Mika Launikari


PhD research

My PhD research deals with International Mobility Capital (IMC) as a professional and educational resource – Views of European Union experts on career development, learning and employability (2014-2017). Professor Fred Dervin, who is in charge of multicultural education at the University of Helsinki, is supervising my PhD research.


Across the European Union, investments in developing human capital, fostering educational attainment, promoting labour mobility across countries and reducing skills mismatches are considered necessary for economic competitiveness in the global market. The competitive advantage that can be created through international labour force mobility relies on the employers’ ability to capitalise on the positive contribution that talented people from diverse cultural backgrounds together can make in working life.

Although career mobility across Europe “in the spirit of free movement of people” is regarded as a tool for continued professional development, lifelong learning and acquisition of new competences, it still remains modest within the EU28 area. Only some 8.1 million economically active EU citizens lived in another EU country than their country of citizenship in 2013, which corresponds to 3.3% of the total EU labour force. By 2015 the share had reached almost 4 %, i.e. around 9.8 million citizens.


Making visible an individual’s International Mobility Capital, accrued through exposure to studying, training and working abroad, is vital for the mobile person as to present it as an integral element and valuable resource in his/her portfolio to (future/potential) employers. Thus, this PhD research aims at finding out, on the one hand, what are the dimensions of International Mobility Capital and, on the other hand, analysing what are the benefits and assets that career mobility generates to experts who work for European Union agencies. The specific research question is how International Mobility Capital can be defined, conceptualized and understood based on the narrative biographies of around 20 staff members of the following European Union agencies: Cedefop (Greece), Eurofound (Ireland) and European Training Foundation (Italy).

Expected results

This PhD research will contribute to improving the dialogue between education-training, world of work and academic research, and to achieving a better convergence of common goals and mutually beneficial collective action at local, regional, national and European/international levels across the fields of lifelong learning, employment and international mobility. The main outcomes of this research will be a theoretical framework for International Mobility Capital and recommendations on how an individual’s International Mobility Capital can be made transparent in the EU labour market.

The results are expected to generate a valuable input to future academic research in the field and to contribute to the further development, formulation and implementation of European Union policies for international mobility for studying, training and working. This applies to the individual European Union member states and their national education and employment authorities, research bodies and other key players (e.g. social partners, higher education institutions).