Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

Research institutions and funding bodies can be recognised at the European level for best practices in Human Resources through the EU’s “HR Excellence in Research” label.

This HR action is built around two elements:

  • The Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, which promote principles such as transparency, non-discrimination, and accountability and
  • The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R), which implements the Charter and Code mentioned above.

A professional and attractive working environment for researchers

The Charter and Code ensure that rights and obligations of researchers, employers and funders are respected. Therefore, they provide a framework for a safer and more professional working environment. They thus also help make the research profession a more attractive career.

The Charter and Code also enable the harmonisation of recruitment practices and working conditions all over Europe. Setting European standards of excellence in HR makes mobility easier and the European Research Area more attractive to foreign researchers.

Reaping the benefits of the HRS4R label

Organisations that have implemented theCharter and Code may use the HRS4R logo. This benefits research and funding institutions by:

  • Increasing their visibility on EURAXESS and other EU portals
  • Promoting them as centres of excellence, as they provide reliable environments in which researchers can undertake their work and get funding
  • Making their country more attractive to foreign researchers, and
  • Certifying they are in compliance with the EU’s HR principles.

Five steps to implement the Charter and Code

The implementation mechanism of the Charter and Code, the HR Strategy for Researchers, is a five-step process mobilising not only HR managers, but also management and researchers themselves.

  1. Self-assessment. The first step consists of a self-assessment of internal HR practices. You will have to evaluate how your institution’s current HR strategy performs compared to the main principles laid out in the Charter and Code. A template for this self-assessment can be found online.
  2. HR strategy. After the self-assessment, you have to provide a new, or improve your former, HR strategy in conformity with the Charter and Code. This strategy has to be published on your institution’s website and on the EURAXESS Rights web portal.
  3. Check and accreditation. The new strategy is then reviewed by the Commission, who will check if your organisation’s HR strategy is complies with the principles outlined in the Charter and Code. If it does, the Commission will acknowledge your institution and give it the HRS4R accreditation.
  4. Second self-assessment. Two years after the Commission’s review, you have to do another self-assessment in order to evaluate the progress of the new strategy’s implementation. Such self-assessments will then have to be carried out at least every two years.
  5. External assessment. Four years after the Commission’s first review, your institution has to undergo an external assessment of its HR practices, to verify if they still are in conformity with the Charter and Code. After the external assessment, the EU can decide to withdraw or not its HRS4R accreditation. These assessments will then have to be carried out at least every four years.

The HRS4R today

There are currently almost 200 institutions in 26 countries acknowledged by the Commission, and more than 500 endorsements from over 1200 entities have been made.

The University of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Institute of Health (former CRP-Santé) are two Luxembourg research organisations which have received the HRS4R accreditation. The CRP Lippmann, CRP Tudor, CEPS, STATEC and FNR all endorse the Charter and Code.