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Published: 29 Oct, 2020

EU award rendered by working conditions for researchers

NEWS Umeå University has been presented with the Human Resources in Excellence Award. This honour is a quality mark granted by the EU to universities and research institutions that have made advancements in offering good working conditions for researchers.

Text: Jonas Lidström

The European Commission stand behind the Human Resources Excellence in Research Award that is awarded to academic institutions that have been able to prove significant progress in offering good working conditions, environments and careers for researchers.  

Umeå University applied for the award in early 2020 after years of preparations. On 7 October 2020, the EU announced that the University meets all the requirements for the use of the ‘HR Excellence in research’ award.

The assessment by the independent reviewers is filled with positive and appreciative remarks:

“It was a joy to read the Umeå submission for the initial phase of the HRS4R process. Clearly this is an excellent research organisation with clearly defined policies and practises that align with the principles of the European charter and code for researchers and the HRS4R process.”

“An even better place to work for our researchers”

Umeå University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Katrine Riklund is delighted to accept the award:

“Our goal throughout the application process has been to develop Umeå University into an even better place to work for our researchers. It should be easy to begin working here, to move forward as a researcher and find a clear and confident path ahead.”

“In practise this award gives us new ways to spread information about your university,” says Katrine Riklund.

This acknowledgement that Umeå University is living up to the European charter for researchers is also encouraging news from a research funding perspective – since the grant agreement for the EU Framework Programme for research innovation says that funding should only be granted to institutions that are taking all measures to implement the principles in the charter and code.

About the The European Charter for Researchers Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers

This document consists of 40 principles divided into three areas:

• General Principles and Requirements applicable to Researchers

• General Principles and Requirements applicable to Employers and Funders

• Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers

Read the document in full: The European Charter for Researchers and The Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers

Fruitful collaboration between the academic and administrative sides

The first steps towards Umeå University’s application were taken in 2017 when the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions hosted a series of seminars about the HRS4R process. Pro-Vice-Chancellor Katrine Riklund was among the participants:

“Those seminars really opened our eyes to how implementing this process could make us even better at accommodating incoming researchers. “

Within Umeå University, the application has been preceded by extensive preparatory work, mapping and analysing the present state regarding working conditions for researchers. This work was led by researcher Jessica Eriksson, Associate Professor in business administration.

Upcoming initiatives to improve the conditions for researchers will be coordinated by the Human Resources Office, with human resources strategist Carina Mattsson as project leader.

According to Katrine Riklund, Umeå University has found great strength in the fruitful collaboration between the academic and administrative side:

“Our aim has not been to initiate a whole bunch of new activities, but rather to tie existing initiatives together and build a coherent methodology. Working with the HRS4R process has meant much more than the award alone. In a way, this has given us a complete quality management system for Umeå University as an academic employer.”

About HRS4R

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).

This process leads to an application for the Human Resources Excellence in Research award.

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.

Read more: Background to HRS4R