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  • In the beginning there was a researcher

    - The forming of the European Research Area should first focus on the persons doing the exploration: the researchers. The main concern of the Brussels’ League of European Research Universities (LERU) is that the European Research Area (ERA) will not become an abstract ‘animal’ caring for nothing but ‘productivity growth’.

    "It is all too easy to talk about theoretical notions of productivity, or innovation, but where do these stem from?", Katrien Meas (chief policy officer of LERU) asks rhetorically. "In the opinion of LERU, there is basic research at the source of all innovation. And basic research requires highly skilled people. So it always boils down to people in the end."

    In their policy paper, LERU expands on this point: "Attracting talented individuals from anywhere in the world to a research career in Europe is the single most crucial factor in developing a globally competitive ERA. The EU should step up its efforts to increase interaction with and attract top talent from established and strong emerging competitors to institutions in Europe at all stages of a research career. Obstacles to researcher mobility need to be addressed."

    Katrien Maes knows already that the European Commission will aim for the introduction of EU-wide open recruitment for universities. "Right now universities are often bound to cumbersome recruitment procedures, or national governments pose restrictions with regard to remuneration of scientists. We want to move toward more openness."