Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)
The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers
The ‘HR Strategy for Researchers’ supports research institutions and funding organizations in the implementation of the Charter & Code in their policies and practices.
The implementation of the Charter & Code principles by research institutions render them more attractive to researchers looking for a new employer or for a host for their research project.
The European Commission recognizes with the 'HR Excellence in Research Award' the institutions which make progress in aligning their human resources policies to the 40 principles of the Charter & Code, based on a customized action plan/HR strategy.
Download the HRS4R procedure chart
17 organisations have received the HR Excellence in Research award.
Special information for UK institutions entering the process as newcomers, or switching from ‘The Concordat’ to the HR implementation via the European HRS4R.
Submitting your applications to HRS4R assessment will commit you to implementation under the rules of the strengthened procedure and assessment by international peer reviewers.
Full actual gap-analysis
Action plan – backwards and forward looking
Internal Assessment - depending on the level of implementation
Confidential information on previous assessments and the way the institutions intends to articulate both dynamics when switching to the European process are most welcome [inserted in the Action Plan, section called 'Additional comments/remarks about the implementation process'].
HRS4R Events & News
HRS4R New Application Modalities
Please note that as of 15 May 2018, ALL institutions interested to initiate the application for the "HR Excellence in Research Award" shall use the HRS4R E-tool - the European Commission's official platform, facilitating the management of the HRS4R process.
Enrolment in the HRS4R is voluntary and non-binding.
HRS4R implies a long-term commitment throughout many years, including joint efforts and coordination with various internal and external stakeholders. It is nevertheless a rewarding process as it ensures institution's transition from progress to quality, in terms of the implementation of the 40 principles of the Charter and Code.
For detailed information regarding the application process, please consult the technical guidelines below. Further questions should be addressed to the functional mailbox RTD-CHARTER@ec.europa.eu
Download the Technical Guidelines for the Initial Phase
Once an institution makes a decision to endorse the C&C and apply for the "HR Excellence in Research Award", it must secure access to the HRS4R E-Tool.
In order to access the HRS4R E-Tool, interested institution need an organisation account on EURAXESS. Registration and membership are free of charge.
Organisation has to assign a contact person to be granted the role of HRS4R Organisation Administrator (Admin). Only this designated person will have access to the HRS4R E-tool to upload data and to be the interface with the European Commission, on behalf of the institution, regarding the HRS4R process.
1 Register an individual EURAXESS member account
If you do not already have an EURAXESS account, you can:
- Navigate to https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/
- Click on the “LOGIN/REGISTER” menu item
- Perform the steps under the “Create new account” section
After performing the steps, you will receive an email with a link to the EURAXESS portal where you have to complete a form.
2 Register an organisation
Once you have your individual member credentials, log in into the MY EURAXESS section and click the button ''I want to register an organisation''.
The details of the newly created organisation will be checked by the Help Desk to avoid duplicate registrations of the same institution. Once the organisation is approved, you will be informed by email and you can proceed with the next steps.
Normally registration requests are treated within the same working day.
3 Fill in the organisation profile details on EURAXESS
From MY EURAXESS dashboard, select from the left-hand side of the menu the section called "Organisation" and fill in the fields required.
Please note that in order to be granted the HRS4R Admin role, your organisation should be first registered as an EURAXESS member. The following rules also apply:
- The domain of your email must be in the URL of the organisation.
- Only one user per organisation can be granted the role.
Request the role of HRS4R Organisation Administrator using the button below:
The HRS4R designated admin for the organisation account on EURAXESS will access the MY EURAXESS dashboard, the HRS4R section, and by clicking on the yellow button "Create a case & apply for the HR Award" will be able to fill in the required tasks of this stage.
The letter should clearly express that the institution is committed to start the procedure and will undergo all subsequent cycles of the implementation phases.
The institution can use own text and format to draft the commitment letter, however the below elements should be considered as mandatory requirements:
- The letter should be written in English.
- The letter should be signed by the current highest management representative within the organisation.
- The letter should be recently dated (not older than 12 months before submission).
- The letter should clearly state both the endorsement of the 40 principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, as well as the commitment to implement the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R).
The pdf version of the endorsement letter will have to be uploaded in the HRS4R E-TOOL and submitted to the European Commission for review.
Check the examples of endorsement letters published in the Policy Library or read the
for more details.
After the receipt of the confirmation letter by the European Commission, the institution has 12 months to fill in the Gap Analysis, the OTM-R and the Action Plan templates in the HRS4R E-tool. Check/Download the templates and read the
for more details. Should you encounter difficulties, please contact the functional mailbox: RTD-CHARTER@ec.europa.eu.
- GAP Analysis
After the successful submission of the "HR Excellence in Research" award application, the institution proceeds to the next level of the process, which consists of two separate steps:
It is performed by the European Commission and it is intended to validate an application in terms of its compliance with the application procedure. The check has nothing to do with the quality of the data provided, but with the quality of application as a whole, as suitable or not for assessment.
The institution will be informed if the application is compliant and has passed the administrative eligibility check within 4 weeks after submission.
If the application is considered non-compliant, the institution will be required to update it based on the feedback provided by the European Commission, within 2 months.
It happens only if an application has passed the administrative eligibility check.
It is performed by a team of 3 experts/individual peer reviewers who are selected by the European Commission in a transparent process, based on several criteria, such as personal competence, geographical distribution (from three different countries other than the applicant institution).
The experts use standard templates and criteria for all applications in order to ensure fair treatment is offered to all institutions.
One of the 3 individual peer reviewers is assigned the role of lead-assessor and will prepare the commonly agreed consensus report integrating the input provided in the individual assessments.
The institution will have access to the consensus report within 3 months aDownload the been communicated as positive.
for more details or browse the standard forms used for assessment in order to get insight into specific requirements and needs:
The outcome of the assessment is officially announced via email (the email address provided as contact when completing the first step of the application process), where the "HR Excellence in Research" emblem is also attached, together with the branding guidelines. Experts' comments and recommendations can be found in the detailed consensus report which can be found in the HRS4R Organisation Admin's dashboard.
From this moment on, the institution can use the "HR Excellence in Research" emblem associated to its name on the institution's website, on social media, on marketing materials and collaterals, etc. in order to promote its stimulating and favourable work environment for researchers.
As a EURAXESS member institution, the award emblem will be activated on the EURAXESS portal as well. Every time the institution will publish a vacancy on EURAXESS, the "HR Excellence in Research" icon will appear next to its name.
The institution will be also listed on the EURAXESS portal under the header of "HR Acknowledged Institutions" together with a link to your HR Strategy published on the institution's website.
After the “HR Excellence in Research Award” is granted, the participating organisation must document progress and quality of the actions and accompanying measures (such as embedding the HRS4R process into their current policies and practices).
The organisation must submit to the European Commission an Internal Review on how its Action Plan has been implemented. The first Internal Review must take place within 24 months after the award was acknowledged (for Interim Assessment). The second Internal Review will be performed within 36 months after the outcome of the Interim Assessment. The HRS4R process will continue in a cyclical way, with new Internal Reviews every 36 months for Award Renewal (alternating the organisation of site visits).
Starting 20 September 2018, ALL institutions enrolled in the Implementation and Award Renewal processes of the HRS4R procedure can use the HRS4R E-tool for reporting purposes.
What phase is your institution in?
Check the specific process flows for details about responsibilities and timelines.