Click here for free access to our latest coronavirus/COVID-19 research, commentary, and news.

Support nonprofit science journalism

Science’s extensive COVID-19 coverage is free to all readers. To support our nonprofit science journalism, please make a tax-deductible gift today.

Organising the Next Generation: Young European Scientists Come Together


As a researcher in Europe you must have noticed that more scientific noses point to Brussels, instead of Paris, London, or Berlin, than did some years ago. This tendency becomes apparent not only in the increasing amount of research that is funded by the European Commission but also in the setup of bi- and multilateral collaborations, the stimulation of international exchange of scientists, and the creation of European networks. And creating "old boys' networks" is no longer something only established scientists do; young European scientists set up their own European networks, with the aim of having a voice in the scientific world, helping each other out, and developing contacts for the future.

Next Wave Netherlands' editor Terry Vrijenhoek has made a profile of the most important European networks for young scientists. If you know of a network that should be added, please send an e-mail to the editor with the name and URL of the missing network.

Europe's Young Voice

The networks mentioned in this paragraph work in close collaboration with one another and show some overlap with respect to aims and activities. In 2002 the four of them agreed to join forces and set up the Joint Working Group on Young Scientists. So far this initiative has conducted a survey, set up a discussion forum, and organised the "Science and Technology Based Professions in Europe" ( 2002) and "Early Stage Researcher Mobility in Europe: Meeting the Challenges and Promoting Best Practice" ( 2004) conferences.


The Eurodoc Exchange series has already shown that Eurodoc--the "council for postgraduate students and junior researchers in Europe"--is widespread throughout the European Union. Eurodoc is a collection of national (Ph.D.) students' unions that aims to provide a platform for young European researchers and represent them in political and administrative discussions. One of the subjects Eurodoc is currently focusing on is the recognition of Ph.D. candidates as employees, not as students. The network has strong ties with the European Commission and increasingly receives invitations to represent young scientists at conferences and in discussions and reports.


Founded 2002

Member countries 17

Workgroups 7 (International Mobility, PhD Supervision and Training, Gender Equality, Professional Future, Labour Conditions, Communication & Web, Funding)

Registration For individuals: Subscribe to one of the workgroups or complete the questionnaire. For national students' unions: Complete the questionnaire.

Registration fee None

More information and questions

Marie Curie Fellowship Association

The Marie Curie Fellowship Association (MCFA) brings together scientists who have been awarded a mobility research training grant by the European Community. Among its aims are providing help in advancing science in Europe, promoting collaboration among MC fellows, creating contacts among MC fellows and the rest of the research community, and increasing public understanding of science. (See a previous article on the MCFA.) The MCFA co-organises workshops to acquaint young researchers with association goals. MCFA members can participate in discussions within the European Research Area. By joining one of their mailing lists you stay up-to-date on their events.


Founded 1996

Members 29 countries 338 full members, 2719 affiliates

National Groups 26

Committees 7 (Information Technology Issues, National Groups, MCFA Newsletter, MCFA Science Policy Working Panel, MCFA Annals, Young Scientists Working Group, European Researcher's Mobility Portal)

Registration For (ex-)MC fellows only, upon provision of contract or confirmation of supervisor

Fee €40.- per year (€20.- in special cases)

More information and questions Contact


EuroScience--"the Voice of Science in Europe"--is an organisation that covers much more than merely young scientists. EuroScience mainly focuses on issues related to science and society, and so does its affiliated group, Working Group: Young Scientists. This workgroup has been involved in the organisation of a number of events, including its most important activity, the EuroScience Open Forum 2004, which attracted 1800 participants from 35 countries and contained a 3-day career programme.


Founded 1997

Member countries 40

Workgroups 8 (Ethics in Science, Industrial Science & Technology, Integration and Collaboration in European Science, Public Awareness of Science, Science Policy, Science and Urgent Problems of Society, Technology Transfer, Young Scientists)

Registration Complete the questionnaire.

Fee Individual members: €40.- per year (€20.- in special cases)

More information and questions


The Postgraduates' International Network (p-net) was set up to stimulate communication and collaboration among international postgraduate students. Even though their Web site is not regularly updated, they're still active in the field, being co-organiser of several European events for young researchers. p-net shows a lot of overlap with Eurodoc with respect to aims and activities. Some of young scientists have even subscribed to both networks.


Founded 1997

Member countries 8

Working Groups 4 (Constitution, Funding, Membership Expansion, Web Page and Public Relations)

Registration At your national students' associations

Fee None

More information and questions


The National Unions of Students in Europe ( ESIB) focuses on M.Sc. students, not on Ph.D. students or postdocs. ESIB works on a political level, representing and promoting European students' educational, social, economic, and cultural interests. Apart from local meetings and seminars, the members of ESIB organise joint European events, including seminars, training sessions, and even summer camps.


Founded 1982 (then named West European Student Information Bureau. It was changed to National Unions of Students in Europe in 1993.)

Members 33 countries 44 national students' unions 10 million students

Committees and Working Groups 4 Committees ( Bologna Process, Commodification of Education, Strategic Development, Internal Audit) 5 Working Groups (Education, Mobility, International, Social Affairs, Equality)

Registration Subscribe to the respective national union.

Fee None

More information and questions


Young European Biotech Network

The Young European Biotech Network (YEBN) has been set up as an associated section of the European Federation of Biotechnology (EFB) to bring together young European biotechnology scientists. Most of the current members are B.Sc., M.Sc., or Ph.D. students, but any young scientist with an interest in biotechnology--even with different backgrounds, as mentioned on the Web site--is invited to join. The most interesting features of the network are its projects on bioremediation, public communication, and job matching.


Founded 2002

Member countries 9

Teams 9 country boards 1 'Project0', which is the central pool of all active members 4 project teams ( bioremediation, public communication, public relations, and job matching)

Registration Complete the registration form. If you register as a member of YEBN, you become an EFB member at the same time.

Fee None

More information and questions Contact



The working field of Neurex is limited to universities in the Upper Rhine Valley, one of the most important scientific regions in Europe. Neurex is a trinational (Germany, France, and Switzerland) network that mainly aims to provide a common education system (ELTEM) and stimulate exchange between researchers and students. Neurex regularly organises meetings between researchers and provides Ph.D. fellowships, job announcements, and a CV database.


Founded 2002

Member countries 3

Actions 4

Registration Researchers and students at one of the member universities can register for meetings, workshops, and training days organised by Neurex as well as exchange grants.

More information and questions E-mail

Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Finance


Gate2Growth is an initiative that has been set up with support of the European Commission to support innovative European entrepreneurs. The Gate2Growth Academic Network in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Finance (EIF) works toward an integration of research in these areas and an increasing exchange and mobility of EIF scientists. On their Web site, Gate2Growth gives 10 reasons to become a member, appealing to the mobility and training of young researchers. As a member of the network you can use the Toolbox for entrepreneurs, stay up-to-date with network activities, and have access to a searchable scientists' database.


Registration Register at the Web site and apply for a membership by clicking on the "Finance Academia" button and following the instructions.

Fee Individuals: €150.- per year Institutions: up to €500.- per year, depending on the number of affiliates to subscribe

More information and questions Contact

Terry Vrijenhoek is Next Wave's Netherlands editor and may be reached at