How best to promote international experience and career prospects for young researchers? This is the question the DAAD set out to answer at a lunch talk event on 5 April 2017 in Brussels attended by experts from the European Commission and the European science community as well as national stakeholders.

Representatives of the European Commission and the DAAD presented strategies and initiatives for promoting international experience and career prospects for PhD and postdoc candidates.

Particular emphasis was placed on the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Actions. With this scheme the European Commission co-finances member states’ projects to promote excellence in researchers’ training, mobility and career development and to spread best practices across Europe. Interdisciplinarity and cross-sectoral mobility are very much encouraged in order to open up additional employment prospects for researchers outside academia.

As a practical example the DAAD presented its P.R.I.M.E. project under COFUND which combines the funding of postdoctoral outgoing mobility and a reintegration phase - with ongoing employment in Germany throughout the funding period.

While the speakers and the audience agreed that the COFUND Actions stimulated individual career opportunities as well as scientific networks and helped universities to become more international, they also made suggestions for possible modifications in the future. Among the topics were a stronger linkage between doctoral and postdoctoral funding lines, widening participation by taking more EU-13 members on board, and supporting universities' European researcher networks.

“Feedback and good ideas from stakeholders help us to develop our programmes further”, said Bodo Richter, responsible for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions at the European Commission, who invited the participants to maintain the dialogue. Needless to say, his statement was very well received by the audience as the opening of the COFUND call for early stage and experienced researchers on the same day gave the discussions a special relevance.