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Pan-European pension fund for scientists leaves the station

July 27, 2016

MANCHESTER, U.K. — Old age may not be something European scientists think about as they hop around the continent in search of exciting Ph.D. opportunities, broader postdoctoral experience, or attractive faculty positions. But once they approach retirement age, many realize that working in countries as diverse as Estonia, Spain, or Germany can be detrimental to one’s nest egg.

But now, there is a potential solution: a pan-European pension fund for researchers, called RESAVER, that was set up by a consortium of employers to stimulate researcher mobility. The fund was officially created on 14 July under Belgian law as a Brussels-based organization. Three founding members—the Central European University in Budapest; Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste in Basovizza, Italy; and the Central European Research Infrastructure Consortium headquartered in Trieste, Italy—will soon start making their first contributions. Researchers can also contribute part of their own salary to the fund.

“We have a solution” to preserve the pension benefits of mobile researchers, Paul Jankowitsch, who is the former chair of the RESAVER consortium and now oversees membership and promotion, said earlier this week here at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF). “The excuse [for institutions] to do nothing is gone.”

The European Commission has contributed €4 million to the set-up costs of RESAVER, as part of its funding program Horizon 2020. At least in principle, the fund is open to the entire European Economic Area, which includes all 28 E.U. member states except Croatia, as well as Norway, Lichtenstein, and Iceland.

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