Commission Recommendation of 11 March 2005 on the European Charter for Researchers and on a Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers

The Commission of the European Communities

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Article 165 thereof


  1. The Commission considered it necessary in January 20001 to establish the European Research Area as the linchpin of the Community's future action in this field with a view to consolidating and giving structure to a European research policy.
  2. The Lisbon European Council set the Community the objective of becoming the most competitive and dynamic knowledge economy in the world by 2010.
  3. The Council has addressed issues related to the profession and the career of researcherswithin the European Research Area in its Resolution of 10 November 20032 and welcomed in particular the Commission's intention to work towards the development of a European Researcher's Charter and a Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
  4. The identified potential shortage of researchers3, particularly in certain key disciplines, will pose a serious threat to EU's innovative strength, knowledge capacity and productivity growth in the near future and may hamper the attainment of the Lisbon and Barcelona objectives. Consequently, Europe must dramatically improve its attractiveness to researchers and strengthen the participation of women researchers by helping to create the necessary conditions for more sustainable and appealing careers for them in R&D4.
  5. Sufficient and well-developed human resources in R&D are the cornerstone of advancement in scientific knowledge, technological progress, enhancing the quality of life, ensuring the welfare of European citizens and contributing to Europe's competitiveness.
  6. New instruments for the career development of researchers should be introduced and implemented, thus contributing to the improvement of career prospects for researchers in Europe.
  7. Enhanced and more visible career prospects also contribute to the building of a positive public attitude towards the researchers' profession, and thereby encourage more young people to embark on careers in research.
  8. The ultimate political goal of this Recommendation is to contribute to the development of an attractive, open and sustainable European labour market for researchers, where the framework conditions allow for recruiting and retaining high quality researchers in environments conducive to effective performance and productivity.
  9. Member States should endeavour to offer researchers sustainable career development systems at all career stages, regardless of their contractual situation and of the chosen R&D career path, and they 3 COM (2003) 226 final and SEC(2003) 489 of 30.4.2003. 4 SEC (2005) 260. 5 should endeavour to ensure that researchers are treated as professionals and as an integral part of the institutions in which they work.
  10. Even though Member States have made considerable efforts to overcome administrative and legal obstacles to geographical and intersectoral mobility, many of these obstacles still remain.
  11. All forms of mobility should be encouraged as part of a comprehensive human resource policy in R&D at national, regional and institutional level.
  12. The value of all forms of mobility needs to be fully recognised in the career appraisal and career advancement systems for researchers, thus guaranteeing that such an experience is conducive to their professional development.
  13. The development of a consistent career and mobility policy for researchers to5 and from the European Union should be considered with regard to the situation in developing countries and regions within and outside Europe, so that building research capacities within the European Union does not occur at the expense of less developed countries or regions.
  14. Funders or employers of researchers in their role as recruiters should be responsible for providing researchers with open, transparent and internationally comparable selection and recruitment procedures.
  15. Society should appreciate more fully the responsibilities and the professionalism that researchers demonstrate in executing their work at different stages of their careers and in their multi-faceted role as knowledge workers, leaders, project coordinators, managers, supervisors, mentors, career advisors or science communicators.
  16. This Recommendation takes as its premise that employers or funders of researchers have an overriding obligation to ensure that they meet respective national, regional or sectoral legislation requirements.
  17. This Recommendation provides Member States, employers, funders and researchers with a valuable instrument to undertake, on a voluntary basis, further initiatives for the improvement and consolidation of researchers' career prospects in the European Union and for the creation of an open labour market for researchers.
  18. The general principles and requirements outlined in this Recommendation are the fruits of a public consultation process to which the members of the Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility have been fully associated,

Hereby recommends:

  1. That Member States endeavour to undertake the necessary steps to ensure that employers or funders of researchers develop and maintain a supportive research environment and working culture, where individuals and research groups are valued, encouraged and supported, and provided with the necessarymaterial and intangible support to enable them to fulfil their objectives and tasks. Within this context, particular priority should be given to the organisation of working and training conditions in the early stage of the researchers' careers, as it contributes to the future choices and attractiveness of a career in R&D.
  2. That Member States endeavour to take, wherever necessary, the crucial steps to ensure that employers or funders of researchers improve the recruitment methods and career evaluation/appraisal systems in order to create a more transparent, open, equal and internationally accepted system of recruitment and career development as a prerequisite for a genuine European labour market for researchers.
  3. That Member States - as they formulate and adopt their strategies and systems for developing sustainable careers for researchers - take duly into account and are guided by the general principles and requirements, referred to as The European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers outlined in the Annex.
  4. That Member States endeavour to transpose these general principles and requirements within their area of responsibility into national regulatory frameworks or sectoral and/or institutional standards and guidelines (charters and/or codes for researchers). In so doing they should take into account the great diversity of the laws, regulations and practices which, in different countries and in different sectors, determine the path, organisation and working conditions of a career in R&D.
  5. That Member States consider such general principles and requirements as an integral part of institutional quality assurance mechanisms by regarding them as a means for establishing funding criteria for national/regional funding schemes, as well as adopting them for the auditing, monitoring and evaluation processes of public bodies.
  6. That Member States continue their efforts to overcome the persisting legal and administrative obstacles to mobility, including those related to intersectoral mobility and mobility between and within different functions, taking into account an enlarged European Union.
  7. That Member States endeavour to ensure that researchers enjoy adequate social security coverage according to their legal status. Within this context, particular attention should be paid to the portability of pension rights, either statutory or supplementary, for researchers moving within the public and private sectors in the same country and also for those moving across borders within the European Union. Such regimes should guarantee that researchers who, in the course of their lives, change jobs or interrupt their careers do not unduly suffer a loss of social security rights.
  8. That Member States put in place the necessary monitoring structures to review this Recommendation regularly, as well as to measure the extent to which employers, funders and researchers have applied the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
  9. That the criteria for measuring this will be established and agreed with the Member States within the context of the work undertaken by the Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility.
  10. That Member States in their role as representatives in the international organisations established at intergovernmental level take due account of this Recommendation when proposing strategies and taking decisions concerning the activities of those organisations.
  11. This Recommendation is addressed to the Member States but it is also intended as an instrument to encourage social dialogue, as well as dialogue among researchers, stakeholders and society at large.
  12. The Member States are invited to inform the Commission, as far as possible, by 15th December 2005 and annually thereafter of any measures they have taken further to this Recommendation, and to inform it of the first results of its application as well as to provide examples of good practice.
  13. This Recommendation will be reviewed periodically by the Commission in the context of the Open Method of Coordination.

Done at Brussels, 11 March 2005

For the Commission
Janez Potocnik
Member of the Commission



1. COM(2000) 6 final of 18.1.2000.
2. JO C 282, p. 1-2, of 25.11.2003. Council Resolution of 10 November 2003 (2003/C 282/01 on the profession and the career of researchers within the European Research Area).
3. COM (2003) 226 final and SEC(2003) 489 of 30.4.2003.
4. SEC (2005) 260.
5. COM(2004) 178 final of 16.3.2004.