Skip to content
Home » Academic Careers Observatory » Europe and Research

Europe and Research

The Fifth Fundamental Freedom: the Circulation of Researchers

This page gives an overview of the research funding opportunities and information related to researcher's mobility available in Europe and beyond in the areas of the social sciences and humanities. Much of this information concerns the EU and the programmes and services made available by the European Commission to establish a common European Research Area (ERA) as part of the Lisbon Strategy to build a new European economic space based knowledge and scientific research. As affirmed by Commissioner Potocnik in a recent visit to the MWP, the mobility of researchers has to become the fifth EU fundamental freedom.

To build the ERA, the Commission has proposed directives and enacted policies within the open method of coordination framework that aim to facilitate access of skilled researchers to the EU and the harmonisation of the member states' higher education systems, career patterns, social security regulations and investments in R&D. The rationale behind the ERA is to increase the professionalisation of researchers and their mobility within disciplines and employment sectors.

For more information on the ERA see the Commission's official website.

The place that the sciences and humanities occupy in the construction of the ERA is still ambiguous. Compared to hard sciences, these disciplines have received a more limited attention. However, recently EU research programmes and initiatives have begun to give the social sciences and the humanities more visibility and funding.

We are expanding information and links: consult this page regularly for the latest info.


EU and National Initiatives on Researchers' Mobility

The EU Commission has a new portal, Euraxess, which has replaced the old Researchers' mobility portal. Euraxess promotes researcher's mobility and facilitates the matching of supply and demand in the academic job market. It offers research institutions and employers the opportunity to post their research funding opportunities and job offers. It also allows researchers to put their CV online and make themselves known to potential employers.

Check Euraxess

There are also national portals, of European and non-European countries, coordinated with the European portal. At the moment, 35 countries participate in the Commission's mobility project. National portals list job and research funding opportunities. They include practical information on working (taxation, social security, visas, work and residence permits) and living (housing, family life and childcare, health insurance and language) in each country. Links to national portals are accessible from Euraxess. We provide them also here (N.B. some of them are not yet operative)


European Union...


...and beyond


7th Framework Programme: IDEAS/ERC

The 7th Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7) is the biggest EU research funding tool. It covers the period 2007-2013 with a budget of €53.2 billion. FP7 distributes funding in line with four main objectives. With respect to the social sciences and humanities, the FP7 IDEAS Programme (€7.5 billion) is particulary important. IDEAS supports innovative and pioneer projects of both junior and senior researchers. In particular, Starting Independent Researcher Grants (SIRGs) support individual research projects of academics, from inside and outside Europe, who are at an early stage of their career. SIRGs cover physical sciences and engineering, life sciences, and social sciences and humanities. The European Research Council (ERC) allocates this and other types of grants under IDEAS.

Check CORDIS (Community Research and Development Information Service for Science, Research and Development) for all information on FP7 and the application procedure. You may also want to check our career tip on how to apply to ERC for a SIRG, which provides more information on these grants and illustrates the main elements that research projects for the ERC have to include. The tip also advises you on some practical issues to take into account, including mistakes to avoid, during the application procedure and the final interview phase if a project passes the first selection stages.


Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities (SSH) Programme

The SSH Programme supports research in the social sciences and humanities focusing on the social, economic and cultural questions emerging in European societies. The Programme's approach is pragmatic and oriented towards the analysis of specific issues. At the same time, it is designed to have an impact on policy-making 'by challenging accepted ideas, promoting leading comparatism, providing new data, building new indicators'. Funds are available not only for academics and social scientists but also for businesses, NGOs and other private actors.

See the SSH Programme official website for calls for proposals and more info related to the Programme


The Rights of Researchers

As part of the strategy leading to the launch of the European Research Area, the Commission launched a process of public consultation and released a series of recommendations to EU Member States concerning the rights and duties of researchers and their employers. At the end of the process, the Commission drafted the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.

These documents touch upon key questions concerning research in Europe bearing in mind the overall EU objective of achieving a cross-national harmonization of legislation and practices that frames research activities within each state. Among these, there is the provision of material support and clear and transparent recruitment processes and employment conditions for researchers, and the establishment of clear career pattern for researchers employed under different types of contract, including fixed-term contracts. At the same time, states are invited to value and guarantee the necessary conditions for the international mobility of researchers.

See the recommendations containing both the Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct

Page last updated on 29 August 2018

Go back to top of the page