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#########################EUROPEAN COMMISSIONDIRECTORATE-GENERAL FOR RESEARCH &
INNOVATION Directorate B - European Research AreaB.2 - Skills ##INFORMATION NOTE
May 2013Enhancing HR strategies for
researchers: the European strategyIntroductionThis information note summarizes
the policy background to the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)
and introduces the action as outlined in the Commission Communication# on the
ERA Framework of July 2012 setting up of a European Accreditation Mechanism for
Charter & Code based human resources management in universities and publiclyfunded research institutions. The aim is to enable key stakeholders to provide
timely input to the recently launched feasibility study on an accreditation
mechanism. This study is being run on behalf of the Commission by the
Technopolis Group and will report by the end of 2013. The conclusions of this
study will form the basis for the establishment of an
accreditation/certification mechanism with the objective of further encouraging
and incentivising the take-up of the ERA principles related to HR management.
BackgroundCharter & CodeIn March 2005 the European Commission adopted its
"Recommendation on the European Charter for Researchers and a Code of Conduct
for the Recruitment of Researchers"# as one of the activities announced in the
"Career Communication"#, which had analysed different aspects characterising the
profession of researchers and had defined the various factors conditioning such
careers at European level. The Communication had identified these as being "the
role and nature of research training, the differences in recruitment methods,
the contractual and budgetary dimension, and, finally, the evaluation mechanisms
and the progress perspectives within the career". The European Charter for
Researchers addresses the roles, responsibilities and entitlements of
researchers, their employers and their funders. It aims at ensuring that the
relationship between these parties contributes to successful performance in the
generation, transfer and sharing of knowledge, and to the career development of
researchers. The Charter stresses the fact that researchers are professionals,
including those at the very early stages of their research career, such as
doctoral candidates. The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers aims
to improve recruitment, to make selection procedures fairer and more transparent
and proposes appropriate means of judging merit, which should not be based just
on traditional academic criteria, e.g. the number of publications, but on a
wider range of evaluation criteria, including teaching, supervision, patents,
spin-offs, other teamwork, knowledge transfer, research management and public
awareness activities. All fields of research are covered in both public and
private sectors, irrespective of the nature of the appointment or employment,
the legal status of the employer or the type of organisation or establishment in
which the work is carried out.The Recommendation on the Charter & Code, which
was the fruit of a broad consultation process among stakeholders throughout
Europe, is a key element in the EUs policy to make research an attractive
career and improve employment and working conditions for researchers. As such,
it is a vital feature of EU strategy to stimulate employment and economic
growth. The adoption of the Recommendation was followed by a broad range of
activities focusing on the implementation of the principles underlying the
Charter & Code, including dedicated EU Presidency Conferences in London (2005)
and Vienna (2006), and, in a broader context, the Presidency Conferences on
Researchers and Mobility in Rennes (2008), Brussels (2010), Budapest (2011) and
Dublin (2012).Endorsement by the Competitiveness Council and by stakeholders The
Competitiveness Council in its conclusions of 18 April 2005# welcomed the
Recommendation, stressing that it provides Member States "with an instrument to
undertake, on a voluntary basis, further initiatives for the improvement and
consolidation of researchers' career prospects in Europe and for the creation of
an open labour market for researchers". It invited Member States to "take into
account as appropriate, in accordance with their judicial system, the principles
laid down in the Charter and the Code when formulating their Human Resources and

Mobility strategies and funding programmes, such as institutional quality


assurance mechanisms, funding criteria as well as auditing, monitoring and
evaluation processes" and to "raise awareness of the Charter and the Code within
their own country, on a voluntary basis, engage actively with employers, funding
organisations and researchers and other relevant parties on their application
and where appropriate put in place monitoring mechanisms to accompany the
different measures".A large number of research institutions, research funders,
researcher associations and other multipliers have expressed their explicit
support to the Charter & Code principles by sending endorsement letters to the
European Commission. By now the Commission has received some 475 individual
endorsements. Taking into account the fact that many of these came from umbrella
organisations such as national Rectors' Conferences, they represent the support
by some 1200 organisations from 37 Member States and countries associated to the
Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). Expert group recommendations The
European Commissions Green Paper on "The European Research Area: New
Perspectives" published in April 2007 launched a broad debate. One of the
questions raised in this document was that of realising a single labour market
for researchers, followed in March 2008 with recommendations# by the Expert
group that had been set up for this purpose. Amongst others, the Expert group
recommended that "any organisation in receipt of public funds for research which
signed the Charter & Code" should be required "to promote knowledge and
awareness of C&C" and "to define and advertise a Human Resources Mission
Statement, in line with the C&C spirit, focusing on the recruitment, career
development and retirement procedures of their respective researchers". In
particular, the Expert group also recommended the design and promotion of an
"ERA Researchers Human Resources Label".European Partnership for Researchers
(EPR)Taking into account many of the recommendations of the Expert group, the
Commission communication on a "European partnership for researchers"# put
forward a partnership between the stakeholders of the labour market of
researchers in four key areas of action, and proposed to:systematically publish
vacant research positions, ensure open, transparent, competition-based
recruitment of researchers and facilitate the portability of individual grants;
improve work and employment conditions (for instance, by improving contractual
terms and conditions, compensation and career opportunities) to make scientific
careers more attractive;meet the needs of mobile researchers with regard to
social security and supplementary pension schemes;make it possible for
researchers to acquire the skills needed to transform knowledge into concrete
results, especially by strengthening the links between the university and the
corporate world.The Communication also stressed that "coordinated action in
these areas, alongside renewed efforts on existing initiatives such as
increasing the take-up of the principles of the Charter and Code, would provide
better job opportunities and more rewarding careers for researchers and allow
greater movement between institutions, between the public and private sectors
and across borders".Human Resources Strategy for Researchers incorporating the
Charter & CodeThe Council Conclusions on the European Partnership for
Researchers of 26 September 2008# invited Member States "to continue and step up
efforts to encourage the effective implementation, on a voluntary basis, of the
European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of
Researchers". In order to support Member States' actions in this field, the
Commission in 2008 launched the initiative "Human Resources Strategy for
Researchers incorporating the Charter & Code"#. It provides support to employers
and funders of researchers in the practical implementation of the Charter & Code
principles, providing guidance in the effective integration of these principles
in their HR policies and practices, and more generally in their institutional
strategies.The HR Strategy for Researchers is implemented through the following
five-step approach:an internal analysis in order to assess in how far the
organisation already operates in alignment with the Charter & Code principles;
the publication of an institutional HR Strategy and Action Plan addressing the
most important gaps identified, through concrete actions; the award of the "HR
Excellence in Research" logo by the European Commission, provided that certain
requirements are fulfilled; a self-assessment of the implementation of the
Action Plan after two years; an external evaluation after four years which
could lead either to the renewal or the withdrawal of the right to use the logo.
So far (May 2013) 135 organisations have received the "HR Excellence in

Research" logo#. Through the Institutional HR Strategy Group (bringing


together more than 230 research employers and funders
from all over Europe) the Commission supports mutual learning and the exchange
of experiences between institutions engaged in the HR Strategy process. The HR
Strategy for Researchers is based on institutional self-assessment and
commitment to continuous improvement. Participating institutions earn the right
to use the HR Excellence in Research logo by carrying out an internal analysis
and then drawing up an action plan in response to the result of that analysis.
The logo thus provides recognition of the organisations commitment to HR
excellence, but it is not a (quality) label as such.Innovation UnionFollowing
the adoption of the Commission's "Europe 2020 Strategy"# with its seven flagship
initiatives for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the Innovation Union
Communication# put forward more than 30 action points to improve framework
conditions and access to finance for research and innovation so as to ensure
that innovative ideas can be turned into products and services that create
growth and jobs. A number of these so-called commitments addressed topics
related to researchers, the conditions under which they perform their research
and the attractiveness of Europe for researchers to develop their careers. In
particular, Innovation Union Commitment #4 announced that in 2012 the Commission
would "propose a European Research Area framework and supporting measures to
remove obstacles to mobility and cross-border co-operation, aiming for them to
be in force by end 2014", addressing in particular the areas of quality of
doctoral training, attractive employment conditions and gender balance in
research careers; mobility of researchers across countries and sectors,
including through open recruitment in public research institutions and
comparable research career structures and by facilitating the creation of
European supplementary pension funds; cross-border operation of research
performing organisations, funding agencies and foundations, including by
ensuring simplicity and mutual coherence of funding rules and procedures,
building on the work of stakeholders, funding agencies and their representative
organisations; dissemination, transfer and use of research results, including
through open access to publications and data from publicly funded research.
European Research Area FrameworkFollowing European Council Conclusions# of 4th
February 2011, the Commission Communication# on the ERA Framework of July 2012
makes concrete proposals on these topics and is accompanied by Memoranda of
Understanding with major stakeholder organisations representing universities,
research organisations and research funders. The Communication provides strong
support to the Charter & Code and the HR Strategy for Researchers. Among others,
research stakeholder organisations are invited to advertise all vacancies on the
EURAXESS Jobs portal using the common profiles established in the European
Framework for Research Careers and to fill research positions according to open,
transparent and merit based recruitment procedures proportionate to the level of
the position in line with the basic principles of the Charter & Code, including
for non-EU nationals. They are further invited to develop strategies to support
the career development of researchers in line with the HR Strategy for
Researchers, provide structured doctoral training based on the Principles for
Innovative Doctoral Training#, and to define and implement principles for
accessibility to and portability of national grants. Member States are invited
to support the setting up and running of structured innovative doctoral training
programmes applying the Principles for Innovative Doctoral Training and to
create an enabling framework# for the implementation of the HR Strategy for
Researchers incorporating the Charter & Code. The ERA Communication also states
that the Commission will "support the setting up of a European Accreditation
Mechanism for Charter & Code-based human resources management in universities
and publicly-funded research institutions". In the Memoranda of Understanding,
stakeholder organisations commit to encouraging their member organisations to
promote the "HR Excellence in Research" logo and engage in the development of HR
Strategies for Researchers at institutional level. Feasibility StudyDevelopment
of a certification mechanism for genuinely good HR management in the public
research sector in Europe The Commission considers it important to complement
the existing Human Resources Strategy for Researchers, which focuses on the
improvement process within participating organisations rather than the objective
measurement of the outcome of the institutional efforts, by a mechanism that
allows the assessment of the actual quality of the Human Resources management

structures in place. Institutions that have successfully participated in the


Human Resources Strategy for Researchers initiative should be well placed to
obtain the quality label that will be awarded through the new certification
mechanism.The Commission is therefore investigating different options for
setting up a transparent, internationally recognised certification mechanism for
good human resources management, based on a set of clearly defined and broadly
applicable assessment criteria linked to the key principles of the Charter &
Code. It has therefore launched a feasibility study. Annex 1 contains more
detail for the timing of this study.Objectives of the studyThe specific
objectives of this study are the following:1) To develop a certification process
for good human resources management in the public research sector, including the
clarification of the concept of "good human resources management", the
identification of suitable assessment criteria and data to be used, a
methodology for the necessary data collection and analysis and the
identification of possible synergies with other relevant certification
processes.
2) To design architecture for the body/group of bodies that will
carry out the certification, including questions related to the accreditation of
the certification body/bodies, and to carry out a cost-benefit analysis.3) To
develop scenarios for the practical setting up of the certification structure
and the associated accreditation mechanism. 4) To assess the feasibility of the
initiative taking into account the existing national legislative frameworks and
to point out (potential) synergies with on-going EU and national policy
initiatives.Next StepsGenuinely 'Good HR Management'The first task for the study
will be to fully define the concept of good human resources management, taking
into account the four dimensions of the Charter and Code (ethical and
professional aspects, recruitment, working conditions and social security,
training). Good HR management must be defined not only for public researcher
performers (HEIs and RIs) but also for research funding organisations (RFOs)
whose rules and activities impact or influence HR practices within organisations
that employ researchers.The study will seek input from key stakeholders from
across Europe in order to design an accreditation/certification mechanism which
can operate under existing national legislation.Certification StructureIt will
be necessary to identify, describe and assess different options for the
architecture of the certification structure. Five possible options will be
considered:A newly created European Certification Body operating in a
centralised way (CB)A formal consortium of newly created CBs at
national/regional levelA formal consortium of existing CBs at national/regional
levelExisting CBs working independently, but according to common rules and
guidelinesA combination of the above approaches, or alternative approach(es)
Accreditation of the certification body / bodiesThe identification and
assessment of suitable approaches (including assessment criteria) for the
accreditation of certification bodies by the Commission or another supranational body will be studied. This part of the study will be carried out with
a view to ensuring international recognition of the overall certification
process. Experiences with accreditation mechanisms in other EU policy areas
should be exploited, where possible. Scenarios for setting up the certification
structureThe implementation scenarios will need to be developed during the study
based on identified practicable ways forward. At this stage two different types
of launch strategies have been conceived: Single step approach. Here the
certification mechanism would be launched in a single step for all three types
of organisations (HEIs, RIs and RFOs) and in all countries in EuropeMultistep
approach. Here the certification mechanism would initially only be rolled-out
to certain types of organisations, or in certain countries, and would then be
gradually extended to other groups and/or countries Stakeholder inputThe study
will draw upon the knowledge and expertise of key stakeholders in Member States
and Associated Countries in order to design the most appropriate and costeffective system. Contact details for the Technopolis Group and the Commission
can be found in Annex 2.Annex 1Feasibility study for the development of an
accreditation mechanism for genuinely good HR management in the public research
sector in EuropeOverall MethodologyThe study objectives and tasks focus around
the appraisal of different options concerning the future development of an
accreditation mechanism for genuinely good HR management in the public research
sector in Europe. Wide consultation among the various groups of stakeholders
that would be involved in the design and implementation of the mechanism, and

the identification and assessment of prior experiences in setting up similar


mechanisms elsewhere, are important in ensuring that
the most feasible options are identified, described and assessed.The study will
proceed in the following seven main phases, with each phase addressing, in whole
or in part, various tasks and sub tasks:Phase 1 Inception planning
encompasses the kick-off meeting held in March 2013, the preparation and
delivery of this inception report, and the organisation and attendance at an
inception meeting in Brussels Phase 2 - Identification - will involve the
identification of relevant actors expected to be involved in the new mechanism.
There are seven key groups that we expect to consult with during the course of
the study, as follows:Researchers as a specific group. We might best address
this very large group of individuals by targeting their representative bodies,
for example, European-level researcher associations, such as EURODOC or the
European Young Academy, and trades unions, such as EUROCADRES. Research
performing bodies and their representatives This group comprises all Higher
Education Institutions (HEIs), public research institutes (RIs) and their
representative bodies in each of the 41 countries in scope for the study. Key
targets within this very large group will include representative bodies such as
the European University Association (EUA), the European Association of
Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE), the League of European research
Universities (LERU), Science Europe (Association of RPOs function) and the
European Association of Research and Technology Organisations (EARTO). Research
Funding Organisations and their representatives This group comprises all
Research Funding organisations at national and EU level, including the European
Commission, Science Europe (Association of RFOs function), Nordforsk and other
regional funding bodies. At national level, all public RFOs within the 41
countries in scope will be included in this group, along with their
representative bodies (such as Research Councils UK) where they exist. European
Commission officials (RTD and EAC) This group comprises relevant units and
officials from DG RTD and DG EAC connected to the planned HR certification
mechanism and to the communities that will be most closely involved in the
initiative. Member State / Associated Country Officials This group comprise
representatives of the Member States (MSs) and Associated Countries (ACs) in
scope for the study. It is expected that one or other or both of two key bodies
will be the principal point of contact with Member MS/AC officials, namely the
European Research Area Committee (ERAC) which has representatives from 27 Member
States and 12 observer countries, and the ERA Steering Group on Human Resources
and Mobility (SGHRM), which includes national representatives as well as members
of the CommissionCertification / QA bodies and their representatives This
group comprises all of the major certification bodies and quality assurance
bodies active in the field of human resources / personnel quality assurance and
certification, particularly those operating at international level, those who
have a dominant role at national level, and those with experience of related HR
certification mechanisms. Key representative bodies are the European Federation
of Associations of Certification Bodies (EFAC), the Chartered Institute of
Personnel Development (CIPD Europe), the European Organisation for Quality
(EOQ), the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA)
and the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR)
Accreditation bodies and their representatives This group comprises existing
accreditation bodies and their representatives, including the International
Accreditation Forum (IAF), the European Cooperation for Accreditation (EA), the
national Accreditation Bodies (NABs) in the Member states and Associated
Countries, and the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD)Other
A final group of organisations that do not readily fit within the above
categories but which can provide valuable input and insight to the study. These
include, for example, Vitae (a UK organisation championing the personal,
professional and career development of doctoral researchers and research staff
in higher education institutions and research institutes), and may also include
standardisation bodies such as CEN the European Committee for Standardisation,
which has considerable experience in developing quality standards that form the
basis for related certification schemes. Finally bodies such as the Helsinki
Group.Phase 3 Initial consultation - will involve multiple parallel
consultations targeted and tailored to the identified actors within each of the
groups listed above, and which will be aimed at fulfilling a number of purposes.

It will alert relevant actors to the study, collect an initial body of factual
information and opinion relevant to several of the tasks, and enable us to
identify the most knowledgeable (and willing) actors to be targeted for further
inputs at subsequent points in the study. The initial consultation will also
seek to identify relevant similar initiatives of various types (similar
certification / quality schemes, similar accreditation architectures and
accreditation processes, etc.) that can provide potential models for the new
mechanism or which may provide key lessons as to the advantages and
disadvantages of different approaches and options. Phase 4 Preliminary
analysis and interim reporting (August 2013) - will involve a full but
necessarily preliminary analysis of the data, information and opinion collected
through the initial round of consultations. This phase will culminate in the
preparation and delivery of the Interim Report, which will provide an initial
set of perspectives on most of the main tasks and sub-tasks, and the
organisation of the second progress meeting with the IAGPhase 5 Follow-up
interviews and desk research - is a further round of more detailed and targeted
consultations and interviews, based on and building on the findings from the
preliminary analysis conducted in Phase 3. It will be targeted on those actors
with the most relevant experiences and who have indicated their willingness to
be consulted further and provide additional inputs. Extensive use will be made
of those with prior experience of the design and implementation of similar
initiatives and who can attest to the practical issues and options for
overcoming them in order to ensure the most suitable design and implementation
of the new HR mechanism. Also in this phase we will review related initiatives
and prior examples of new accreditation and certification mechanisms
introduced at EU-level and will carry out further research into relevant
legislation and initiatives at Member State levelPhase 6 Detailed design - is
a further phase of desk research involving the detailed design and description
of all of the elements required in the terms of reference, including (i) a
definition of the concept of good HR management with associated assessment
criteria and methodologies for data collection and assessment; (ii) preferred
options for the certification structure and accreditation architecture, along
with an assessment of their advantages and disadvantages; (iii) scenarios for
the practical implementation of the certification and accreditation systems;
(iv) strategies for the successful promotion of the new mechanism, and so on.
In these phase we will prepare our full findings, conclusions and
recommendations in relation to each task and sub-task, and will seek to address
as fully as possible all of the study requirements as set out in the technical
specificationPhase 7 Deliberative workshop (optional) is an optional element
where we would bring representatives of each key stakeholder group to a workshop
in Brussels where the study findings and conclusions will be presented and
discussed, with a view to debating the proposals and implementation strategies.
Phase 8 Final reporting and presentation of results preparation and
submission of the draft final and final reports and the associated meetings and
presentation of results in November 2013.Annex 2Contact details for the
feasibility study:Technopolis GroupJames Stroyan - # HYPERLINK
"mailto:james.stroyan@technopolis-group.com" #james.stroyan@technopolisgroup.com# European CommissionDenis Clarke # HYPERLINK "mailto:RTDCHARTER@ec.europa.eu" #RTD-CHARTER@ec.europa.eu# # Communication from the
Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and
Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 17 July 2012: A Reinforced
European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth (COM(2012) 392
final)# Commission Recommendation of 11 March 2005 on the European Charter for
Researchers and on a Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers
(C(2005) 576 final) # Communication from the Commission to the Council and the
European Parliament of 18 July 2003: Researchers in the European research area:
one profession, multiple careers (COM(2003) 436 final)# # HYPERLINK
"http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/05/st08/st08194.en05.pdf"
#http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/05/st08/st08194.en05.pdf# # European
Commission (2008) - Realising a Single Labour Market for Researchers: Report of
the ERA Expert Group. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the
European Communities, EUR 23321. Available at# HYPERLINK
"http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/research_policies/era_green_paper_eg1_lowres.p
df"

#http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/research_policies/era_green_paper_eg1_lowres.p
df#
# Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European
Parliament of 23 May 2008: Better careers and more mobility: a European
partnership for researchers (COM(2008) 317 final)# # HYPERLINK
"http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/08/st13/st13671.en08.pdf"
#http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/08/st13/st13671.en08.pdf# # #
HYPERLINK
"http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/hrs4r/Paper_on_the_HR_Strategy_for_Researchers
.pdf"
#http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/hrs4r/Paper_on_the_HR_Strategy_for_Researchers
.pdf# # See the EURAXESS Rights website (# HYPERLINK
"http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/rights" #http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/rights#)
for further details on the "HR Strategy for Researchers" initiative and the full
list of organisations that have been awarded the right to use the logo.#
Communication from the Commission of 3 March 2010: Europe 2020 - A strategy for
smart, sustainable and inclusive growth (COM(2010) 2020)# Communication from the
Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and
Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 6 October 2010: Europe 2020
Flagship Initiative European Union (COM(2010) 546 final)# Conclusions of the
European Council (4 February 2011) (EUCO 2/1/11)# Communication from the
Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and
Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 17 July 2012: A Reinforced
European Research Area Partnership for Excellence and Growth (COM(2012) 392
final)# See # HYPERLINK
"http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/research_policies/Principles_for_Innovative_Do
ctoral_Training.pdf"
#http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/research_policies/Principles_for_Innovative_Do
ctoral_Training.pdf# - These have been endorsed by the Council conclusions on
the modernisation of higher education of 29November 2011 (# HYPERLINK
"http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/educ/126375.pd
f"
#http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/en/educ/126375.pd
f#) # Following the recommendation by the ERA Steering group on Human Resources
and Mobility in the report by its Working group on Human Resources issues of May
2012 (# HYPERLINK "http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/research_policies/SGHRM-WG1on-HR-Issues-Final-report-May-2012.pdf"
#http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/pdf/research_policies/SGHRM-WG1-on-HR-IssuesFinal-report-May-2012.pdf#) #####PAGE#10#[Type text]
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