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 was already in place at ESF before draftin the Code of Conduct?

The ESF Human Resources strategy 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 Management 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, 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 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. Actions that needed to be implemented by an institution acknowledged by the European Commission were recorded and a timeline for delivery was set.

In 2012 an internal audit report on the second year of ESF’s accreditation was published, with the objective of delivering an ESF Internal Code of Conduct by November 2014. This resulted in the following document: ESF Internal Code of Conduct.