Guidelines for the Inclusion of Researchers at Risk

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Researchers at risk include researchers, scholars and scientists at all stages of their careers who are experiencing threats to their life, liberty or research career, and those who are forced to flee or have been displaced because of such threats. 

Some researchers at risk have recognised refugee status, asylum status, or similar protection status.

However, a more significant proportion of those seeking the assistance of NGOs specialising in the field of scholar protection are outside the refugee process, seeking or holding temporary visas/work permits through visiting research/scholar positions at host institutions in Europe or elsewhere, outside their home countries.

In order to remain globally competitive and innovative, it is essential for Europe to invest in excellent researchers. At the same time, it must stay true to its common values.

As the EU’s flagship programme for the mobility and training of researchers, MSCA is open to individuals of any nationality. They may be at any stage of their careers, from doctoral candidates to postdoctoral researchers. As such, MSCA is open to researchers at risk. All MSCA applicants and beneficiaries are encouraged to take measures to facilitate the participation of these researchers.

The MSCA Guidelines for the Inclusion of Researchers at Risk provide useful background on researchers at risk and recommend ways to improve their recruitment.Guidelines are in line with the European Commission’s key political priorities (2019-2024), and figure high on the European research and education agendas. 

To widen access for researchers at risk, MSCA applicants and beneficiaries are encouraged to consider these guidelines on a best-effort basis.

Most of the recommendations go beyond the MSCA, and may well be implemented by the higher education community more generally. The recommendations focus on aspects such as

  • dissemination
  • application, recruitment, and selection of researchers
  • pre-arrival and post-arrival measures
  • career guidance and training of recruited researchers

To help implement the recommendations, the guidelines also provide several examples of good practice and relevant links to more information.

The guidelines have been developed by the European Commission with the help of the Inspireurope project, a Europe-wide initiative to support researchers at risk funded by the MSCA.