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BILAT-USA @ NORDP 2012 Annual Meeting in Alexandria, Virginia

May 31, 2012

BILAT-USA session on Transatlantic Mobility Without Borders very well received

The 2012 Annual Conference of the National Organization of Research Development Professionals (NORDP) took place on 21-23 May 20012 in Alexandria, Virginia. 300 research practioners and administrators gathered, in order to exchange views on numerous topics, such as enhancing researchers´ competitiveness in seeking extramural funding, managing cross-disciplinary collaboration or advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers.

Program specialists and advisors for R&D from the National Institute of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Energy (DOE) have been invited to highlight the funders´ perspectives. Collaborative, multidisciplinary and large-scale research is an increasing trend, involving several investigators and several institutions. This has to go hand-in-hand with clear management, coordinated leadership, as well as good conditions for knowledge and technology transfer. The current trend of increasing numbers of proposals for research funding implies the increasing need for more reviewers which sometimes may cause difficulties.

The international part of the conference was taken over by the BILAT-USA session on Transatlantic Mobility Without Borders, facilitated by the US project partner AAAS:

James Lightbourne, Director of the Division of Graduate Education at NSF, highlighted the interest of NSF for transatlantic collaboration by introducing Science Across Virtual Institutes (SAVI) , an innovative concept to foster interaction among scientists, engineers and educators around the world. He pointed out that there is still lack of understanding the differences between European and U.S. research funding systems and consequently a need to close this gap.

Therese Lindahl, Austrian National Contact Point for the Marie Curie Actions of the EU´s Seventh Framework Program (FP7) gave an overview on current FP7 mobility instruments and possibilities for transatlantic collaboration. Her contribution was very well received among participating research development professionals, leading to several concrete questions and requests regarding cooperation possibilities between Europe and the U.S. through mobile researchers: FP7 mobility funding of US researchers in Europe.

Izabella Zandberg, EURAXESS Links USA project manager, rounded up the panel by highlighting why international mobility and internationalization of research are important factors for excellence of research. Main obstacles to mobility are still administrative and legal issues, the missing transferability of e.g. pensions from one country to the other, as well as lack of information and dual career support. In order to facilitate the mobility of researchers, funding programs for mobility and research collaboration have to be aligned and career paths in different countries have to be made compatible.

The conference was a fruitful get-together of BILAT-USA representatives, Gwen Coat (AAAS) and Elli Tzatzanis-Stepanovic (FFG), with NORDP representatives, Ann McGuigan (Texas A&M University), Jacob Levin (University of California at Irvine), Jaine Place (North Carolina State University), Jeffrey M. Anderson (University of Texas at San Antonio) and many more.

Thank you for this meeting!


BILAT-USA (Grant Agreement no: 244434) and Link2US (Grant Agreement no: 244371) Projects are co-funded by the European Union’s Capacities Programme on International Cooperation under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Cooperation.