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The European Commission (EC) is putting an ever increasing emphasis on excellence and mobility of researchers. Yet, according to Euroscience board member Christine Heller del Riego, the proportion of mobile scientists in Europe is low. What is holding scientists back?

A long list of obstacles faces the migrant scientist, especially if children are involved. Moving from one country to another means not only finding a new place to live, but also coming to grips with different tax and healthcare systems. Maternity-leave issues might come up, and appropriate childcare might be difficult to find. Most scientists who undertake long-term moves between the old and new member states still need to go through the lengthy process of obtaining a work permit. And finally, these issues may need to be dealt with in a different language; in particular, older scientists from Eastern Europe generally don't speak English.

The EC has no...

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