There have been a few interesting European reports that I've been meaning to write about, so here they are, all in one convenient package!
First up: Europe's scientific workforce is aging.
population as a whole is aging, so it's not a big surprise that the
scientific workforce is aging, too. Eurostat recently took a look at
the demographics of human resources in science and technology (HRST),
which they define as people with higher education or employment in science and technology. Rather than refer to people as an acronym, though, I shall call them "folks in science."
Eurostat estimates that 40% of the folks in science
in Europe are between ages 45 and 64, and the percentage of workers in
that age group has been increasing by 3.3% per year since 2001.
Bulgaria has the oldest scientific workforce (with 46%
of folks in science over age 45), followed by Finland, Germany, and
Sweden. Spain has the youngest scientific workforce (with 30% between
ages 45 and 64), followed by Ireland and Portugal.
The report also looks at the gender breakdown (47% of folks in science aged 45 to 64 are
women, it says here -- that's overall, and the report breaks it down by country but nothing else), job-to-job mobility (2.9% of folks in science aged 45
to 64 changed jobs in a one-year period compared with 6.2% of those in
the whole group surveyed -- those aged 25 to 64), and unemployment
(2.9% of the total folks in science are unemployed, compared with 2.2%
of the older group, with, of course, huge variations by country).
The report's authors don't include too much strong
language in the way of recommendations: "The impact of this labour
force aging needs to be closely monitored, in particular regarding the
highly qualified section of the labour force, to ensure knowledge
transfer," the report's authors write. I suspect we'll see numbers from
this analysis pop up in a future report aimed at drawing young people
into science in Europe.
You can read the Eurostat report here, and a summary of it here.
Next: Women are underrepresented in senior science positions.
A mere 15% of full professors in European universities are women. That statistic in itself isn't new, but it's one of many in a new report that was put together by an independent panel charged by the European Commission "to review
the procedures for evaluating and promoting research personnel and to
identify measures taken to promote women into senior positions,"
according to a press release.
accomplish this, the report's authors reviewed the issues in depth,
including the latest statistics on women in the scientific workforce,
the latest legislation in each country that pertains to gender equality
in the workforce, and reviews of programs that seem to be successful in
promoting women in the workforce. The report -- called "Mapping the maze: getting more women to the top in research" -- makes several recommendations: There should be national and international committments to
equality in the workforce, training efforts should inform high-level
officials and administrators on gender aspects of the workforce, create
more transparent hiring processes by requiring all job positions to be
publicly advertised, collect better data on hiring and workforce, and
recommend that institutions make public information on their faculty's
age, gender, and income distribution.
There are many more recommendations, of course, and you can read them in the full report.
And finally: The European Commission wants to help you get the right funding for your project.
Commission has developed its "Practical guide to EU funding
opportunities for research, development and innovation," which
describes three funding mechanisms: the 7th Framework Program (FP7), the Competitiveness and Innovation Program (CIP), and structural funds.
According to the new guide, FP7 "provides funding to co-finance
research, technological development and demonstration projects based on
competitive calls and independent peer review of project proposals."
CIP is meant to "promote innovation (including eco-innovation), foster
business support services in the regions ... , encourage a better
take-up and use of information and communications technologies,
help to develop the information society and promote the increased use
of renewable energies and energy efficiency." And structural funds are
meant "to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion by
disparities in the level of development among regions and Member States."
The new guide is meant to help researchers choose which
one of these funding mechanisms is the right one for their project --
or even how to combine funds from different sources. The guide provides a checklist to help compare each funding type. The guide itself is still in draft form, and the Commission is soliciting comments through the end of April. You can read the consultation document here, the draft practical guide here, draft checklist here, and draft scorecard here. Oh, and there's also a press release.