On 4 December, Vilnius University held a second round table event, devoted to mobility schemes and their impact on researchers’ career development and skills. Researchers and administrative staff from Lithuania’s universities were introduced to “Horizon 2020” Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions: Research and Innovation Staff Exchanges (RISE), Innovative Training Networks (ITN), Individual fellowships (IF), and Cofunding of Research Programs (COFUND) by Dr. C. Reynolds (Research Executive Agency).
Experiences and best practices of projects were presented by PIs from Vilnius University and Kaunas University of Technology, followed by discussion about schemes and the upcoming call for parallel labs of the Research Council of Lithuania. Additionally, the Alliance4Life project and its findings on mobility and international collaboration effects on research results and their quality were presented. At the event, participants discussed effective ways to use synergy between different funding sources for increasing mobility and skill development and shared their own examples and institutional experiences about attracting talent.
Participants noted that MSCA programs are well suited to finding and attracting foreign talent, although the talent search is not easy. Prof. Liudas Mažeika noted that it is necessary to publicize the achievements and activities of university scientists’ as much as possible. According to him, the international visibility of institution helps to attract foreign talent. It was noted that it is very important for the researcher to have the best possible access to the community of university. Therefore, a university's multilingual internal communication should be ensured. Creating such an environment would provide universities with not only specific foreign talent, but also with their lead partners for other projects and research. The European Commission spokesperson noted that the search for talent should focus not on a specific project, but on long-term cooperation. The key is to select a specific researcher to complement the university and systematically work on organizing both formal and informal meetings then. By doing so, the institution, its infrastructure, and research capabilities would be presented. Such targeted networking would also help to address another issue raised by the panelists, which is foreign researchers working in institutions for the duration of the project and then leaving to return to their previous jobs. Thus, not only the project, but also the environment, infrastructure, and opportunities should keep foreign talent at the university.
Another issue was discussed: how to attract and help science leaders grow, and transfer good practices in the education and training of young scientists? The participants of the discussion highlighted several key activities that help to ensure young scientists' skills: project exchanges, visits of foreign lecturers and ongoing work monitoring activities in foreign countries. It was noted that when presenting projects to young researchers, several aspects need to be highlighted: mobility, wider career opportunities and experience, additional income. Mobility schemes are unique opportunities for young scientists to visit research centers or take part in multinational companies through projects which draws on valuable experience.
During this event, several important conclusions were made: personal research initiatives should be encouraged by the university while in the searching of partners and the academic community should also be involved in project preparation and participation. MSCA projects are good for researcher’s career, as well as for its growth. When trying to attract talent from abroad, the widest possible use of English language in university’s communication should be noted. Project exchanges, visits by foreign lecturers, and work oversight activities abroad help to nurture science leaders and transfer good practices in the education and training of young researchers.