1. Political context
On March 11, 2005, the European Commission adopted a Recommendation regarding the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. These are key elements in the current European policy to increase the attractiveness of research in the member states of the European Union. The Charter and the Code are intended to give individual researchers the same rights and obligations wherever they work in Europe. The adopted documents, or rather their application, are intended to contribute to the establishment of a real European labor market for researchers and to make the career of a researcher more attractive in the eyes of the younger generation.
By signing the grant agreement, each recipient of the H2020 grant undertakes to comply with Article 32, which sets out the rules for employing scientists and ensuring quality working conditions. Article 32 of the grant agreement obliges the beneficiaries to comply with the principles of the European Charter for researchers and the Code of Rules for their employment (hereinafter the Charter and the Code). Above all, it emphasizes working conditions, transparent recruitment based on qualifications and experience, and creating a favorable environment for career development.
In order to formalize Article 32, the European Commission created a strategy for human resources in research. An institution that decides to implement a strategy must first analyze the shortcomings in its functioning. A gap analysis should help to realistically evaluate what changes can be made, also taking into account the relevant national legislation. Based on the analysis, an action plan should be drawn up, but it should be the subject of a deeper and continuous discussion at all levels of the institution. Specific goals and suggestions for improving conditions are individual, it mainly depends on the internal organization, on the activity and ability of the assigned team, and of course on the will and number of employees involved.
The HR Strategy for Researchers supports research institutions and organizations in implementing the Charter and Code in their policies and procedures. The European Commission will award the "HR Excellence in Research Award (HRS4R)" to institutions that successfully initiate the process of implementing the principles of the Charter and the Code into their human resources policies. The action plan for implementation must be based on a GAP analysis addressing the differences between the current and desired state in view of the principles of the Charter and the Code.
2. What are the Charter and the Code?
European Charter for Researchers: a set of general principles and conditions that define the roles, responsibilities, and rights of researchers, employers, and research funding organizations.
Code of conduct for the recruitment of researchers: a set of general principles and conditions that employers should follow in the open, transparent, and merit-based recruitment of researchers.
3. Expectations and goals
The aim of the implementation of the principles of the Charter and the Code is to ensure that the nature of the relationship between researchers and employers contributes to successful work in the creation, transfer, sharing, and dissemination of knowledge and technological development and to the development of the careers of researchers, as well as the creation of a single labor market for researchers within the European Research space and increasing the attractiveness of European research institutions for researchers by creating conditions for a more sustainable and attractive career in research and development.
On the other hand, it will not only increase the attractiveness of the institution for researchers who are looking for a new employer, but it will also increase the chances of being part of project consortia. The European Commission also announced that the HRS4R award will probably be a condition for applying for H2020 projects in the future, especially in the part related to MSCA.
The Charter and the Code are the contributions of the European Commission in the form of a recommendation to the goal of increasing the attractiveness of a researcher's career and increasing the number of women in research. The Charter and the Code are addressed to member states, employers, funding organizations, and researchers themselves. They apply to all areas of research in the public and private sectors, regardless of the nature of the contractual employment relationship, legal status, or type of organization. They talk about the roles, responsibilities, and rights of researchers and their employers or organizations funding research. They want to ensure that the relationship between them contributes to the successful creation, transfer, and sharing of knowledge and career development. The Charter and Code are intended to improve recruitment, aim to make selection processes more transparent, and propose various qualitative and quantitative criteria for judging researchers, focusing on excellence across a diverse career path. Not only the number of the researcher's publications is decisive, but also learning, supervision, teamwork, knowledge transfer, research and innovation management, involvement in mobilities and international cooperation, and activities related to public awareness of research within the broader framework of evaluation criteria.
The implementation will enable:
to open SPU more to foreign workers - by translating the necessary regulations, documents, and forms into the English language by improving the English communication skills of technical and administrative staff;
unify and formalize certain procedures - submission, and investigation of suggestions regarding ethical issues, processing of suggestions, complaints, appeals, data backup, data storage and sharing, evaluation of researchers, recruitment and selection of researchers, preparation of necessary internal regulations (e.g. in the field of ethical issues, intellectual property rights, etc.) support career development and counseling and continuous education – preparation and publication of career plans, career development strategies, career counseling, and mentoring schemes, management training;
make the necessary documents available to (new) employees and increase the awareness of workers - preparation of a bilingual welcome information package, training of scientists in the field of ethical issues, in the field of intellectual property rights;
align the processes of recruitment and committee of researchers with the principles of open, transparent, and fair recruitment (Open, Transparent, and Merit-Based Recruitment, OTM-R) - by developing the OTM-R policy, preparing the necessary templates, manuals, documents, training relevant persons, using different forms of recruitment;
to analyze the possibilities of improving working conditions for researchers with special emphasis on selected groups – possibilities of improving salary conditions, relaxation of public procurement conditions, reconciliation of family and career, access of disabled researchers, and the status of doctoral students and post-doctoral students.
4. Charter principles
A. Research staff
Freedom of research ◦ Ethical principles ◦ Professional responsibility ◦ Professional attitude ◦ Contractual and legal obligations ◦ Accountability ◦ Good research practice ◦ Dissemination and use of results ◦ Public involvement ◦ Relationship with research project leaders ◦ Responsibilities related to control and management ◦ Continuous professional development
Recognized professions ◦ Non-discrimination ◦ Research environment ◦ Working conditions ◦ Job stability and permanence ◦ Funding and salaries ◦ Gender balance ◦ Career development ◦ Value of mobility ◦ Access to research training and continuous development ◦ Access to career guidance ◦ Intellectual property rights ◦ Co-authorship ◦ Supervision (leadership) ◦ Teaching ◦ Evaluation/appreciation systems ◦ Complaints/appeals ◦ Participation in decision-making bodies ◦ Recruitment
5. Code Terms
Recruitment ◦ Selection ◦ Transparency ◦ Changes in the chronological order of CVs ◦ Recognition of mobility experience ◦ Recognition of qualifications ◦ Seniority ◦ Appointment after completion of doctoral studies (Postdoctoral positions)