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Strategy for Researchers
DG Research and Innovation
Unit B2 - “ERA Policy and Reform”
EURAXESS Rights Team
Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)
Strategy launched in 2008, implementing C & C in a voluntary step-wise
• Internal gap analysis by institution, involving key institutional
stakeholders including researchers
• Development and publication of institutional HR strategy for
researchers and action plan in response to gaps identified
• Acknowledgement of progress by Commission
• Self-assessment of implementation after two years
• External analysis (peer review) after four years
Charter & Code
What are the key aspects of the HR Strategy
§ This mechanism is a support tool.
§ It is thus voluntary.
§ It is light to apply and flexible in its validation and
§ It recognizes the variety of situations across institutions
§ The result should be meaningful and reliable information
on the actions to implement the Charter and Code
principles, which is easily available to the public at large.
Internal gap analysis (Step 1/5)
Ø The research institution or funding organisation carries out an internal
analysis grouping all the 40 Charter & Code principles in 4 areas ('Ethical
and professional aspects', 'Recruitment', 'Working conditions & social
security' and 'Training').
Ø All institutional stakeholders should be involved (in particular the group
of researchers employed/funded)
Ø Focus on institutional practices and policies.
Ø Analyse both level of importance (how serious is the issue?)
• and groups affected (keep in mind significant minorities!)
Ø Template available for internal use – should help structure work but is not
Ø Analysis of legal framework where it could impede implementation of C&C
or already fully covers some aspects
Ø Regrouping may be useful
Action Plan and Publication (Step 2/5)
Ø Should summarize the key outcomes of gap analysis (strengths &
Ø Short explanation of approach (who was involved, how have
• stakeholders been consulted?)
Ø Action plan should be reasonably concrete with clear milestones
• – must include responsibilities (lead department/function) and target
Ø Include both short term items and longer term strategic items
Ø Establish clear links to overall institutional strategy and vision
Ø How will implementation be monitored? Setting up of Steering
Group / Monitoring Group? Internal reporting?
Ø Think about indicators!!
Ø HR Strategy document / Action Plan must be published in English on
institutional website in visible/relevant location
Application for Acknowledgement by the
Commission (Step 3/5)
Ø Creation of special page advisable (links to related institutional /
national initiatives, to C&C document, EURAXESS Rights website,
etc.) => post there regular updates / success notices /related
Ø No need to publish the full gap analysis!
Ø Inform Commission that documents have been published (provide
Ø Commission will assess compliance with process (panel of three
assessors), provide feedback and award the HR Excellence badge if
assessment positive=>Resubmission is possible
Award to be used exclusively by institutions
that have received the acknowledgement
Commission acknowledgement – why bother?
No obligation to ask for the acknowledgement, but:
• Acknowledgement provides added visibility:
Ø listing on the EURAXESS Rights website;
Ø exclusive right to use the Award on institutional website, promotional
material…. use of logo on EURAXESS Jobs;
• Acknowledgement adds credibility – internally and externally, towards
researchers, national authorities, funders etc..
• Acknowledgement means becoming part of a growing group of institutions,
many of very high international standing, adding to your institution’s status.
• Acknowledgement also means – in the context of H2020 Art 32 MGA – you are
proactive and take specific steps to address conflicts between your policies
and practices and the principles set out in the Charter and Code of Conduct.
Implementation phase and Self-assessment
Ø Based on continuous improvement (=> important role for your
internal Steering Group / Monitoring Group!)
Ø Internal and external communication crucial
Ø Regularly/at the latest 2 years after acknowledgement:
Self-assessment of progress made (=> use indicators defined in
Ø Should preferably be embedded in internal, existing Quality
Ø Update action plan (and overall approach if necessary) and publish
Ø Short notification to Commission (1 page), longer only if major
difficulties encountered or major adjustments
External assessment and renewal of
Ø At least every 4 years: preparation of a short report
Ø Demonstrate progress made towards the objectives of
HR Strategy for Researchers developed and fulfilment
of Action Plan
Ø Report evaluated by panel of external reviewers =>
now external assessment organized by Deloitte based
on peer review / site visits.
Ø Renewal or withdrawal of acknowledgement /HR
Key success factors (1/2)
Ø Firmly integrate HR Strategy process in overall institutional
strategy and vision – not a separate process!
Ø Communication with all parties involved is essential, support from
top management is indispensable.
Ø Although the process is as light as possible, it does require the
allocation of dedicated resources.
Ø Institutional cross-cutting working group could be very helpful to
get buy-in from all departments involved.
Ø Use staff survey, workshops / focus groups or similar to find out
more about the views of both junior and senior researchers.
Key success factors (2/2)
Ø You are not alone! Talk to your peers to see how they do/did it.
Ø Template and FAQs available on EURAXESS Rights – helpful to
get initial overview and understand legal / institutional constraints.
Ø Relevant umbrella organisations (Rectors Conferences etc.) can
facilitate the coordination of institutional efforts at national or
regional level (e.g. analysis of legal framework for all institutions
governed by it)
Ø Remember that small changes can have a huge impact.
“HR Strategy Group”: exploiting synergies and learning
from each other
• 300 organisations participating in 4 cohorts of the HR
• 261 'HR Excellence in Research' awarded so far.
• 95 UK institutions
CUT-OFF dates for 'HR award' requests:
1-15 November 2015
1-15 February 2016
Assessment will take place in the quarter following the cut-off period.
For more information: RTD-CHARTER@ec.europa.eu
Shaping the future of the HRS4R
[Expert workshops (17.9. – 5.11. – 15.1. – 4.3. – 5.&6.5. 17.06)]
• which elements should be strengthened and how ?
• shorter procedure with less steps ?
• earlier internationalisation (step 5)?
• implementation phases or cycles ?
• a further award (for achievements) - expiry of the award ?
• strengthened assessment throughout the different phases ?
• introduction of elements of 'quality' (achievements or process)?