Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Science policy

Europe is failing young researchers

We are young European researchers and participants in science-policy initiatives who feel strongly that the European Research Area (ERA) faces many challenges.

The absence of a fully inclusive and self-sufficient ERA still affects research institutions locally. Regional funding remains too sparse and fragmented. As well as a dearth of sustainable career opportunities, there is widespread cronyism, and many administrative and research structures are obsolete.

We need more transparency and objectivity in funding, promotions and hiring practices. Such reforms would cost relatively little and might even make some funding cuts unnecessary.

The responsibility for improvement lies not only with the European governing bodies, but also with member states and regions. These are issues on which the undersigned all agree — we are members of the COST Sci-Generation Network, the Young Academy of Europe, the Global Young Academy and EURAXESS Voice of the Researchers.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Thomas Schäfer.

Supplementary information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Schäfer, T. Europe is failing young researchers. Nature 516, 170 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing