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19 July 2016
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Ministers for competitiveness call on support for a new generation of scientists by presenting the Bratislava Declaration on Young Researchers

Bratislava (19 July 2016) - Measures to support young researchers, increase their mobility, participation of women in research and more investment in research, which would lead to the increased attractiveness of scientific careers and would enhance the innovative environment. These were the main topics of the informal Council of Ministers responsible for competitiveness (Research), held on 19 July 2016 in Bratislava's Reduta.

Ministers from the 28 EU Member States and EFTA countries under the leadership of the Minister of Education, Science, Research and Sport, Peter Plavčan, and the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas, discussed policies to support young researchers, increase the attractiveness of science-based careers and further investment in the human potential in research and development.

‘We are convinced that young and talented people are the driving force of development, innovation and economic growth in Europe’, emphasised Minister Peter Plavčan. He added that Slovakia is a young, dynamic country with young people who can inspire Europe, and explained that the aim of this meeting was to explore together the conditions for young researchers at European and national level and prepare proposals to create a more attractive system in the EU to support them.

‘As politicians, we often discuss issues in abstract terms, but today it was different. The expert discussions were joined by young researchers. It was one of the most interesting discussions that I’ve participated in,’ said Mr Moedas.

The ministers also considered ways to attract the best researchers from third countries, a goal in line with the priorities of the European Commission to create new jobs and increase economic growth and competitiveness.

The excellent young scientists who joined the discussions with politicians were also involved in the preparation of the Bratislava Declaration on Young Researchers. This document was officially presented by the Minister of Education Peter Plavčan and Commissioner Carlos Moedas. The Declaration will be annexed to the Council conclusions for adoption at the Competitiveness Council, Research section, on 29 November 2016 in Brussels.

In the second part of the informal meeting, the ministers discussed the need to develop the European research, development and innovation environment. This included a focus on opportunities for improving framework conditions for researchers in the EU, especially with regard to start-ups, i.e. fast-growing, innovative SMEs.

The aim of the ministerial exchange of opinions was to find answers to the following questions: which activities should be developed to improve cooperation between public research and private sectors? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the European innovation ecosystem? What could be the potential role of the forthcoming European Innovation Council in this area?

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