EU R&D boss unveils researcher mobility portal

8 Sep 2009

A portal that guides researchers to information on R&D funding, job opportunities, social security and tax issues and other topics relating to researcher mobility was launched in Dublin today by the European Commission’s Director General for Research José Manuel Silva Rodríguez.

The new also provides access to the Government’s Hosting Agreement Scheme to fast track researchers to Ireland.

This scheme enables approved organisations to recruit researchers from outside the EEA to carry out research in Ireland without the need for a Green Card or Work Permit. This mechanism facilitates researchers and their immediate family for the duration of their contract, making Ireland much more attractive than many other European countries.

“The European Commission recognizes the commitment by Ireland to supporting the free movement of researchers which is a critical part of European R&D policy. It will certainly support Ireland’s goal of developing the Smart Economy,” Rodríguez said.

Rodríguez is on a two-day visit to Ireland to view projects funded in Irish Universities and companies by the European Commission under the highly competitive Framework Programme.

Between 2006 and 2008, 1,800 Irish research groups and organisations have participated in submitted proposals, of which 418 have been successful, resulting in the influx of EU funding of some €107m.

Over the first two years of the 7th Research Framework programme (FP7) Irish researchers have been very active and successful in applying for funding to complement national resources.

“Ireland is a strong participant in competitive European R&D funding programmes and is clearly using the national investments made over the past 10 years to lever further EU funding.

More than €10m has been awarded to a number of Irish Institutions under the Marie Curie COFUND action. This success has been achieved by the Irish Research Councils (IRCSET & IRCHSS), the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI).

These programmes are bringing EU money to boost national investments and will enable some 100 researchers to move between an Irish and a foreign research organisation to support their career development.

Despite the difficult economic situation, Irish institutions continue to be attractive also for individual researchers from other countries, especially at post-doctoral level. Marie Curie fellowships allow them to carry out their projects in an Irish research team for 1-2 years, making an important contribution to the Irish knowledge economy.

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By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years