This Saturday, the International Consortium of Research Staff Associations (ICoRSA) was launched in a session at the European Science Open Forum. ICoRSA will provide an international voice for researchers through the collaboration of national associations. Other global associations participating besides research staff associations are a highly-mobile part of the global research enterprise. ICoRSA will provide a collective voice to represent researchers in international policy. ICORSA will also support the development of national associations by facilitating communication across borders and the sharing of best practices.
The launch took the form of a short introduction representation from national research staff associations from Canada, France, Ireland, Portugal, Qatar (although the Qatar representative was held up at the border), South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States, followed by international associations the World Association of Young Scientists (WAYS), Global Young Academy (GYA), World Federation of Science Workers (WFSW), and Marie Curie Association of research fellows. There were two panel sessions to discuss what the common concerns of researchers are and to explore how we can best influence international policy.
Martin Hynes, Chief Executive, European Science Foundation (ESF) and Peter van der Hijden, Policy Officer, European Commission Directorate - General Research and Innovation were both speakers and are keen supporters.
This was followed by a closed session where the governance, vision and mission of the new consortium were established. This was encouraged by an address from Lidia Brito of UNESCO. Chris Thomson, former chair of the UKRSA was elected as vice chair.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the U.S. Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Wellcome Trust which made this session viable.