European Charter for Researchers
The European Commission understood that Europe’s competitiveness is strongly related to developments in research and the knowledge economy and therefore introduced recommendations for member states of the European Union. Their aim is to create an attractive and open labour market for researchers within the European Union. Recommendations were published in 2005 in the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
Rights and obligations of scholars and of their employers as well as of research funding institutions are included in the Charter. The concept of the document contributes to the improvement of career prospects for researchers in Europe and increases their mobility, not only international, but also intersectoral – between science and business. Recommendations included in the Code ought to lead to an open, transparent and on the international level comparable recruitment procedure.
In the principles of participation in the European Union framework programmes for research, development and innovation, for example in the Horizon 2020 programme, there is an appeal to the provisions of the Charter and the Code. These principles are reflected in grant agreements with institutions which realize projects. Beneficiaries of the programme should endeavor to complete all recommendations included in documents.
In order to stress the significance of the Charter and the Code, the European Commission gives a “HR Excellence in Research” logo to the research institutions that have made progress in aligning their human resource policies according to the principles set out in the Charter and the Code. Universities, research institutions and enterprises, that have been awarded, have the right to use the icon to highlight their commitment to implement fair and transparent recruitment and appraisal procedures for researchers.
Implementation of principles of the Charter and the Code at the University of Warsaw
Ideas, included in the recommendations of the EC concerning working conditions of researchers and their recruitment, are coherent with many documents passed by the University of Warsaw, among others, the mid-term strategy of the University of Warsaw for the years 2014-2018. Adaptations of internal procedures to the recommendations included in the Charter are perceived by the University as a realization of its strategic goals – to provide the best conditions of development and to be an attractive institution for foreign researchers.
On 14th July 2014 Prof. Marcin Pałys, Rector of the University of Warsaw, established the Committee for the European Charter for Researchers and of the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. On 28th August he signed the Declaration of endorsement of the European Charter of Researchers and the Code of Conduct for Recruitment of Researchers.
The Committee members conducted an audit of the internal regulations and procedures – they checked the compatibility between university’s regulations and European standards. Next, together with the Centre for Education Quality Evaluation, they prepared the questionnaire addressed to employees and doctoral students. Its aim was the evaluation of the implementation of the provisions of the Chart and the Code at the University of Warsaw. The survey was conducted from 15 December 2014 to 15 January 2015. Questions considered four topics: working conditions at the University of Warsaw, recruitment, relations with supervisors and general rules and regulations binding research staff. The Centre for Education Quality Evaluation published a report on the analysis of the survey results on 31st March 2015. Based on the internal analysis, including the survey results and the appraisal by the Committee for the Charter and the Code, the Committee prepared an action plan. It identifies areas in which actions are to be carried out in order to decrease the discrepancy between the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers and the existing situation at the UW.