Research and development activities are one of the main drivers for progress, economic growth and wellbeing in many societies. This article proposes a text mining approach applied to a large amount of data extracted from job vacancies advertisements, aiming to shed light on the main skills and demands that characterize first stage research positions in Europe. Results show that data handling and processing skills are essential for early career researchers, irrespective of their research field. Also, as many analyzed first stage research positions are connected to universities, they include teaching activities to a great extent. Management of time, risks, projects, and resources plays an important part in the job requirements included in the analyzed advertisements. Such information is relevant not only for early career researchers who perform job selection taking into account the match of possessed skills with the required ones, but also for educational institutions that are responsible for skills development of the future R&D professionals.
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