Mobility and career paths of researchers in Europe

Mobility and career paths of researchers in Europe

For the third time in a row, IDEA Consult led the MORE study on mobility and career paths of researchers in Europe. We gained new insights into what researchers find important in their careers and mobility, to what extent they still face barriers for mobility and career progression and which impact policy measures have on these aspects.

The study shows for example that there is something like a global mind-set on what makes for an attractive research career (in academia) and that these global factors are mainly research job characteristics that influence a researcher's scientific productivity (e.g. international networking, career perspectives and working with high quality peers). Further, intersectoral mobility between higher education institutions and firms are regarded as less important for recruitment or career progression in academia than international and interdisciplinary mobility.

However, there is at the same time discrepancy between this ‘global awareness' on what matters for successful research careers and the observation that national differences in research systems gives rise to varying perceptions of attractiveness between countries, as well as varying patterns of international mobility, including asymmetric mobility or brain drain. This is not only pertinent at the global level between high-income countries with strong research systems and lower-income countries with weaker research systems, but also at the European level.

These insights are used by the European Commission to understand the drivers and enablers that define the attractiveness of the EU as a research area. The findings emphasise a need for a stronger policy focus on boosting conditions for scientific productivity in all Member States and at EU level to foster symmetric mobility and brain circulation.

Two years of research summarised in one final report, published here:

The results of the currently ongoing fourth MORE study are expected early 2021.


  • European Commission