HRS4R supports research institutions in defining their research policy practices, developing charters and regulations for research staff.
Due to this, the research university creates favorable conditions not only for national, but also for foreign researchers, making scientific HR policy more transparent and merit-based.
Yerevan State University initiated the process of Development of HRS4R and applying for the HR Excellence in Research Award based on the «YSU Strategic Development Plan 2016-2020», realizing the need and urgency of developing the institutional capacity of research and science in the face of extremely fierce competition among educational services providers.
Need for HRS4R: European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers
In 2005 the European Commission launched the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers which set out some principles for good working conditions for researchers.
The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (also known as HRS4R) is the mechanism through which the European Commission (EC) seeks to ensure that concrete steps are put in place by institutions to enhance working conditions for researchers across Europe as set out in the European Charter and Code.
The strategy encompasses a 5 step implementation process for gaining EC recognition for commitment to implementation of the European Charter and Code principles. The European Commission recognition is the 'HR Excellence in Research' Award. This process is designed to be ‘light touch’, respecting institutional autonomy and making public information on institutional action plans and progress in their implementation.
The aim of the Charter & Code is also to ensure that the relationship between researchers and employers contributes to successful research achievements, as well as access and exchange of knowledge, technical development and career development.
Implementing «Human Resource Strategy for Researchers» (HRS4R) principles is important in order to ensure the availability of motivated, highly qualified and skilled human resources in research and innovation.
Need for the "HR Excellence in Research Award"
The ‘HR Strategy for Researchers’ supports research institutions and funding organisations in the implementation of the Charter & Code in their policies and practices.
The implementation of the Charter & Code principles by research institutions render them more attractive to researchers looking for a new employer or for a host for their research project.
The European Commission recognises with the “HR Excellence in Research Award” the institutions which make progress in aligning their human resources policies to the 40 principles of the Charter & Code, based on a customized action plan/HR strategy.
Need for the "HR Excellence in Research Award":
At the level of the Institution:
· Meet the requirements of European programmes Reinforce YSU's international attractiveness
- Join the European institutions already labeled:
- Reaffirm a strong and coherent internal Human Resources policy aligned with projects already launched
At the level of the researcher:
Improving individually the conditions in which research is carried out:
- Strengthen respect for ethical principles and professional responsibilities
- Ensure greater transparency in recruitment, career development and mobility
- Commit to develop better and safer environment working condition
- Reaffirm a strong training policy
Background to the HRS4R Process
European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (Charter & Code)
The HRS4R is a process for implementation of the European Commission’s 2005 recommendation on the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (Charter & Code).
The aim of the Charter & Code is “to contribute to the development of an attractive, open and sustainable European labor market for researchers, where the framework conditions allow for recruiting and retaining high quality researchers in environments conducive to effective performance and productivity”.
The Charter & Code consists of general principles and requirements applying to researchers at all different stages of their careers as well as to employers, calling for researchers, employers and funders alike to act responsibly and professionally. The principles can be divided into four areas:
- Ethical and professional aspects
- Recruitment and Selection
- Working Conditions and Social Security
- Training and Development
The European Commission developed the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers tool (HRS4R) to help employers implement the Charter & Code. The HR Excellence in Research award is awarded to research institutions following 1) an internal analysis of the institution’s HR policies and practices relating to researchers with an action plan for further development and 2) an external assessment.
Recipients of the HR award commit to implement their action plan and continue to improve in order to provide a stimulating working environment and attractive career development opportunities. Progress is ensured through recurring internal and external reviews.
- Gap Analysis
The aim of Gap Analysis of the University is to compare their practices on ethical and professional aspects, recruitment, working conditions and social security and training, with principles established on the Charter & Code.
The gap analysis seeks to answer the questions "where are we?" (current state) and "where do we want to be?" (target state), as an institution, with regard to the 40 principles of the Charter and Code. The gap analysis provides a clear picture of the development needs, while identifying any deficiencies or shortcomings to be overcome.
Checklist for Open, Transparent Merit-based Recruitment (OTM-R) The OTM-R checklist is a specific self-assessment checklist provided to report on the status of achievement in terms of the implementation of OTM-R policies and practices, which aims at making research careers more attractive, while facilitating mobility and equal opportunities for all candidates. The OTM-R checklist builds on the Charter & Code principles related to the Recruitment of Researchers.
- Action Plan
The action plan is a sequence of activities that must be carried out in order to help the institution pass from the current state to the target state, with regard to the implementation of the 40 principles of the Charter & Code.
They will address the improvement needs identified in the Gap Analysis and the OTM-R checklist.
- The HRS4R process at YSU
Starting the initial phase by submission of the endorsement letter on March 02, 2021, Yerevan State University took the responsibility to analyze and endorse the 40 principles of “The European Charter for Researchers” and “The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers”.
Self-analysis of the scientific and research field is a necessary requirement for the membership acceptance to EURAXESS, the Pan-European platform of researchers. YSU expects to receive the “HR Excellence in Research Award”, while creating new opportunities for the enhancement of international cooperation in the field of research.
For conducting GAP Analysis in YSU Working Group was established aimed at building capacities for implementation of Open Science principles within the university, composed by the administrative staff responsible for science and research, researchers and PhD students. The 40 principles of Charter & Code were divided between the members of the groups and each of them was committed to familiarize their part of standards.
The hectic period of work coincided with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Armenia, recent Artsakh War creating additional challenges for the Working Group.
A series of online and offline discussions was organized, and large-scale surveys were initiated among YSU academic staff and post-graduate students to find out the level of openness, transparency and effectiveness of research encouragement and supporting procedures at the University.
Actions undertaken within the HRS4R process
- Conduction of in-house meeting for introducing the C&C and the HRS4R principles.
- Endorsement letter sent to EURAXESS and notification of commitment received on 02/03/2022.
- Discussion of 40 standards of the C&C with the researchers and other administrative staff members.
- Gathering information on the external and internal regulations of research activities (research policy) in the RA and YSU.
- Organization of online workshops (zoom meetings) for implementation of GAP Analysis.
- Formulation and development of Survey based on the C&C for YSU academic staff and PhD students.
- Preparation and submission of HRS4R templates for the Initial phase on 02/03/2022
- GAP Analysis Process
- Development of OTM-R
- Action Plan
8. Report on the results of the survey of academic staff on YSU Scientific and Research Activity Regulation, Implementation and Promotion
Dates of Submission of documentation for HRS4R (first attempt)
- Date of endorsement Charter and Code: 02/03/2022
- HRS4R templates submitted: 02/03/2022
- Evaluation received: 02/03/2022
- HRS4R revised documents re-submitted: 02/03/2022
Dates of Submission of documentation for HRS4R (second attempt)
- Date of endorsement Charter and Code: 26/09/2023
- HRS4R templates submitted: 26/09/2023
- Evaluation received: 26/09/2023
- HRS4R revised documents re-submitted: 26/09/2023