Let’s make European University Alliances more visible in research networks and careers
With the RIS4CIVIS project, the CIVIS Alliance is working hard to develop the basis of a common approach to research and innovation (R&I). We are currently testing various aspects of this shared vision through case studies, the results of which will inspire a transformational model for R&I. However, some of the hurdles for cross-border R&I are clearly of a political nature and RIS4CIVIS is also a space to develop policy recommendations. In a new intermediary Policy Brief, RIS4CIVIS shares some first proposals for political actions, especially at European levels, which could help universities to unlock the potential of a truly European R&I ecosystem. The feedback from the alliances will help co-shape the design and implementation of the ERA Policy Agenda 2022 – 2024.
Recommendations in this first policy brief tackle the general barriers to transnational cooperation. For example, we propose that the European Commission updates the PIC (Participation Identification Code) system used when actors apply for funding through EU framework programmes such as Horizon Europe and Erasmus+. If the PIC made clear which European University Alliance a given university is a member of, the presence and added value of Alliances in the European Research Area would be more tangible. This change would also make it easier for the Alliances themselves to identify the existing research networks and projects between their members, which could be leveraged and reinforced.
We also make recommendations related to career development for researchers. A modern research profession should not have to mean a homogenous career spent entirely inside the university sector, and we should make it possible for researchers to build bridges between the socio-economic world and academia throughout their career. It would therefore be useful to make it possible for scientists to integrate temporary roles at companies or socio-cultural institutions into their academic careers. As for the PIC system, it could also be helpful to refer to membership of European University Alliances in the job offers which a university publishes on the Euraxess portal. The fact that many alliances do not have a legal entity is a challenge, but we believe there are ways to make this possible.
More generally, we call for the development of specific tools which mean that European University Alliances can propose collective research actions and win funding for projects that are attractive to researchers. These could touch on issues such as the green deal and European missions.
Looking ahead, we will continue to develop and share detailed policy recommendations based on what we learn through the project. Each of the six RIS4CIVIS Modules will be drafting policy notes related to the topics their work addresses, which will be published in early 2023. Then, as the RIS4CIVIS project draws to a close in late 2023, we will make final policy recommendations which will be part of the Institutional Transformational Model.