Documents from the European Commission and the European Research Area (ERA) on Academic Career Paths.

1. Deepening the European Research Area: Providing researchers with attractive and sustainable careers and working conditions and making brain circulation a reality

Vertiefung des Europäischen Forschungsraums: Schaffung attraktiver und nachhaltiger Laufbahnen und Arbeitsbedingungen für Forschende und Verwirklichung der Mobilität Hochqualifizierter“

2021 On 28 May, the European Council adopted conclusions on "Deepening the European Research Area: Providing researchers with attractive and sustainable careers and working conditions and making brain circulation a reality". They underline the need to enhance the attractiveness of research careers within the European Research Area (ERA) and call for the development of an internal market for research that offers better framework conditions for research careers in academia and beyond. Importantly, the Council conclusions also propose reinforcing synergies with the European Higher Education Area. 

  • Attraktivität wissenschaftlicher Laufbahnen
    • faire Einstellungsverfahren
    • Gleichgewicht zwischen insititutioneller und projektbasierter Finanzierung, langfristige Perspektive
    • Vereinbarkeit von Arbeits- und Privatleben, Laufbahnunterbrechungen, Elternzeit
    • Gleichstellung der Geschlechter
    • Transferierbarkeit von Sozialschutzansprüchen, europaweites System der Altersversorgung (Resaver)
  • Laufbahnbewertungssysteme, Belohnungsmechanismen
    • qualitative Bewertung statt bibliometrischer Verfahren (Exzellenz, Lehre und Kompetenzen, Auswirkungen, Dienst an der Gesellschaft, Praktiken der offenen Wissenschaft, Teamwissenschaft, Mobiltät, Management- und Führungskompetenzen, Unternehmertum, Zusammenarbeit mit der Industrie)
  • Kompetenzrahmen
    • Querschnittskompetenzen für den Wechsel in andere Branchen
    • Anpassung der Kompetenzen am den Bedarf außerhalb des akademischen Bereichs
    • Beratung zu Berufsentscheidungen in allen Laufbahnphasen
  • Mobilität (sektorübergereifend, interdisziplinär, virtuell, international)
    • in die Industrie, gewerbliche Tätigkeit, üffentliche Einrichtungen, NGOs, Kultursektor, Unternehmungsgründungen

2. European Strategy for Universities

Commission Communication on a European strategy for universities | European Education Area (

Veröffentlicht am 18. Jänner 2022

"There is a need to tackle in a systemic and comprehensive way academic careers, responding to the call of the Council to promote flexible and attractive career structures and improve working conditions. Career assessment should take into account the variety of activities of academics such as teaching, research, entrepreneurship, management or leadership. A Council Recommendation on a Pact for Research and Innovation in Europe aims to improve the attractiveness of research careers and ensure better access to excellent science."

- Propose by 2023 a European framework for attractive and sustainable careers in higher education, in synergy with the research career framework developed under the ERA

EC BACKGROUND NOTE Higher Education Transformation (3).pdf

Innovative higher education and transferring knowledge and talents to society:

  • Incentivise researchers to pursue a career outside academia through enhanced inter-sectoral circulation schemes involving industry can help improve researchers’ employability and boost the permeability of talents across Europe’s economy and society.
  • An enhanced European competence framework for research careers to support comparable and interoperable research careers facilitating cross sectoral transfer of talents, and ensure parity of esteem between teaching and research activities

Accelerating higher education institutions’ international competitiveness:

  • Attractive career development conditions to attract and retain the best academics and researchers in Europe
  • Pursue synergies between mobility and career development initiatives of the European Education Area, the European Research Area, and the European Pillar of Social Right

3. ERA Policy Agenda (2022 - 2024)

Council Conclusions on the Future of the European Research Area (ERA):

ERA Action Nr. 4: Promote attractive and sustainable research careers, balanced talent circulation and international, transdisciplinary and inter sectoral mobility across the ERA
  • Development of a European Framework for research careers and toolbox of support measures to improve attractiveness of research careers in academia and beyond
  • Launch an observatory on research careers
  • Revise Charter and Code for researchersSet up the ERA Talent Platform as the one stop shop online gateway to EURAXESS services, network and portals including HRS4R, and RESAVER
  • Launch the ERA4You initiative to promote talent circulation between sectors and across the EU
  • Exchange of good practices with regard to R&I systems to support balanced brain circulation
  • Pilot with European Universities alliances the European Framework for Research Careers
ERA Action Nr. 5: Promote gender equality and foster inclusiveness, taking note of the Ljubljana Declaration

4. EK: Knowledge ecosystems in the new ERA: Talent circulation and intersectoral mobility: Analytical report with a mapping of talent mobility and causes of brain drain

European Commission - Directorate-General for Research and Innovation

Manuscript completed in May 2022.

Using a competence-based approach for career development in academia and beyond

This policy brief, as part of the wider study “Knowledge ecosystems in the new ERA”, presents the European Competence Framework for Researchers ‘ResearchComp’, developed in line with the new ERA communication and the Skills Agenda, and based on the new taxonomy of researchers’ skills that the Commission formulated with stakeholders to update the European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO) classification. ResearchComp is the first European competence framework that is directly linked to ESCO. Together with the new ESCO update, it will foster the recognition of the researcher profession, and support targeted training and inter-sectoral mobility.

5. Towards a European Framework for Research Careers

European Commission: Directorate General for Research & Innovation

21. 07. 2011

The ERA Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility has asked its Working Group on Skills to explore this possibility and consult with stakeholders. The European Framework for Research Careers is adopted by the Steering Group in May 2011. It is a voluntary transparency instrument intended to make research career structures generally comparable across employment sectors and countries. The Framework will be revisited, its impact monitored and accordingly re-adapted, by the appropriate committee, at least every 2nd year.

The Framework describes four broad profiles, with the following working titles:

R1 First Stage Researcher (up to the point of PhD)
R2 Recognised Researcher (PhD holders or equivalent who are not yet fully independent)
R3 Established Researcher (researchers who have developed a level of independence.)
R4 Leading Researcher ( researchers leading their research area or field)

The Framework is "sector-neutral". The descriptors apply to all researchers, independent of where they work in the private or public sector: in companies, NGOs, research institutes, research universities or universities of applied sciences. Regardless of any particular profession one can outline broad profiles that describe the different characteristics researchers may possess.

Starting point was the Frascati Manual definition of researcher:
"Researchers are professionals engaged in the conception or creation of new knowledge,
products, processes, methods and systems and also in the management of the projects

6. The European Charter for Researchers - The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers

European Commission: Directorate-General for Research, 2005.