Last changed: 17 December 2021

SLU joins the European Charter for Researchers and Guidelines for the Recruitment of Researchers (EU Charter & Code)

SLU Vice-Chancellor Maria Knutson Wedel has decided that SLU should join the European Charter for Researchers and Guidelines for the Recruitment of Researchers (EU Charter & Code). After an approval by the European Commission regarding the implementation of the Charter & Code, the university will receive the HR Excellence in Research Award.  It is a certification that shows, among other things, that a higher education institution is an employer that applies fair and transparent recruitment and assessment procedures for researchers' employment and further career development and continuously improves working conditions and support for research staff.

In order to be granted the award a thorough internal analysis is carried out, followed by an external assessment of the applicant organization's (the employer's) HR policy and conditions determined in legislation, agreements and other guidelines. The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) is a tool coordinated by the European Commission via EURAXESS and is used to support the process. By providing fixed templates and mandatory elements it facilitates the implementation of Charter & Code.


In the early 2000s the EU initiated a special area of activity to establish a strong European area for research activities and to strengthen and structure European research policy to become the world's most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy. In 2005 the European Charter for Researchers and Guidelines for the Recruitment of Researchers (Charter & Code) were adopted.
The Charter & Code consists of 40 general principles, recommendations and good practice for the employment and recruitment of researchers at all career stages. In four thematic areas these principles and guidelines define the role, responsibilities and rights of researchers and their employers:

  1. Researchers' ethical and professional responsibilities
  2. Working conditions
  3. Postgraduate education and career development
  4. Recruitment

The aim is to improve the conditions for free research, to facilitate the open labor market for researchers through increased mobility, to counteract all forms of discrimination, to facilitate access to and the exchange of knowledge and to promote continuous improvement of quality at European universities. Already more than 550 organizations have joined the Charter & Code, and as a part of the efforts to an increased internationalization SLU has now also initiated a systematic commitment to implement the EU Commission's statutes and guidelines.

The HRS4R process at SLU

The figure below, produced by EUROAXESS, shows the HRS4R process for obtaining, implementing and maintaining the certification. On September 14th 2020 Vice-Chancellor Maria Knutson Wedel made the decision that SLU will apply for the HR Excellence in Research Award. A project organization has been set up for the task that involves the Initial Phase, which include the activities required for an approved application.

The project will run from September 2020 – June 2021. During the fall of 2020 most work will focus on producing a gap analysis in order to assess which areas relative to the 40 principles described in the Charter & Code that SLU needs to develop and improve. Based on the results from the gap analysis the spring of 2021 will be devoted to formulating an action plan to address the identified gaps and ensure that SLU has a research environment and working conditions that live up to Charter & Code.

Flowchart for HRS4R

All activities will be carried out within the ordinary development and quality work. It will be in collaboration with representatives of the faculties and the administration as well as different groups of researchers from doctoral level to professor level. The project organization, led by a steering committee, consists of a project manager, a project group and a number of internal reference groups.