On 6 December 2017, the European Commission awarded the Jagiellonian University with the prestigious HR Excellence in Research Award.
The award is given to institutions that provide excellent working conditions for researchers, demonstrate transparent recruitment procedures and implement the recommendations of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
The award is one of the actions undertaken by the European Commission in the framework of the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) with a view to creating an attractive and open labour market for researchers in the European Union.
HRS4R acknowledged institutions commit themselves to respect the principles of the Charter and the Code, they continuously improve their practices and are subject to regular evaluation by experts appointed by the EC.
The HRS4R Info Day 2022 conference was held in Brussels on October 28, 2022, and was attended by the Chairwoman of the Working Group on the Implementation of the European Charter for Researchers, the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers and the Policy of Open, Transparent and Merit-based Recruitment at JU, Małgorzata Grzelewska - Deputy Chancellor for General Affairs.
The meeting was organized by the European Commission and was attended by speakers from EU countries - including Ireland, France and participants from European universities and research centres. The conference was aimed at universities, research institutions and research funders that invest in the talents, skills and career development of researchers by implementing the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. The conference presented EC policies related to skills and talent management in an open science environment, closely linked to the European Researcher Career Framework. The need to adapt the Science Career Framework to the challenges of digital development, pandemics and the war in Ukraine, among others, was emphasised. There is a mismatch between the skills of the workforce and the needs of the market in the industrial and business sectors, particularly for skilled jobs. It is important to create the right working conditions to attract and retain talented researchers so that Europe remains an attractive place for businesses and highly skilled workers. The challenges researchers face are often precarious working conditions based on temporary contracts, which have a negative impact on the attractiveness of a research career and on mental health. The skills imparted to doctoral students are too often focused on careers in academia, while researchers need to pursue career opportunities in the broader labour market, including outside academia or by starting their own company, which requires the right competencies. Higher education institutions and industry must work together to anticipate needs and develop the European Research Area. Providing researchers with attractive career development and stable working conditions should be done through:
- developing a comprehensive European framework for research careers;
- exchanging best practices in skills and mutual learning to promote cross-sector mobility and
a more sustainable circulation of talent;
- supporting measures to make research careers more attractive in academia and beyond (e.g. Science Careers Observatory, ERA Talent Platform).
The conference also discussed the creation of a talent platform and enabling open knowledge sharing and the reuse of research results including through the development of the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). It is also necessary to reform the system of evaluation of scientific research, scientists and institutions in order to improve the quality of their work and research results.
An important part of the meeting was devoted to future development, with a particular focus on changes to the Charter and Code. The first draft of the revised Code was presented for discussion. Significant changes planned by the European Commission in documents directly related to the implementation of the HR Strategy for Researchers were discussed. The provisions of the Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers will redefine (expanded to include new areas) the 4 pillars of the Charter for Researchers and formulate 18 general principles defining the roles, responsibilities and powers of researchers and institutions that employ researchers. Among other things, the changes will emphasise the importance of researcher mobility (geographic, intersectoral, within-institution mobility). The newly defined pillars of the Charter and the Code will include the issues of Open Science, Research Careers and Talent Development, topics that are part of the ongoing discussions at the European level on the reform of the system of evaluation of researchers. The document released by the European Commission, entitled European Framework for Research Careers, proposes expanding the definition of "researcher" to include new groups of people involved in research (researcher, research management, research support) and presents a catalogue of positions within these groups. The European Competence Framework for Researchers describes a proposed model of seven transversal competencies that researchers should develop over the course of their research careers.
For more information see: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/euraxess/events/hrs4r-info-day-2022
- confirms transparent recruitment rules and working conditions that enhance the career development of researchers,
- adds value to the institutions when they apply for the EU funds under international calls for proposals, including Horizon 2020/Horizon Europe,
- adds value to the institutions when they apply for funds in calls announced by the National Science Centre and the National Centre for Research and Development, as well as in competitions and programmes of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (now the Ministry of Education and Science),
- entitles to post offers on the European researcher recruitment platform – EURAXESS.
The process of applying for the HR Excellence in Research Award was initiated by the Declaration of Support for the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, signed by the Rector of the Jagiellonian University and sent to the European Commission in April 2015, as well as the commitment to implement the HRS4R Strategy and the OTM-R policy of open and transparent recruitment processes.
During an internal analysis stage in 2016, an anonymous survey was conducted among JU academics. Its results were used to develop an action plan for the coming years, the purpose of which is to ensure transparent recruitment procedures as well as career development opportunities for academics at every stage of their career.
The timeline of the application process for the HR Excellence in Research Award is presented below.
Key dates in the HRS4R process:
- 2000 - adoption of the concept of establishing the European Research Area at the Lisbon European Council summit
- 2005 - publication by the European Commission of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers
- 2006 - decision of the CRASP Chairman on support for Charter and Code and recommendation for the Charter to be signed by the rectors of Polish universities
- 2015 - Declaration of the Jagiellonian University Authorities in support of the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers
- 2016 – Survey among JU employees
- September 2017 - The HR Strategy for the Jagiellonian University Researchers, Action Plan 2017-2019
- December 2017 – HR Excellence in Research Award
- 2018 – establishing JU Team for the implementation of the HRS4R strategy
- February 2020 - Internal Review (expert assessment) of the implementation of the HRS4R strategy
- August 2020 - Recommendations of experts regarding the improvement of activities
- 2021 – establishing The Steering Committee, The Working Group and The Coordinator for the HR Excellence in Research Affairs