European Charter of Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers

Why become a signatory to the Charter and Code?

The European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers are best practice guidelines. They are designed to promote equal rights and obligations for individual researchers throughout Europe by specifying the roles, responsibilities and entitlements of researchers, as well as those of funders and/or employers of researchers. They guarantee attractive research careers and improve employment and working conditions for European researchers. The guidelines of the Charter and Code address all European research organisations and universities, both public and private.

What is already in place at the ESF?

The ESF Human Resources strategy, in place since 2006 as part of the ESF Strategy Plan 2006 - 2010, reflects the values of excellence, openness, flexibility, pan-European, ethical awareness and human values. It focuses on supporting a high level of professionalism within the European scientific arena. Within the strategy, the recruitment policy guarantees impartiality through selection by competency and evidence-based qualifications. An annual performance management process aims to involve all the staff in the strategy of the organisation as decided by the Committee of Directors and ensures the enhancement of competencies.  The principles of openness and fairness guide the evaluation of an individual’s achievement of objectives from the previous year and the definition of new ones for the year ahead. These lead to a personal development plan which may include training and mentoring.

A remuneration policy was reviewed and implemented in 2009 with the goal of rewarding the performance of each member of staff. It is based on the classification of positions and the appraisal of individual performance during the Annual Performance Management Process.

These policies, which encourage the acquisition of new skills and competencies, favour both the internal and external mobility of staff.

What do the Charter and Code mean for employees?

ESF recruits a high proportion of staff from research backgrounds. ESF recognises that research merit needs to be measured on a wide range of competencies beyond publication rates, such as management and communication, teamwork and knowledge transfer. Indeed, these broader skills are particularly valued as they are essential to science management. Becoming an acknowledged institution for the Charter and Code offers a greater level of accountability and clarity for ESF staff.

The procedure involved

Existing rules and practices were analysed by a working group of nine current staff members in relation to the Charter and Code principles. The analysis followed the European Commission template, systematically addressing 40 statements regarding the ethical and professional aspects, recruitment, working conditions & social security, and training. Four group meetings took place, and two internal experts assisted at one of these to give their input on specific issues. Actions that need to be implemented by an institution acknowledged by the European Commission have been recorded and a timeline for delivery has been set.

Process undertaken by ESF

Gap Analysis Table

Actions for acknowledgement identified by the Task Force during the Gap Analysis

  • Self-assessment at 2 years after adoption and external evaluation 4 years after acknowledgement

Actions required for application of Gap Analysis