Content on this page
Current status and next steps
Since the European Commission granted the application for HR Excellence in Research on 12th May 2023, the project's implementation phase has been initiated. The Steering Group and the Working Group for the HRS4R application concluded their tasks after submitting the application in December 2022.
New groups have been appointed to oversee the implementation work. The Vice-Chancellor appointed the Steering Group, and the Steering Group, in turn, appointed an Implementation Group and a Reference Group. Currently, our focus is on organising and coordinating these groups to address the gaps and issues outlined in the Action Plan.
We are in the process of scheduling meetings for each group and committee. Many of the activities outlined in the action plan are already underway or align with other ongoing development initiatives at the University.
However, some activities are entirely new and are being introduced in conjunction with the implementation of the charter and code. A lot has happened at the university since the data gathering for the gap analysis which may necessitate adjustments to the action plan to accommodate these new conditions.
The implementation phase spans two years and will be followed by a self-assessment and a revision of the action plan, with a deadline set for 12th May 2025.
About the charter and code for researchers
The award is given to organisations that follow the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. Universities that join follow a process called the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R).
In 2005, the European Commission adopted a “European Charter for Researchers” and a “Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers” (Charter & Code). These two documents, aimed at researchers as well as research employers and funders in both the public and private sectors, are key elements in the EU’s policy to boost researchers’ careers.
The aim of the Charter & Code is to ensure that the relationship between researchers and employers is conducive to successful research performance and to researchers’ career development. The implementation of the Charter & Code principles by research institutions renders them more attractive to researchers looking for a new employer or as a host for their research project.
The European Charter & Code consists of 40 principles and four thematic areas:
- Ethical principles and professional responsibility
- Working Conditions
Benefits of the HR Excellence in Research Award
There are a range of benefits for researchers and organisations that have the Award. For example, it can add value to funding applications to demonstrate a commitment to good working conditions and career development for researchers. It can also be used to promote this commitment to researchers who might be considering moving to an institution.
HR excellence in research award
There are several reasons why University West sees a value to follow the European Charter & code:
- It shows that we support any necessary changes to our working culture.
- We will join a truly pan-European network of researchers and research organisations.
- We promise a stimulating and favourable working environment for researchers.
- We show that we care about our researchers/employees.
- We will be able to display the easily recognisable ‘HR Excellence in Research
Award logo on our website and in our recruitment documents.
By obtaining the award, researchers considering University West will have the following reasons for choosing us as an employer:
- Your rights as a professional are recognised and enhanced.
- Your mobility experience is valued.
- Your work-life balance is respected.
- Your recruitment will follow a transparent process.
- You join a truly pan-European network consisting of research organisations and researchers.
HRS4R procedure at University West
University West decided on 16 November 2021 that the university would apply to join the European Charter for Researchers and Guidelines for the Recruitment of Researchers. A Letter of Endorsement was submitted on December 13, 2021, and approved by the European Commission on December 21. The members of the steering group and its tasks were decided and approved by the Vice Chancellor on 31 January 2022.
The working group was decided and appointed by the steering group on 18 February 2022. Functions that have been represented in the working group are Human Resources, Grants and Innovation Office, and Communication and International Relations. This is to cover topics related to, but not exclusively, recruitment and working conditions as well as research and communication, both internally and externally. Between February and November 2022, the working group has, through workshops, electronic questionnaires, and dialogues, produced a gap analysis that identifies development areas within the university. The analysis has resulted in an action plan that describes how University West must work to ensure the implementation of the Charter and Code the upcoming years.
The working group regularly invited the steering committee to meetings with a clear agenda, to review documentation and make recommendations. The steering group guided the working group on complex issues. The steering group also pointed out several functions to the dialogues for production of the action plan.
On November 8, 2022, the steering group decided to recommend the Vice Chancellor to submit the application for the certification 'HR Excellence in Research' to the European Commission. The action plan and the gap analysis have been discussed with the university's management team and on 29 November the Vice Chancellor decided that the application is ready to be submitted to the European Commission.