HR Excellence in Research

Last changed: 20 November 2023

The European Charter for Researchers and Guidelines for the Recruitment of Researchers (Charter & Code) and HR Excellence in Research Award.

SLU has received the European Commission acknowledgement HR Excellence in Research Award, a certification that indicates, 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 14 October 2020, Rector Maria Knutson Wedel decided that SLU would apply for the HR Excellence in Research Award. A project organization was set up for the work that included The Initial Phase, ie the activities required for an approved application. The work was part of the regular development and quality work and took place in collaboration between the academy and the administration. The project organization consisted of a project manager, steering group, project group and a number of internal reference groups. The project lasted from September 2020 until the approved application in July 2022.

On 18 October 2021, the Vice-Chancellor decided to approve the application and to instruct HR Director Anna-Karin Olofsson to continue with the implementation of Charter and Code by following the HRS4R process. The work will continue to be integrated into existing structures such as committees and councils. A new project organization will soon be put together and consist of a coordinator, steering group, implementation group and a number of project managers who are linked to the various projects that are to be implemented in accordance with the action plan.


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.