As the European trade union federation of teachers, researchers and educational staff, ETUCE not only promotes and defends the rights and status of the teaching profession but also advocates for quality education for all.

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ETUCE plays a special role in the adoption of the EU research policy initiatives, the implementation of the European Research Area Framework, and the adoption of the Horizon 2020 programme and we monitor the work of the European Institute of Technology.

From ETUCE perspective research is to improve democracy in Europe, to develop critical analysis of society, to prepare for the future, and to challenge global problems. Research should contribute to improving European citizenship, especially at a time of economic and financial crisis.

ETUCE, via Education International, has been involved in the process of elaboration of the European Charter of researchers and a Code of conduct for the recruitment of researchers.


ETUCE member organisations organise researchers in:

  • public education sector;
  • private higher education institutions;
  • private educational research institutes;
  • in other public sectors than education;
  • in other private sectors than education.

Since 2014, the European Commission DG Research involves ETUCE and EFEE in discussions on the Retirement Savings Vehicle for European Research Institutions (RESAVER) project.

Since January 2013, ETUCE has been a member of the Institutional Human Resources Strategy Group of the European Commission on the implementation of the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R). The "HR Strategy for Researchers" supports research institutions and funding organisations in the implementation of the Charter & Code in their policies and practices.

European-level Social dialogue on researchers

European Sectoral Social Dialogue for Education between ETUCE and EFEE covers the research sector.

In 2015, EFEE and ETUCE adopted a Joint Declaration of EFEE/ETUCE on "Supporting early career researchers in Higher Education in Europe" in the framework of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue for Education. The European Social Partners in education, EFEE (European Federation of Education Employers) and the ETUCE (European Trade Union Committee on Education), have worked jointly during the years 2013- 2014 on the project "Supporting early career researchers in Higher Education in Europe and the role of employers' organisations and trade unions". This work is supported by the European Commission through the Social Dialogue and Industrial Relations budget line (EU DGV Project VS/2013/0399).

The Joint Declaration underlines that EFEE and ETUCE are committed to improve the quality of education and research in Europe and as such are keen to make an active contribution to the European Research Area.  The aim of this declaration is threefold, as the European Social Partners in education wish:

  • To improve understanding about the specific challenges facing early career researchers in Europe incorporating the perspectives and roles of trade unions and employers and the potential options for responding to these challenges.
  • To contribute to the European social dialogue between employers' organisations and trade unions in the education sector, more specifically to continue the current work of the Working Group 3 on Higher Education & Research and to improve the coordination, functioning and effectiveness of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue for Education.
  • To inform and involve the European institutions as well as other interested stakeholders on their shared point of view on the topic of early career researchers.


In 2014, ETUCE Conference of Vienna adopted a  Policy paper on Early Stage Researchers/ Doctoral candidates. The paper lists up the needs of researchers at the initial phase of their careers, for example to doctorate candidates or early stage researchers, and provides recommendations to ETUCE member organisations to be able to face these challenges.

In 2013, ETUCE Committee adopted Recommendations on organising researchers, which highlighted the challenges researchers in Europe face when their working rights are at stake. It also provide a list of recommendations to ETUCE member organisations to enhance their capacity of work on researchers' issues.

In 2012, the Working Group Higher Education and Research (HE&R) of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education focused on three areas: gender equality; the environment for early career researchers; and the mobility of academic staff within Europe. National social partners of both employers and trade unions had selected these subjects during previous working group sessions in 2011. In 2012, these members of the Working Group shared national, mainly institutional, examples of practice and policy on these topics.

Fighting the Crisis an Essential Contribution of Higher Education and Research (2012) was adopted by the ETUCE Conference, the Regional Conference of Education International, in Budapest on 26-28 November 2012. The current massive reduction in investments in basic and humanities and social sciences research is likely to undermine in the long run also the development of applied research. Support for fundamental or basic research and for those disciplines that generate no immediate economic advantage but which develop knowledge or enhance the quality of life for the citizens must be given ample scope. Research must be developed to challenge the present economic needs; this is one important part of the research missions, but not the only one.

ETUCE Statement on Horizon 2020 - The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2012)  underlines that research and science are of significance in solving different problems at various levels of society and it should not be limited to solving only the recent economic problems. ETUCE agrees with the objective of Horizon2020, which is intended to support better the researchers' careers and mobility and to make the research profession more attractive.

More information
ETUCE Circular 3/2012: Horizon 2020
ETUCE Circular 3/2011: Changes in the EU research policy about the establishment of the EU research policy and Horizon 2020 Programme.