EMBO meeting day 1: Innovation forum and mobility for scientists


InnovationToday was the first day of the EMBO meeting. I already told a bit about the opening session; some words below go to the Innovation forum held in the very beginning of this first interesting – and quite exhausting – day.

At 8 a.m. today was held the Innovation forum focusing on 2 topics: “Pension scheme for internationally mobile researchers” and “Social security and pensions of EU researchers”.

Pension scheme for internationally mobile researchers

This topic was presented by Harald Huhn, from MLP Finanzdienstleistungen AG. In the beginning of his talk, he showed some quite striking numbers. Thus, he told about the tremendous decrease of “top talents” and the mobility increase consistent with frequent change of employers: 10 years ago, on average a researcher changed an employer at about 3 times; nowadays, it is ~5 employers and it is previewed that this number goes up to 7 in 10 years. He told about an OECD study on the level of pension provided by the member states and there is a clear shrinking of social security funding.

Along with MLP and Allianz, EMBO has developped a pension scheme for internationally mobile post-doctoral researchers who are EMBO fellows. Roughly, you can decide how much you want to put into this parallel pension system (free of charge), e.g. 100 euros/month; EMBO will match up to 100€ as well. You can read the press release announcing this program here.

Social security and pensions of EU researchers

This topic was discussed by Anna Kadar, from the European Commission. In 2008, member states of the European Union agreed to implement the European Partnership for Researchers (a partnership with the European Commission). It aims at making national ownership stronger and at achieving progress for common european framework for researchers. One of the main goals is to handle issues on social security and supplementary pensions of scientists. Those concrete solutions will include doctoral candidates.

A feasibility study was completed (accessible via the European Commission portal). It is clear that supplementary pension schemes become more and more needed, but they are not that easy to organize. Thus, the IORP Directive aims at creating a framework for the prudential regulation of pensional schemes. The role of the European Commission would be, among others, to establish a task-force on occupational pensions. Even if the current pension schemes are not really convenient (social security and pension systems of the member states are really different), a pan-European system will be difficult to create and settle down.

Good luck to Anna Kadar and colleagues… and good luck to all of us, PhD and post-doctoral scientists who are often obliged to pay two social securities and pensions and may lose one of them when going back to our country…

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