Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)

Halmstad University received the award HR Excellence in Research by the European Commission in June 2020, as number seven of almost 30 Swedish higher education institutes. The award indicates that Halmstad University is an employer with a stimulating and friendly working environment. The award also indicates that the University commits itself to fair, transparent and merit-based recruitment and assessment procedures in employment, and to support career development, of researchers.

The University has entered the implementation phase and is now preparing for an interim assessment that will be sent to the European Commission in the middle of July 2022.

Background – the world’s most competitive economy

In 2005, the European Commission issued a recommendation on the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. The aim of the Charter & Code for researchers is to contribute to European prosperity by creating the world's most competitive knowledge-based economy through European research activities.

This will be achieved by making research careers in Europe more attractive, create an attractive, open and sustainable European labour market for researchers, encourage increased mobility, increase female researchers' participation and encourage more young people to choose a research career. By improving the conditions for free research, promoting an open labour market for researchers and enabling recruitment and retaining outstanding researchers, a strong European Research Area can be established and with it an attractive, sustainable and attractive labour market for researchers.

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.

Content of the Charter & Code

The Charter & Code is aimed at researchers at all different stages of their careers – from doctoral students to professors – and covers all research areas in the public and private sectors. The Charter & Code consists of 40 principles that determine roles, responsibilities and rights of researchers and employers. The basic concept is that the principles should serve as a framework for researchers and employers to work within.

Employers embracing the Charter & Code thereby demonstrate their commitment to act responsibly and professionally towards their employees. Employers undertake to promote equal treatment and transparency in recruitment processes, have fair conditions for researchers and clearly contribute to the development of the European Research Area.

HR Excellence in Research – an award to employers

To help employers implement the Charter & Code in their own policies, the European Commission has developed a tool to support the process. The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers tool (HRS4R) contains fixed templates and mandatory implementation steps. The HR Excellence in Research award is awarded to the applicant organisation (employer) after a thorough internal analysis of the institution’s personnel policy and conditions through legislation, agreements and other guidelines, as well as an external assessment. Employers who receive the award are expected to have, maintain and develop a stimulating and beneficial working environment for researchers.

The HRS4R process at Halmstad University

The HRS4R process is described in the figure below.

Figure showing the HRS4R process at Halmstad University, with letter of endorsement and commitment submitted to the European Commission (autumn 2017), application with gap analysis and action plan and HRS4R implementation (from 2020 and onwards), with revisions and upgrading in two year (until 2022) and thereafter three year intervals.