Five Top Tips for starting a research job abroad

More than half of the EU's researchers have experienced international mobility and 80% say the experience has had a positive impact on their research career. However, moving abroad for your research has unique challenges. Here are five top tips that Calum MacKichan gathered for your move abroad.

  1. Find your local Euraxess Centre and National Portal

As a researcher you have free access to a Europe-wide customised assistance service offered by the EURAXESS Service Network. More than 250 centres in 40 countries assist you and your family in all matters relating to your professional and daily life, including information on legal issues, social security, health and taxes, everyday life as well as family support.

The Euraxess website contains national portals – contact points with tailored advice for those who move abroad.

  1. Scientific Visa and work permits

The Scientific Visa package helps researchers to obtain permission to enter, stay and work in European Union Member States for the purpose of carrying out scientific research. It is designed to make the process easier for researchers to receive a residence permit so they can  carry out research for a short-term (up to three months) or long-term (more than three months) in the EU.

  1. Know your rights: pension and social security

Researchers are a highly-skilled and mobile workforce. However, because of their mobility, gaps can arise in their social security protection and the transfer of their pension rights. In addition, there is no clear or adequate information available about these rights. Here is a useful FAQ on pension rights.

  1. Learn the language

English may be fine in the lab; however, living everyday in a country where you don’t understand the language may get boring! Author Mark Manson’s 22 entertaining tips for learning a foreign language include: learning the 100 most common words as a start, speaking as much as possible, accept you will say a lot of stupid things, and (if you’re lucky) date someone who speaks the native language!

  1. Create an international network

Funding agencies are increasingly looking for international collaboration and favour the involvement of interdisciplinary research teams; therefore it can be useful to use your time abroad to create an international network. Here is some advice “for dummies” on using your personal network successfully.


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