) should start a process to agree on which data they prefer for benchmarking and rankings and on which data they are able to deliver now or in forthcoming months / years. And they should propose a detailed, harmonised set of preferred indicators for the EC. This process could optimally be monitored by the EC.

Last but not least, the 'Europe 2020 flagship' initiative - Innovation Union (2010) includes bibliometric indicators on (even public-private) co-publication and patents, which might be adjusted and developed accordingly. One needs to be inventive and creative with respect to indicators. Simple indicators remain the best solution, for their interpretation and computation, but we need to capture the true meaning of international mobility and partnership.

Session 2: Workshop on working conditions

Though it might seem peculiar to review those two issues in the same session, the debates highlight a great degree of similarity between social security and gender issues. This is especially true for elements like transparency, openness, publicity, proactive monitoring, information sharing, permanent attention to the situation. For both issues, a political will has to be there to struggle effectively for a better environment.

It is recognised that social protection is a necessary precondition to mobility and research activity, in order e.g. to avoid 'grey zones' in terms of social coverage. The same is true for good working conditions and taking into account the gender dimension in policies.

Existing framework for the coordination of social security contribution schemes are difficult to apply because of the variety of employment statuses (employee / self-employed / civil servant / student), the length and frequency of the mobility (a key issue), the complex framework of the EU coordination regulation.

Nevertheless, the choice of status is a competence of Member States and leads to consequences in the social sphere (insured, partially insured, not insured) that can have serious and long-term consequences (e.g. loss in pension). Some kind of harmonisation is welcome.

Possible solutions inside current framework encompass an enhanced cooperation between Member States, special exemption clauses for researchers, and a specific selection of law clauses for researchers.

Two examples / case studies merit more focus as they generated considerable debates and attention from the participants to the Workshop.

Pan-European pension arrangements

According to a study carried out on behalf of the EC by AONHewitt, pan-European pension arrangements would be a feasible option. One prerequisite is local compliance with labour and social law:

- no obstacles in 10 Member States;
- in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden significant issues;
- occupational pension benefits more important in future;
- 42 % of public sector institutions provide occupational pension benefits already (55 % in companies);
- main drivers for pension arrangements: market practice, attract and retain talent.

The conditions for implementation are:

- stakeholders willingness and support;
- one or more groups of potential sponsors lead implementation;
- lead sponsors define terms and conditions;
- EC supports start-up phase / information and communication campaign.

Private pan-European pension plans:

- due to differences in national legislations it is not possible to introduce truly pan-European products based on one set of rules today;
- suggestion of European framework operating alongside the legal regimes of the individual member states, if no harmonisation can be reached;
- pan-European voluntary pension savings would be i.a. portable.

For what concerns the gender issue, according to the Innovation Union initiative, the Member States 'should promote attractive employment conditions in public research institutions. Gender and dual career considerations should be fully taken into account'.

The problem is complicated by a severe lack of scientific knowledge, statistics, and monitoring of the situation in some countries, a lack of female 'role models' and a lack of female participation in setting up of scientific agenda, the work/family balance, among the most important factors.

This is even made more problematic as: the career conception is still based on traditional family model; the research career requires a long training, a high degree of professional uncertainty, and international mobility; there is still a weak integration of family responsibilities in academic environment in many countries (maternity and parental leaves, childcare, elder care).

Several possible solutions can be envisaged. We can go from a harmonisation of provisions for maternity / parental leave and benefits across different types of funding to the development of programmes for dual career couples, or to the development of childcare facilities and financial support for the service. Among other possible elements of policy making, we have also the recognition of the potential growing need for elder care provision by adult researchers, the fostering of possibilities for family take-along and gender-focused programmes.

Most of these ideas are very practical recommendations that need only a few adaptations to national Law to be developed.

Therefore, the session has concluded that through the point of view of social security and gender issue, it is acknowledged that the situation of researchers is often clearly different from that of other mobile workers. Namely, they are highly mobile workers, combining a significant number of spells of self-employment and employment in different Member States.

The problems, obstacles, and solutions to alleviate the hindrances are specific to this category of workers.

To keep and gain researchers in / for Europe, this specific nature of the researchers with respect to their mobility should be recognised on political and institutional level and efforts to be put into creating an adequate framework of social security rules and of work / life balance for female as well as for male researchers. Specific policies could be created for gender issues related to mobility / working conditions, but carefully and with an adequate assessment.

There is nevertheless a strong need for transparency. We should be able to provide easily accessible and comprehensive information on pension rights in security systems, as well as on working conditions (and related issues that can be of interest to researchers, like leisure, culture, housing, schooling, language courses for the researchers or their families).

Session 3: Recruiting and mobility

The main finding of the session is that researchers want a research job, where companies and universities want a researcher. The mismatch is acknowledged in the debates, though initiatives and efforts made to alleviate the gap between the cursus / training of the researchers and the expectations of the employers still exists.

It is recalled that recruiting and mobility must take into account a geographical and dynamic dimension, namely with inward and outward moves, as well as an intersectoral dimension, in both directions. Nevertheless most examples show public-private mobility. And few best practices show convincing initiatives of private-public mobility.

Rather, the session has highlighted the main (and numerous) obstacles to recruitment and mobility. The visa package still poses some problems as it is not transposed and applied equally in the EU. Second, it should be noticed that there is some kind of competition, with the existence of an intra-European brain drain. Third, the European funding schemes are largely non-compatible. A high degree of harmonisation is welcome. Fourth, national rigidities and constraints still play a huge role, like local / national language requirements, social security. Fifth, familial and personal reasons can also explain why mobility is not the first-best solution, like obstacles to partner / kids mobility, not willing to be mobile (not seeing the added value of mobility in a CV, or knowing that this mobility is not rewarded by the employer).

The European partnership (2005) and the Marie Curie Actions (1996) are reviewed in their historical dimension and new developments. Namely, charter and code, European partnership for researchers, Euraxess, and HR excellence in research for the first initiative. And 75 000 MC fellows at the end of FP7, an extension to co-funding for early stage researchers, an EU business doctoral scheme, the graduate schools and the development of streamlining and simplification of the procedures.

Several good practices are outlined, like transparent recruiting procedure in Norway, some support initiatives (dual career centre in Graz, an international mobility team for Bekaert), the Euraxess jobs site.

They were helpful for the audience in developing specific recommendations. It was decided that international doctoral programmes should be put afoot. More industry-academia collaboration is needed, with joint doctoral programmes and bidirectional intersectoral mobility. Of course, we need to get rid of this intra-European brain drain.

Globally, we need more scientists, and we need them (more) mobile. The whole process should begin early, first by putting children in contact with science, and second by considering that mobile students make mobile researchers. Therefore, the students' mobility is an issue.

Session 4: Career development, skills and industry

The first preoccupation was to try to foster collaboration between labs and departments, between public and private institutions, between researchers throughout the world.

Two examples were given in the morning to present the possibilities for the policy maker. One is bottom up, the polymer competence centre. And one is top down, at the CIFRE, and related to identifying skills needs (for both parts: researchers as well as institutions).

Second comes the question of the training and of the continuous professional development. During the debates it was considered and concluded that there were no conflict between those two dimensions. And that the «non-conflict zone» was very large, as industry and academia had a common vision on this need.

Nevertheless some distinction must be made between skills. We are now used to have on the one hand hard skills (scientific / technical knowledge across disciplines, project management, time management, and budgeting). And on the other hand we find soft skills, less quantifiable, not so easy to present in a CV and less material, which are difficult to assess and for which it is complex to organise some university courses (networking, teamwork, presentation skills, team/ people management and empathy, negotiation skills, and entrepreneurship). The last point can lead to objective and concrete training. But it is also a «learning by doing» thing.

Next, a key issue is to reach out to employers for the researchers. This is all about having communicating skills or not. And also about speaking the same language. Researchers and employers belong to two different worlds at first. And they must understand each other first.

This seems to be a purely individual and personal issue, but policy-making can help and some initiatives can be seen that settle a bridge between actors. See e.g. the PhD graduate skills in Ireland.

Therefore we need to be more proactive. To get further, and apply the concept of 'Empowering the Researcher». He must be at the centre of his decisions'. He must be responsible, take more control (see the UK Concordat and RDF), and make informed career choice (see the work of RCF, LERU and ESF).

How can we influence the future? Through a research career framework, which could be designed and assessed via an Open consultation. And through a doctoral mapping study, which is underway. The conclusions of those two initiatives should be integrated in tools and platforms, so that they would be spread and known. This dimension of responsibility could also be integrated in future EC funding mechanisms.

Workshop on the visa package

On the day before the conference on mobility and careers of the researchers, a workshop on the visa package took place in Brussels too.

Though this event was stricto sensu disconnected from the Conference, everybody welcomed the idea to have the conclusions and recommendations of the workshop presented and debated during the last half day of the conference. This was done by Prof. Philippe Debruycker, ULB and Solvay Business School.

The global outcome is the following:

- Scientific permit (directive 2005/71) helps generally third-country researchers to be admitted in the EU (satisfaction in general despite few information / statistics on visas researchers);
- Two issues are discussed at length:
i. Difference between researchers and PhD students excluded from directive 2005/71: so what?
ii. Level of financial resources for third country researchers.

- Parallel ways do still exist at national level: they remain useful and sometimes more used than scientific permit (Germany, Belgium).
- There are also other ways at EU level too (Blue Card directive 2009/50 for highly skilled workers) offering different advantages (easier family reunification).
- Not necessarily a problem but need for transparency (comparisons needed to help the researchers make his choice).

We can summarise our proposal for a strategy for the future. Let us not envisage to amend the directive (too easy, too heavy) for long term permits.

As much as there is a need for new legislation (in particular regarding family reunification), let's use other occasions to change restrictive immigration policies that are problematic for researchers. A possible path could be a Green Paper on family reunification in 2011 or 2012, or the writing of a future immigration code at the level of the EU.

During the debates (and during the presentation of the conclusion at the Conference), participants clearly showed a preference for improving the implementation of existing instruments. We should not be over optimistic. We have several elements that can be used:

- exchange of best practices and training;
- European practical guide on interpretation and implementation of directive 2005/71;
- European models of hosting convention;
- European FAQ on Commission website;
- better communication between but inside MS.

Small adaptations to the way the Directive is implemented can also lead to huge improvements for the researchers and their family:

- allow application of researchers on territory;
- ensure fast-track procedures (deadline for short term -15 days- used for economic immigration but not intended for long term visas in Belgium despite the fact that this is a best practice);
- advise researchers to ask criminal record in advance;
- apply proportionality to prices for permits;
- adapt length of permits to host convention;
- clarify extension of host conventions.

So, clearly, by sharing the information, by communicating more and more efficiently, and by considering transparency and simplicity of initiatives as a cornerstone of all policies, we already have a few measures that are not so complex to put in place and can help a lot. Statistics on visas are most welcome too.

For the visas, the momentum was right in November 2010, and things have moved in the first half of 2011 with several questionnaires issued by the EC and several assessment procedures. Indeed, a report is to be done on the transposition of Directive 2005/71 by the EC in 2011 on the basis of a comparative study. And this can be a very good occasion to improve (and foster) the admission of third country researchers in the EU. The '2020 strategy' has clearly shown that the need for researchers in Europe was going to represent an enormous challenge.

Conclusions: from the partnership to the INNOVATION UNION

Researchers should help Europe to overcome the economic and financial crisis that is now spreading over Europe. Europe must attract and retain researchers from all over the world, while avoiding the intra-European competition. Nevertheless, actually, there is a clear problem of demand/supply, combined with a recognised mismatch.

One of the main conclusion is the large consensus in Europe on the partnership for researchers, even in the countries that have not implemented the EPR via a national action plan. Career and mobility of the researcher are high on the European agenda as well as on national agenda. We know that Euraxess is the most visible and operational part of this strategy (at the European level and à the level of Member States, via the national portals).

Though we can admit that much has already been done, we must recognise that a lot of work still remains. For this, Flagships innovation 2020 constitutes the key policy document for the coming years. Researchers and their working conditions are priorities in this document. The European challenges have been largely discussed, among those we find: visa, gender, training, acquisition of soft skills, geographical and intersectoral mobility, open recruitment, social security (and health care), youth and science, and career framework. A report on the state of the art in HR in Member States and a reinforced monitoring is most than welcome for Hungary (next country to take the presidency of the European Union). The monitoring would be aimed at assessing if, and what, objectives have been met, and how.

The universities have a key role to play in the national action plans for researchers. This is particularly true in Belgium where they have a large autonomy of decision, but not only. Many universities have now realised (or are about to realise) an internal gap analysis, to produce some Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) report. At a more global level, the result of the gap analyses should be somehow available to a large (interested) audience. It is clear that many universities will display close SWOT results and therefore could benefit from the experience of those universities that entered the process of the HR Excellence strategy earlier. The conference has largely discussed the crucial importance of information sharing.

Policies can come at different decision levels, especially in Belgium but in many other countries too. At the level of the Community, or Region, we can monitor quite efficiently the mobility mechanisms, or any support action relative to the submission of a European research project. More globally, this level is particularly fit for discussions about research and/or the modification of the legislative dispositions. The internal gap analysis of the universities should highlight the themes for which a change of the legislative framework is necessary.

The federal level is more efficient, and competent, for questions of social security and access to national soil. Contacts with local administrations or Embassies to provide information on procedures, law would be taken by the federal administration.

The European level could build on Euraxess and reflect more deeply on a pan-European pension scheme. The EC would develop and ensure more coordination, and more syynergies, between the various European initiatives and also between all the actors concerned by mobility issues at the European/international level.

For what concerns the future of the EPR and the national action plans, in order to ensure that we can effectively benefit from each other, a few rules should be followed:

- Put a follow-up of those national action plans in place and:
i. communicate the results of this follow-up;
ii. assess the impact of the plans.

- Realise a European action plan with:
i. a list of best practices;
ii. recommendations based on the best practices with relevant incentives;
iii. some measures (in the competences of the EU).

- Think of EPR 2.0 integrating as essential elements:
i. the gender equality issue;
ii. interesting youth to scientific careers and more largely improving the teaching of sciences;
iii. mechanisms to ensure that researches inside business companies can easily benefit from university trainings (knowledge transfer);
iv. mechanisms to reinforce the collaborations between SMEs, public authorities and universities (valorisation of research).

This idea of EPR 2.0 is largely welcomed by the representative of the French-speaking Community of Belgium.

Despite all the positive discussions during this conference, all the new ideas and the renewed energy to help alleviating the obstacles to mobility, one thing has to be recalled, as the final word. The policies must be taken recognising the fact that the European R&D budget is scarce and limited, especially when compared to what the companies can afford. An efficient and rational use of the funds is more than ever needed. This is a question of priority to determine and follow.

Potential impact:

The Flemish Community took an active part in the conference. Many representatives were present as speakers/moderators. The VLIR, the EWI and the IWT have integrated many of the recommendations in their plans. For example, the HR Strategy has received a large attention in Flanders, and universities are urged to participate each time a new cohort is organised. Same holds for the COFUND and MC initiatives.

The conference has lead the French-Speaking Community (known now as the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles) to go further with their action plan. It was finalised in the first months of 2011. The Cabinet of Minister Nollet, responsible for R&D and non-mandatory schooling, was well represented in the Conference and the debates have received a wide and precise attention. There is a strong willingness to participate to mobility mechanisms put in place by the EC, like COFUND, HRS4R. It has to be noted that the Belgian expert in the SGHRM is a representative from the French-speaking Community.

The Region of Brussels-Capital has largely exploited the recommendations and discussions in the context of the universities located on its soil. The presence of a regional actor among actors coming from the Communities (which is more normal, if we consider the way Belgium is divided / structured) was a bit peculiar. This must be seen on the one hand as a sequel of the Euraxess agreement at that time, as the Region of Brussels-Capital was considered as something close as a BHO (and that is no longer the case). And on the other hand, the Region of Brussels-Capital was in charge of the R&D and innovation issues during the Belgian Presidency of the EU. The mobility of the researcher was not a priority for the Region of Brussels-Capital, but many speakers from the business sector came from Brussels and took an active part in the debates.

The federal level was less concerned by the societal implications of the conference, as the mobility issues are largely regionalised. Some competences are still federal, like pensions, but another conference took place on the issue of pensions during the Belgian Presidency, so the event was not so crucial. It has to be recalled that the federal government was (and still is) only concerned with 'running affairs' in 2010. So all the conclusions, and recommendations on elements that belong to the competences of the federal government are still waiting a full-exercise government to be presented. This should be on the table of the next government. It has to be recognised that the main interest (considering the distribution of competences in Belgium) of the federal government and of Belspo was the scientific visa package, for which a workshop took place just before the conference. The conclusions and recommendations of the workshop have been heard in Belgium and at the level of the EC, with the assessment that took place in the first half of 2011. Furthermore, at the federal level, Belspo has been very active on Euraxess and on the charter and the code (finally signed by Belspo). This was a sequel of the dynamics that started with the conference.

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