EU researchers based in the US have given an outstanding “yes” to the creation of a network for them and about them. Following a survey of researchers from EU countries working in the US, carried out by the European Commission, over 90% of the 2000 respondents said that they wanted closer research links with Europe. The European Commission has therefore agreed to develop a networking and information tool called ERA-Link, which will be operational by the end of the year. ERA-Link will give European researchers working in the US access to information about career and research funding opportunities in Europe, as well as possibilities for collaborative work with EU laboratories, student exchanges and visiting professorships. It will also give them the means to contact other European researchers working in the US, and organise regular meetings amongst themselves.
Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Science and Research said “Allowing researchers the chance to work abroad is important for keeping a flow of ideas within our science community. ERA-Link will provide European scientists in the US with a means of keeping in touch, and perhaps returning in the future. It will also help to forge closer links between the European and US research communities, which can only be positive.”
The survey of European researchers in 49 of the 50 American states, and working in both the public and private sector, showed that their greatest interest was information on research funding in Europe, followed by information on career opportunities. There was a general expression of willingness to be more involved in and to contribute to European research in the future. They were also keen to have opportunities to contact other European researchers in the US.
The initiative was unveiled today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Conference in Washington. This year sees the greatest involvement yet of EU Research in this annual event, with a series of joint EU-US symposia on themes of shared interest such as research evaluation for policy-making, public attitudes and engagement with science, enhancing research careers and risk-taking in research.
Following today’s announcement, the European Commission and EU Member States will start work on the next phase of the project – the electronic network itself. It is expected that ERA-Link will be operational by the end of the year.
The full report with results of the survey can be found at: