Published: Wed, 03 January 2024
Seán Kelly MEP has called on the EU to provide more financial and other support to young researchers, those working across vital medical, science and technology fields. MEP Kelly stressed the importance of their work for sustaining innovation in Europe and medical preparedness.
“In the ever-changing landscape of global challenges, it is the young researchers who will lead the march towards ground-breaking solutions. They are the innovators of the future. We will depend on them to find answers to the vast economic and societal issues that lie ahead”, MEP Kelly said.
“Despite their undoubted contribution, young researchers often find themselves undervalued – a trend evident in Ireland. A recent report, released last summer, shed light on the disheartening reality that PhD researchers in Ireland receive a mere €18,000 to €19,000 per year. Given the prevailing cost-of-living crisis in Ireland and in Europe, the report stated that this stipend falls well short of meeting the essential needs of these young researchers. Unfortunately, this is a common trend across Europe”, Kelly warned.
“Last July, the Commission released measures to fortify the European Research Area. These include proposals for a Council recommendation establishing a new European Framework for Research Careers, a new Charter for Researchers, and the European Competence Framework for Researchers to support inter-sectoral mobility. All very good suggestions.
“We need to recognise that young researchers are highly skilled graduates and lucrative career opportunities must be available to them. We need to make the prospect of an additional four years of full-time studies within the EU an attractive career option in both the short and long term. The EU’s research funding programme, Horizon, should continue to champion their valuable work.
“As we begin 2024, and looking ahead to the next European Parliament term after the June elections, I will strongly urge the EU to seriously examine what additional measures can be taken at EU level to acknowledge the importance of these young researchers, but also ensure a sustainable career path is possible for them”, Kelly added.