HRS4R Certification

In February 2022, Oniris officially began the procedure for obtaining the EU label HRS4R (Human Resources Strategy for Researchers).
The European Commission grants this label of certification, which helps meet the aim to improve recruitment practices and working conditions for researchers with a view to attracting the best researchers, encouraging young talents to pursue careers in science and to make the European Research Area more appealing. To provide a framework for this approach, the European Commission published, in 2005, the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
This charter guides institutes in higher education and research in applying forty principles that make up these texts and are based on four main themes:

  • Ethical principles and professional responsibilities
  • Recruitment, career development and mobility
  • Working conditions, safety and professional environment
  • Training and continuous personal development

Context and challenges

The HRS4R label is essential for institutions. It helps meet the demands of EU research programmes and increases the chances of being granted EU funding.

For researchers, it is a chance to improve conditions for carrying out research, to strengthen respect of ethical principles and professional responsibilities, to reaffirm a commitment to working conditions, safety and the professional environment and to offer a training policy.

From February 2022, when Oniris’s Senior Management sent its letter of undertaking, Oniris had twelve months to take stock of its situation and put forward an action plan to the European Commission. Oniris officially began the procedure by calling on the services of Dual Conseil, a consulting firm that specialises in support for this accreditation process.

It is essential to involve Oniris’s working community to obtain this label. The working community has therefore been consulted through open workshops for contributions to the action plan.

The certification procedure is a long-term process. Oniris ensures that the action plan put forward is applied and is regularly reviewed.

The term ‘researcheris commonly used by the European Commission to denote all scientists, including PhD students, lecturing researchers, and permanent and temporary research staff...

The EU framework for careers in science specifies four profiles of researchers :

  • R1: first-level researcher (up to doctorate level); e.g. contract doctoral student; IATOS (engineering, administrative, technical, social, health and library staff) (Technical and administrative staff) civil servants or contract staff with a diploma to start a doctorate.
  • R2: recognised researcher (doctorate or equivalent, not totally independent); e.g. post-docs, lecturers, IATOS civil servants or contract staff who have been involved in research for at least 4 years and have a doctorate.
  • R3: senior researcher (independent researcher - project leader, scientific coordinator); e.g. lecturers
  • R4: Leading Researcher (a researcher who leads its area of research), e.g. a professoror or a researcher holding an Accreditation to Supervise Research (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches)

Key stages in putting together the HRS4R application

  • February 2022: Letter of undertaking sent by Senior Management to European Commission.
  • September 2022: Operational team and Strategic Tracking Committee set up.
  • September-October 2022: Interviews carried out by consulting firm Dual Conseil with Oniris management and community.
  • October–November 2022: Call for applications and creation of working groups.
  • 14-16 November 2022: Open workshops.
  • December 2022: Presentation of initial document of analysis and action plan proposals.
  • End January 2023: Final version of application sent to Strategic Tracking Committee.
  • Start February 2023: Submission of full application after validation from Strategic Tracking Committee.
  • February 2023: Full submission to Steering Committee at end of process.
  • February 2023: Submission to Scientific Committee.
  • March 2023: Submission to Board of Directors.
  • May 2023 : Reply from the european commission - label granted subject to minor modifications
  • July 2023 : Submission of file with modifications.

European human resources strategy for researchers HRS4R

European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers



European Charter for Researchers: 4 axes and 40 principles

4 main axes :

  • Ethical principles and professional responsibilities
  • Recruitment, career development, mobility
  • Working and safety conditions, professional environment
  • Formation

1. Freedom of research

2. Ethical principles

3. Professional liability

4. Professional attitude

5. Contractual and legal obligations

6. Empowerment

7. Best practices in research

8. Dissemination and use of results

9. Public engagement

10. No-discrimination

11. Evaluation systems

12. Recruitment (principles)

13. Recruitment (procedures)

14. Selection

15. Transparency

16. Judging merit

17. Variations in chronological CV order

18. Recognition of mobility experience

19. Recognition of qualifications

20. Seniority

21. Postdoctoral appointments

22. Recognition of the profession

23. Research environment

24. Working conditions

25. Stability and permanence of employment

26. Financing and salaries

27. Gender balance

28. Professional development

29. The value of mobility

30. Access to career guidance

31. Intellectual property rights

32. Co-authorship

33. Teaching

34. Complaints/appeals

35. Participation in decision-making bodies

36. Relations with supervisors

37. Supervision and management functions

38. Ongoing professional development

39. Access to research training and continuous development

40. Supervision

Action plan

Oniris is fully committed to promoting excellence in its research and has many assets to offer in terms of welcoming and supporting researchers.

In terms of ethics, the school has put in place a resolutely active policy to ensure that the obligations of neutrality, obedience and integrity are respected, and to prohibit plagiarism, discrimination, cheating and conflicts of interest. Oniris regularly updates its gender equality plan. In addition, the school works with two ethics committees for veterinary clinical and epidemiological research and for the review of animal research applications.

Oniris offers excellent working conditions, benefits from high-quality technical equipment and a wide network of higher education and research institutions, in particular through strong partnerships with the major national organisations INRAE, INSERM and CNRS. The recruitment and selection of candidates is governed by rules guaranteeing non-discrimination and equal treatment. A specific charter provides a coherent framework for recruiting, formalising contracts and remunerating contract staff.

In terms of mobility, Oniris allows teaching staff to spend 6 or 12 months in external research laboratories as visiting researchers. Doctoral students are also strongly encouraged to spend at least a few months abroad during their PhD.

All new managers receive training to prepare them for their new responsibilities. Oniris offers a wide range of continuing professional development programmes and encourages the development of training sessions to provide its research community with the necessary knowledge and know-how.

The exploitation of research work and platform activities benefits from the institution's partnership with a Technology Transfer Acceleration Company (SATT Ouest-Valorisation). Oniris supports its researchers in formalising industrial contracts.

Finally, the school is part of the Open Science approach.

Together, these strengths make Oniris an institution fully committed to excellence in research.

With a view to continuously improving its practices, Oniris has decided to implement an ambitious action plan designed to increase its visibility and attractiveness to researchers from France and abroad, as part of a European evaluation process to obtain HRS4R accreditation. All the actions will concern ethical and professional aspects, recruitment, working conditions, career development, evaluation, protection of scientific interests and promotion of results. Built for a 4-year period, this action plan will be regularly monitored and evaluated, and may be adjusted if necessary.

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