Collaborative open science speeds up research evaluation

Science is changing. The widespread reach of the internet means we can access more papers and connect with more researchers than ever before. With the growing adoption of open access policies around the world this trend is only set to increase. As a result, scientists’ ability to collaborate effectively over long distances is now a key challenge for scientists at all stages of their career.

The end of the wage labour: what you know is who you know

Internships, short-term contracts, job hunting, race to publish, growing importance of network relationships. In recent years, the working condition of researchers has been completely transformed. In this open world context, the demand for individual autonomy fuels the competition between job candidates. As a result, research work and careers are no longer fostered in a sustainable environment. Above all, what matters today, is also their ability to enhance their network because in this new world, what you know is who you know.

A ‘single market for research’ is closer, but not yet a reality

It is widely accepted that Europe needs more investment in research and innovation. Investment that will advance knowledge, make people’s lives better, and safeguard our economic competitiveness. What is less well understood is that spending alone is not enough. The money needs to be spent efficiently and with the greatest possible impact. That’s why making the European Research Area (ERA) a reality is a key structural reform for Europe. The ERA Progress Report 2013, the first of its kind, shows that in many countries policies are in place to support a single market for research jobs. However, it also shows that we still have a long way to go.

Do science girls have an image problem?

Is the image of women scientists to blame for the lack of popularity of science studies? And how much could changing the image of female scientists do to solve the two problems that persist? Namely, boosting girls’ involvement in science from an early age. And removing the barriers to top positions for female scientists when they get there. Find out more in this EuroScientist article.

Edito: An evolutionary tale of short versus long-term research vision

The recessionary climate has disturbed research cycles. All the testimonies gathered for this special Euroscientist issue covering research austerity in Southern Europe concur. If we draw a parallel with Nature, we observe that disturbance in seasonal cycles imposed by climate change is responsible for the disappearance of biodiversity. Unlike animal species, however, European scientists have a fantastic ability to adapt to the disruptions in their research environment.

What the new EU unitary patent means for academics

The signature, on 19th February 2013, on a long awaited unitary patent, that is unlikely to be used in Italy, Spain, Poland and Bulgaria, opens the door for the implementation, on 1st January 2014, of a new European patent. This new single EU patent may contribute to increasing acceptance of the inclusion of patents—and not mainly peer-reviewed papers in most influential journals—as brownie points during academic career evaluation or grant award evaluation.

Marie Curie: Inspiring millions, advancing European science

She received two Nobel Prizes, has served as an inspirational figure to countless women (and men) in science, and has a Continent-wide fellowship program named after her to promote the brightest scientific minds and innovations. The Marie Curie Fellowships, administered by the EU, are so prestigious that recipients regularly gush about its virtue as a career game-changer. Only 8% of applicants receive fellowships each year, but this low rate of acceptance does not deter scholars; on the contrary, says Jordi Curell Gotor, who oversees the Marie Curie Fellowships as Director Lifelong learning, higher education and international affairs, DG Education and Culture, European Commission. The number of applications continues to rise annually. So far, 50,000 researchers from 120 nations have received these prestigious grants since the program’s inception in 1996.

Facilitating researcher mobility

One of the recurrent themes at the Vitae Researcher Development Conference 2010 was how to better facilitate the movement of researchers throughout the European Union. Representing the British Council, Dr Claire McNulty’s conference workshop, Research as an International Career, broadened the discussion to how to encourage and make easier the transition for scientists moving between continents, as well as between countries that are geographically, but not politically European nations.

Sustaining research through the economic downturn – in the UK and Europe

On the 6th and 7th of September 2010, the historic Midland hotel in central Manchester, UK was filled with nearly 400 participants attending the Vitae Researcher Development Conference. The discussion of ideas on professional development and support for researchers at this year’s annual gathering is of particular importance, as it comes cheek by jowl with the UK spending review outcomes to be announced this Autumn – and with an expectation of hard times to come. The conference participants were set to discuss the new political context, to gather evidence of the contribution of researchers to the academic base and to economic and cultural prosperity, and to address future skill sets of researchers and the UK’s place in the global research environment.