Identifying pathways for balanced talent circulation in the EU

Identifying pathways for balanced talent circulation in the EU

In September 2020, the European Commission published its Communication on ‘A new ERA for Research and Innovation’. In the context of this Communication, the European Commission DG RTD commissioned a comprehensive study on the organisation and spread of ecosystems at the EU, national, regional and local levels, the role of specific actors active at the core of ecosystems (in particular universities and research organisations), the circulation of knowledge by individual research & innovation talents, and the potential legal and financial measures to support research careers and cooperation.

An extensive evidence base on knowledge ecosystems in Europe is being created, including all levels: the ecosystem, the ecosystem actors and the individual talents. This evidence base is needed to assess how knowledge ecosystems across the ERA are organised, how they could be strengthened, both at the individual talent and organisational level, and how their attractiveness for talents and investments can be addressed. The study includes a comprehensive analysis of the state of play, the design of monitoring mechanisms, and the creation of a toolbox of support measures.

IDEA’s role in this multi-layered work focuses on research careers and researcher mobility. We lead the work on defining a European competence framework for R&I talents, as well as the mapping of brain drain in Europe and identification of potential solutions. We also manage the development of an observatory for continued monitoring in this area.

In the past months, the work package on talent circulation focused on developing quantitative indicators to estimate brain drain. Together with its partners, IDEA developed indicators based on MORE data and scientometric analysis. The key indicators were presented in an interactive talent circulation map. 19 countries were identified with a potential brain drain issue or displaying a low talent circulation. For these 19 countries, further desk research and online interviews were set up to identify and understand the causes of brain drain and to identify pathways to improve talent circulation. The pathways were validated in an expert workshop and will be further elaborated in the coming weeks in preparation of a policy brief for the European Commission.

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