Identifying pathways for balanced talent circulation in the EU- Knowledge Ecosystems in the new ERA

Identifying pathways for balanced talent circulation in the EU- Knowledge Ecosystems in the new ERA

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 was created through this study, including all levels: the ecosystem, the ecosystem actors and the individual talents. This evidence base is important 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 was focused on research careers and researcher mobility. We have led the work on defining a European competence framework for R&I talents, as well as the mapping of brain drain in Europe and the identification of potential solutions. We have also managed the development of an observatory for continued monitoring in this area.

The work package on talent circulation has focused on developing quantitative indicators to estimate brain drain. Together with its partners, IDEA has 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 degree of 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 were further developed and reported in a policy brief for the European Commission.