Europe to Need Million New Researchers by 2020

Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Peter Plavcan. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, July 19 (TASR) – By the end of 2020, Europe will need one million new researchers, said EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas after an informal meeting of EU ministers from the European Free Trade Association responsible for competitiveness (COMPET) in Bratislava on Tuesday.

According to Moedas, research and innovations form the basis for economic growth and researchers are indispensable in this sphere.

“If Europe wants to meet its targets – 3 percent of GDP for research and science – it will need another million researchers by 2020. Therefore, I welcome the Bratislava Declaration,” said Moedas. He was referring to the new Bratislava Declaration for support of young researchers that has been introduced by the COMPET ministers in Bratislava.

The declaration, to be signed Tuesday, will be submitted for the approval at the COMPET session in Brussels on November 29. The document will serve as the basis for supporting career development of young researchers. These consider job instability, career structure, problems with international mobility programmes and lack of opportunities to be the biggest issues in this field.

Slovak Education, Science, Research and Sport Minister Peter Plavcan (Slovak National Party/SNS nominee) – at the helm of Tuesday’s talks – recalled that many researchers can feel frustrated about not getting grants, and are therefore leaving their research careers.

“This issue has to be treated sensitively … because the number of people capable of working in research and development is relatively limited,” said Plavcan.

According to Dusan Chrenek, the head of the European Commission’s Representation in Slovakia, the country has at its disposal substantial amount of EU money dedicated for science, research and innovation until 2020.

“The most important programme is currently the Operational Programme Research and Innovation with a budget of €2.26 billion,” said Chrenek, adding that the programme is aimed at supporting research, technological development, innovations and growth of SMEs and at enhancing Slovakia’s competitiveness.

“The programme will support nearly 13,000 businesses, including 1,400 start-ups, create 4,000 jobs and increase the number of researchers in Slovakia by more than 1,000,” added Chrenek.