The University of Warsaw has entered the renewal procedure of the HR Excellence in Research award. Prof. Sambor Grucza, Vice-Rector for Cooperation and Human Resources, is discussing the consequent changes that the distinction triggers and their influence on the university.

How meaningful the HR Excellence in Research occurs to the University of Warsaw? What is connoted through the distinction?


The distinction acknowledges high standards implemented and followed by the University of Warsaw within the areas defined in the European Charter of Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (the Charter and Code). Moreover, the award also indicates that the university is focused on continuous improving the working conditions of the researchers.


The HR Excellence in Research award is a specific kind of a logo. This creates a symbol of trust in external partners or research funders the University of Warsaw cooperates with. Also, the distinction facilitates good practice sharing and professional counselling from other award holders.


The application procedure, and then the renewal process as the award is conferred for a given period of time, can be challenging to each university. It was required to submit the renewal application together with the HR Strategy for Researchers at the University of Warsaw as well as an immensely detailed action plan. We were obliged to specify the progress and improvement reached since the UW was awarded.


I am profoundly thankful for the commitment of the Steering Committee and Working Group members, and, in fact, each person involved in the process of the HR Excellence in Research renewal.


The distinction that the UW had been granted assisted the progress of intensified working conditions improvement for our researchers. I hope that the effort we are facing now will upgrade our position as an employer and an institution convenient for research work. And, finally, setting the University of Warsaw as a favourable place for researchers who respond to our job opportunities.


Though a leader among the European universities we had already been, the 4EU+ Alliance membership contributed to perceiving us a European University. The HR Excellence in Research still strengthens our position both in Europe and across the world.


Considering the effort we have already put, we are alert, yet confident, to host the European Commission experts.


The European Charter of Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers require specific actions from the institution. What are the Charter and Code related actions the University of Warsaw has undertaken so far? What was the actions’ influence on the academic community?


We are proud to evolve within the areas that awaited to be enhanced, such as gender equality in science, international mobility of researchers. Here I find the website “The UW mobility in research and education” really helpful. The website is a source of information about mobility programmes and projects that offer research internships and placements for students and academic teachers. Further, it is vital to preserve the objective role of competition selection committees, neutral committee members from other organisational units, appeal procedures, avoiding conflicts of interest, cancelling a competition when it might conform the regulations etc.


Definitely, we intend to achieve the aims set by the European Commission, which include open, transparent and merit-based recruitment procedures.

Although we realise there are a lot of areas that could still be improved, the progress we are making is really huge and modifications are multi-level. The crucial role can be attributed to the UW authorities to constitute the working groups that deal with slightly neglected areas, for example, the Welcome Point group, equality specialists, the group responsible for the training offer for academic teachers.


What point we have reached in the renewal procedure?


We have submitted all the required documents to the European Commission.  They have been formally validated and now we are expecting to fix the date of the meeting with the Commission experts. We would welcome the evaluation here, in Warsaw. On one hand, we would be happy to present the University of Warsaw as a diverse, yet coherent, academic organism, as well as to show that various elements come into one and form a community. On the other hand, we are eager to learn the experience from experts’ visits to other European universities.


What HR Strategy related actions are planned at the UW in the near future?


More can be revealed by those involved in the “HR Excellence in Research at the UW in June” campaign. I encourage to follow and take part in the initiatives and actions under the campaign.


Lifting the vail of secrecy, the campaign will introduce plans of individual research funding counselling and new programmes for young researches under the IDUB.

The full text of the interview with Prof. Sambor Grucza, UW Vice-Rector for Cooperation and  Human Resources will be published in the July issue of the university magazine “UW”.