Work programme of the Bologna Follow-Up Group 2007-2009
Seminar on Staff Mobility and Pension Arrangements
Bologna Seminar on "Penalized for Being Mobile? National Pension Schemes as an Obstacle to Mobility for Researchers in the European Higher Education Area", hosted by the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Berlin, 12-13 Jun 2008.
Introduction to the topic
The issue of creating a knowledge-based economy and a European Research Area (ERA) have received ever increasing attention. The EU-wide discussion on the Lisbon Agenda reveals a growing awareness of the fact that research and researchers – whether in the private sector or at publicly funded universities and research facilities – represent the heart of Europe’s future competitiveness.
Attractive working conditions and the possibility of unlimited mobility, not only within the ERA, but also throughout the extended European Higher Education Area (EHEA), are widely viewed as the requirements for successfully developing excellent teaching and research in Europe. However, a variety of administrative and socio-economic obstacles continue to block the path to greater mobility.
With a range of problems remaining and even been intensified by the social gap within the enlarged Europe, the conference hosts have decided to address the nationally diverse and frequently divergent forms of social welfare systems, focussing in particular on the issue of pension and retirement schemes as an obstacle to mobility. Underling their relevance and as part of the Bologna Process as a whole, these issues were made mentioned in the London Minister Communiqué of 2007.
The differences in pension and retirement systems are felt by all mobile workers, but especially by researchers and academics as international mobility is an essential part of their career development. Consequently, researchers and academics constitute a special group of employees within the EU and the European Higher Education Area. And, as the introduction of the European “Researcher Visa” through the 2005 directive of the European Council shows, European governments and the public are gradually recognizing that. In the light of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (Commission Recommendation 2005), the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) has become especially concerned with the issue of obstacles to mobility, addressing this topic in a specialised working group since 2005. Accordingly, the HRK has organized and will host an official Bologna Seminar as a “follow-up” to the 2007 London Conference and a “prep-up” for the 2009 Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve Minister Conference. The seminar, “Penalized for Being Mobile? National Pension Schemes as an Obstacle to Mobility for Researchers in the European Higher Education Area”, shall deal with and hopefully raise awareness of this most serious and complex problem regarding the mobility of researchers and academics. A review of selected case studies and examples will illustrate how the diverse pension and retirement schemes affect the mobility of academics and their social position. In addition, seminar participants will have the opportunity to learn about new pension scheme options, discuss short-, medium- and long-term possibilities for improvement and formulate a political-action agenda.
Statement of the HRK and participants
Position of German universities: Prof. Dr. Margret Wintermantel, HRK president
Presentation of examples of researchers’ mobility in the EHEA and its consequences for retirement::
- Dr. Petre Badica, Humboldt foundation
- Dr. Dagmar M. Meyer, IUA, Dublin and former President of the Marie Curie Association
- Prof. Dr. Louise Ackers and Dr. Liz Oliver, University of Liverpool, presenting their recent study ”Scientific Mobility and Pensions” (January 2008)
Group 1: Mobility within the EU: Lesley Wilson, Secretary General, European University Association (EUA) and Vincent de Graauw, Legal Expert, Fondation Nationale Alfred Kastler / CiUP (France)/ Rapporteur Vincent de Graauw
Group 2: Mobility between EU-Members, additional Bologna Countries and the World, Dr. Gerhard Duda, German Rectors’ Conference/ Rapporteur Dr. Gerhard Duda
Group 3: Good practice examples of advising services for universities: Rasa Jurkeviciene, Project Manager, Lithuanian Researchers' Mobility Centre, Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education and Dr. Peter Zervakis, German Rectors’ Conference/ Rapporteur Rasa Jurkeviciene
Final report of the conference: Prof. Dr. Louise Ackers, University of Liverpool