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Focus: The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers incorporating the Charter & Code
European Commissioner for Science & Research, Mr Janez Potocnik, launched the "Human resources strategy for researchers incorporating the Charter & Code at the French European Union Presidency conference on "Young Researchers in Europe held on 20-21 November. The Human Resources Strategy aims to make the implementation of the European "Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the recruitment of researchers (the Charter & Code) more streamlined and concrete.
Understanding the Charter & Code
Some 900 institutions in 25 countries have signed onto the Charter & Code which provides a means to achieve a transparent and open labour market for researchers across Europe. The documents, which are addressed to employers, funders and researchers, are a key element of the EUs policy to make research a more attractive career by ensuring the same rights and obligations to researchers regardless of where they are employed.
With so many diverse signatories to the Charter & Code, a new support measure would encourage institutions to take ownership of the document and integrate it into their current human resources policies. This support measure has taken the form of the "Human resources strategy for researchers incorporating the Charter & Code (HR Strategy).
What is the Strategy?
The HR Strategy is a mechanism to support research institutions' implementation of the Charter & Code. It is also a strong step forward in implementing the recently agreed "European Partnership for Researchers", which provides a comprehensive policy agenda for EU countries to pursue by 2010 which includes:
As a follow-up mechanism of the Charter & Code, the HR Strategy addresses research institutions by helping them to clarify the purpose of the Charter & Code and to more effectively and concretely implement it into their human resources strategies.
Benefits of flexibility
The HR Strategy is a voluntary support tool designed to be easy to implement. This has been achieved by limiting the amount of bureaucracy involved in its implementation and reporting. Furthermore, the Human Resources Strategy is based on self-assessment, giving full autonomy to the institutions. In a nutshell, this mechanism is based on the Commissions recognition that the institution has identified and is implementing specific actions to put the Charter & Code principles in place. It is the institution that self-assesses the progress made, while after four years an external evaluation takes place.
Promoting research in Europe
These elements together are designed to make the strategy appealing to research institutions. In addition, it is hoped the strategy will result in a better dissemination of information to the general public and will help to promote research in Europe.
The transparency which comes from the HR Strategy is another key element. This will allow researchers to know the situation at other research institutions and make them more aware of different opportunities open to them across Europe.
The clarity, flexibility and promotion of research are all key elements of the HR Strategy which also help simplify the Charter & Code. With the proper implementation of these tools, the European Research Area can be more competitive.
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