Eurodoc Conference 2018: Research career – a living dream?

Research career – a living dream?

University of Tampere
Tampere 18-19 April 2018

by Gianna Avellis

The conference was very successful with 200 participants and great invited speakers. The conference was opened by the organiser&sponsors, namely FUURT (The Finnish Union of University Researchers and Teachers) Miia Ijas, UTA (University of Tampere) rector Liisa Laakso, and EURODOC President Garreth O’Neill.

For the first session on Policy making and the current situation of ECRs, invited speakers came from EU Commission (Fabienne Gauthier), who presented Modern Universities – embracing Open Science challenges and perspectives, FUURT (Lotta Alhnnoro and Tommy Kikoden) who showed the results of the survey on early Career Researchers (ECRs) situation in Finland and Science Europe (Stephan Kuster) who provided some insights on the early career support in a changing research environment.

The second session focussed on Developing doctoral training in Europe addressing the key challenges (Alxander Hasgall from EDU-CDE), systemic change in science and higher education in Poland (Ewelina Pabja czyk-Wlazlo from National Association of Doctoral Candidates , Poland, previous chair of EURODOC) and excellence in doctoral training (Pirjo Nikander from UTA Doctoral School).

Gianna Avellis participated to the third session on Career development and ECRs’ working conditions addressing in her talk both issues of international mobility and gender equality and exploiting the work done in MCAA GEMS WG, MCFA m-WiSET WG and ITWIIN Italian Women Innovators and Inventors Network) on Role Models, concluding her talk by proposing a collaboration to EURODOC to build the database of role models in the Networking and Mobility of women scientists project

funded by Alexander von Humboldt and managed by Ira Didenkulova and Gianna Avellis. The President of EURODOC welcomed this collaboration and put Gianna in contact with the gender equality representatives of EURODOC and the Italian Association ADI of EURODOC for investigating future initiatives among our associations. The third session also addressed the academic conditions and mental health of ECRs by Inge van der Weijden of University of Leiden, and finally stressed the Mela schema for security of grant recipients, by Henry Virtanen. The session was very well conducted by the moderator Filomena Parada from ABIC/EURODOC, who also presented some issues on working conditions of ECRs.

The second day of the conference fostered the discussion on Careers, labour market and mobility, with several speakers from ERC and Academy of Finland, EURAXESS, EURODOC and EIT Alumni. It also addressed the theme of Researchers and Society, underlining the RRI (Responsible Research and Innovation) by ICORSA (Rosarii Griffin) which will be exploited in the HORIZON 2020 RRING project, Young Academy of Europe (YAE Marcel Swart) (Re)presenting the academic society by young leaders, EURODOC Vice president Ieva Silina, who explains the need for researchers to build a personal branding in science.

The conference ended with a Panel Discussion of the main speakers mentioned above coordinated by FUURT (Johanna Moisio) summarizing the challenges that affect the work of researchers and giving some food for thought from the conference: researchers should be trained for work in academia and outside; researchers have a lot of responsibilities especially with the Open Science; researchers are subject to short term contracts; a lot has been done at EU level to address the challenges of researchers to promote mobility, and this is essential and has a big impact for research and economy; different tools at EU level such as EURAXESS, MARIE CURIE, ERC are available to researchers; interdisciplinarity and integration to Open Science is supported at EU level, big collaboration at EU level, at national level and at the level of the association is needed and finally the passion for research has to be shared.