Institutional fellowships to attract/retain international talent

One of the most frequent obstacles is the lack of human resources to participate in different types of research projects in the country. Attracting and retaining highly skilled researchers may help to bring new expertise and skills and also to create and maintain research and business relationships. Promoting international mobility of researchers is for the host institution and inevitable part of maintaining them later in the country which may result in overcoming labour shortages and boosting entrepreneurship in knowledge-based sectors in the host country.


Increased enrollment and retention

Basic information

Categories Profesional & Academic Development
Mobility stages Institutional setup
Delivery schedule Continuous
Importance Essential to have
Scale of organizational change
Target groups R2 - R4 researchers Lecturers (incl. Language Teachers)
Types of contracts of researchers Visiting scholar Employee in training (interns, research fellows, postdocs)
Career stages of researchers 3-10 years of experience 10-15 years of experience More than 15 years of experience
Lengths of stays of researchers 3-6 months 6-12 months More than 12 months

Practice setup

As a starting point, it should be remembered that the overall attractiveness of a national public research system is crucially determined by the level of excellence and quality of research activities, infrastructure and working conditions for researchers (including career paths, degree of research freedom, access to funding, social security provisions, pension rights, etc.). Mobility schemes are intended in the long-run to enhance this overall attractiveness, but their chances of success are greatly dependent on existing levels of attractiveness. Thus, the primary goal for governments willing to raise the level of researcher mobility is to act upon the system as a whole to reinforce its effectiveness and attractiveness

When thinking about retaining the foreign talents you should consider the following factors:

  • institutional support - healthy work enviroment is a motivational factor for every researcher. Consider the work environment at your institution. Are teambuiding activities taking part at your department on a regular base? Are the employees supportive and open to help?

  • grants / funding - does your institution have grants aimed at retaining the foreign researchers? 

However, it is important to highlight, that obtaining money for research is determined, above all, by the way in which governments go about retaining their own scientists and attracting researchers from abroad. 

Cost of practice setup
Time required for practice setup
Personnel effort required for practice setup
Actors involved in practice setup
  • IRO/welcome centre
  • Doctoral school
  • Rector's office / Vice-Rector for International Affairs
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice setup
  • User procedure and manual designed
  • Relevant documents/forms prepared
  • Institutional grant scheme set up
Description of collaboration

Practice delivery

When retaining the foreign talents, get inspired by the following advices:

  • Promotion. Promote your institution as an attractive workplace & inform the foreign researchers before their departure about the possibility of staying at your institution. 

  • Create the perfect working conditions for foreign researchers - once you generate an international environment, it will become easier to attract scientists from abroad. Think about details. Do the international researchers feel welcome at your institution? How is your language policy? Do you communicate them all information in english (or other relevant language)? Do you provide them bilingual materials and documents? Do you offer them language courses? Think about the ways which will help them to feel included in the whole process of their mobility.

  • Money - one of the most important motivational factor for staying starts with money. Is the amount of salary for potential researchers attractive for them?

  • Starting grant scheme - Does your instution provide starting grant scheme for researchers? If yes, please, inform them about salary possibilities in case they decide to stay at your institution. This may be an attractive opportunity for scientists to set up a research group with substantial funding, and with the security of a tenure-track path, meaning potential for a permanent position afterwards.

  • Migration policy. - Is migration policy in your country aimed at providing good conditions to attract highly qualified migrants (=researchers) in order to adress skills shortages in the national economy and reinforce the human resources side of the national research and innovation system? Are there any administrative burdens when researchers decide to prolong their stay at your institution?


Cost of practice delivery
Time required for practice delivery
Personnel effort required for practice delivery
Actors involved in practice delivery
  • HR Department
  • Research office
  • Science park
  • Rector's office / Vice-Rector for International Affairs
Partners involved in practice delivery
  • Embassy
  • Immigration office
  • IOM migration information centre
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Indicators for evaluating progress/quality of practice delivery
  • Number of researchers affected
  • Number of trainees
Description of collaboration

Examples of practice

Summer courses as a good example

University of Copenhagen - summer courses as a recruitment tool; university offers summer courses for international researchers, the courses are important for inspiring researchers to engage with a given field of research, this university has teamed up with pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk to set up the Novo Nordisk International Talent Program, a scholarship programme supporting student mobility between UCPH and partner universities in the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), as well as Harvard University.


MoRePro - Mobility and reintegration Programme of the SAS

MoRePro Programme is a mobility and reintegration programme of the Slovak Academy of Sciences that intends to attract top domestic and foreign scientists to the SAS institutes. On the one hand, there is an effort to provide them with adequate and motivating conditions for their scientific work, on the other hand, these scientists are expected to improve the research environment and scientific outputs. The SAS is thus seeking to attract future leaders to competitively develop research topics in an international context.

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