On 1 January 2023, the University of Rennes took over the prerogatives and obligations of the University of Rennes 1, whose "HR Excellence in Research" label recognised its participation in the construction of the European Research Area, as well as its human resources strategy with regard to researchers.
Moreover, two affiliated Grandes Écoles of the new University of Rennes also hold this label: EHESP and INSA Rennes.
This commitment to the "European Human Resources Strategy for Researchers" contributes to the attractiveness of the University of Rennes, through its approach to the continuous improvement of recruitment procedures, reception and support for researchers, professors and lecturers.
The University of Rennes has set itself the goal of launching the HRS4R approach in all its affiliated Grandes Écoles in 2023, in order to obtain the "HR Excellence in Research" label for the entire university by 2027.
The HRS4R Approach In Short
The "HRS4R" (Human Resources Strategy for Researchers) approach aims to improve the practices of research organisations and institutions in terms of recruitment and working conditions for researchers. It also aims to make the profession of researcher more understandable and to facilitate their employability. The aim therefore is to enhance the attractiveness of careers in research, guarantee researchers equal access to employment and facilitate their geographical and intersectoral mobility. This is an asset for obtaining Horizon 2020 funding.
Who is Concerned
All research staff, both permanent and contractual, are concerned: researchers, professors, lecturers, doctoral students, post-doctoral students and research engineers.
A Continuous Improvement Approach
By reaffirming its commitment to the HRS4R approach in January 2023, the University of Rennes has embarked on a European-level certification of its recruitment, monitoring and career development procedures for researchers.
Several stages are necessary for this certification and its sustainability (internal diagnosis, publication of the action plan, awarding of the "HR Excellence in Research" label, intermediate internal and then external evaluation for the renewal of the label).
The concrete application of the HR strategy for researchers in guaranteed by a multi-year action plan.
For each of the 4 main themes, goals related to the principles of the European Charter for Researchers as well as the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers have been defined and articulated as an evidence-based 75-action plan, achievable within the allotted time (internal evaluation after two years and before the external evaluation by the European Commission planned after five years).
- Ethical and Professional Aspects
1. Appoint a compliance officer.
2. Create a webpage dedicated to scientific integrity, ethics and professional conduct on the University of Rennes website and intranet that will host dedicated information (see actions 2 to 5).
3. Draft a communication strategy plan on the University of Rennes’s scientific integrity and ethics policy for both staff members and the general public.
4. Identify domain-specific training (proposed by the University of Rennes and its associated research organisations e.g. CNRS, INSERM, INRIA, INRAE) especially Massive Open Online Courses that will be referenced on the University of Rennes “Scientific Integrity, Ethics and Professional Conduct” webpage.
5. Create a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that will appear in the University of Rennes “Scientific Integrity, Ethics and Professional Conduct” webpage.
6. Create a list of contacts for ethical and professional conduct issues with clear information on the various stakeholders' roles.
7. Translate the University of Rennes's “Ethics and Professional Conduct” webpage into English
8. Add a section dedicated to ethics and professional conduct in the New Staff Handbook with (i) advice on local, national and international procedures related to ethics and scientific integrity and (ii) an explanation of the ethics end deontology concepts in a detailed manner.
9. Translate the New Staff Handbook into English
10. Append the French Charter for Research Integrity to the university's employment contracts (or at least to statements of appointment).
11. Inform research laboratories about the importance and use of laboratory notebooks or any equivalent form of digital media and draft a guidebook on laboratory notebooks and their alternative digital media.
12. A laboratory notebook will be given by the doctoral schools to all first-year PhD students and by the University of Rennes to other contractual researchers on their arrival.
13. Ensure that ethical and deontological issues are mentioned in the internal rules of research laboratories.
14. Provide training to promote Open Science
15. Provide training to PhD students on predatory publishers.
16. Publish the main principles of the scientific policy of the University of Rennes and its research laboratories on the “research” section of the university's website.
17. Identify the needs of research units to ensure optimal support for research and innovation projects.
18. Identify the difficulties encountered by the scientific community in terms of purchasing procedures for the purpose of addressing them.
19. Define the total cost calculation method.
20. Define an incentive policy to optimise contract resource fundraising.
21. Communicate on the calculation, the use and the importance of the processing fees from contracts drawn up by the University.
22. Encourage the research units to deposit publications on the HAL open archive repository before being formatted by the publisher.
23. Set up meetings involving documentation members (SCD) and research laboratory boards dedicated to Open Science.
24. Draft a charter presenting the advantages of the Open Access and the undertakings of both the university and researchers in this area.
25. Appoint an advisor at the University of Rennes on storage, management and the availability of research data.
26. Create a working group for the purpose of defining the university's policy on storage, management and the availability of research data.
27. Provide training on scientific mediation and media relations for researchers.
28. Create a database on scientific dissemination activities performed by the scientific community of the University of Rennes to identify, enhance and promote them.
29. Implement or improve the monitoring process for prevention activities (monitoring of staff training, flagging issues, early warning system, post-occurrence follow up and information)
30. Mention the Safety Prevention Officers in the research laboratories' organisation charts.
31. Collect the Safety Prevention Officers' annual reports to improve the quality approach.
32. Explicitly mention the non-discrimination policy in all job offers.
33. Define indicators related to possible discrimination in terms of recruitment, career development, funding of research activities and project management.
- Recruitment and Selection
34. Draft a summary information document about academic recruitment procedures (research engineers, lecturers, professors, researchers) to inform contractual researchers.
35. Publish on the University’s website the selection committees of lecturers and professors for each position.
36. Set up meetings between Doctoral School Boards to promote exchanges of practices on recruitment procedures and monitor the evolution of practices.
37. Translate into English the University’s “Code of Conduct for the Recruitment, Welcome and Career Development of Contract Researchers” drafted in 2019.
38. Create a single contract for all contractual researchers (other than PhD students).
39. Identify and communicate a list of job-offer websites, such as Euraxess, to the research community, to encourage them to publish their open positions widely.
40. Define incentive measures to help newly recruited foreign researchers to settle in and become integrated.
41. Provide a template for job descriptions in French and in English to the research community.
42. Centralise information on support mechanisms available for researchers with disabilities at the University of Rennes.
43. Appoint a committee composed of all relevant stakeholders (e.g. HR, Doctoral School, Preventive Medicine, head of research unit, supervisor) when recruiting PhD students with disabilities for the purpose of enhancing their welcome.
44. Identify and propose training to staff members working with colleagues and PhD students with disabilities.
45. For the recruitment of lecturers, professors and research engineer, draft a self-evaluation grid for conflicts of interest that will be provided beforehand to the chair of the panel, for members of the hiring committees.
46. For the recruitment of lecturers, professors and research engineers, provide candidate evaluation/analysis grids to the panel members.
47. For the recruitment of lecturers, professors and research engineers, draft a guide for panel members that includes a section to raise awareness on discrimination issues.
48. Set up an online tool to monitor contractual researcher recruitments in coordination with the research organisations (CNRS, INSERM, INRIA, etc.).
49. Presenting the institution's scientific policy (key principles) to the external members of all researcher recruitment panels.
50. For the recruitment of lecturers and professors, encourage in a framework letter, and subsequently monitor, the presence of committee members from related disciplines (target: one per selection committee).
51. To ensure the quality of recruitment, re-publish job positions that have not been filled after the first recruitment process.
52. Set up a working group to develop the current internal tool “Leave for research in a given field or to focus on a new field” (Congé pour Recherche ou Conversion Thématique, CRCT) to make it more attractive.
53. Send an annual letter to inform staff of existing mobility schemes (visiting professors, CRCT, etc.).
- Working Conditions & Social Security
54. Organise an annual welcome day for contractual researchers across the university, and provide workshops with support services.
55. Fight against self-censorship by encouraging female researchers to apply for delegations, awards, bonuses, positions of responsibility, etc.
56. Ensure equal gender representation in the university governance and decision-making bodies, and in research project management, and publish the statistics and evolution on the university website.
57. Set up a working group to explore support mechanisms to increase women’s representation in the university governance and decision-making bodies, and research project management.
58. Ask research laboratories to commit to financing PhD projects for three years in order to create contracts that cover the entire PhD.
59. Provide personal skills assessments within the training catalogue in order to foster cross-sectoral mobility.
60. Create a list of career officers from among researchers, lecturers and professors, based on scientific disciplines, for contractual researchers.
61. Create an FAQ section dedicated to professional difficulties (HR, harassment, discrimination, etc.) on the University's website.
62. Identify existing measures developed by the University's research laboratories to support PhD students on professional issues (HR, harassment, discrimination, etc.) in order to encourage the exchange of good practice.
- Training and Development
63. Raise awareness among PhD students, researchers, lecturers and professors about the mediation and advisory roles of the Supervisory Committee for PhD students (CSI, Comité de Suivi Individuel des Doctorants).
64. Include an item on the rights and obligations of PhD students and supervisors on the agenda of the Doctoral Schools day.
65. Provide formal training on PhD supervision for PhD supervisors with the objective of making this mandatory.
66. Provide cross-disciplinary skill training sessions in English
67. Provide training dedicated to scientific integrity and project/team management for incoming lecturers and professors and for candidates to the Accreditation to Supervise Research (HDR) qualification and make it mandatory for all HDR candidates.
68. Identify research laboratories organising inter-disciplinary measures towards young researchers, such as seminars, to promote exchanges of good practice with other laboratories.
69. Identify research laboratories that implement measures to combat professional problems for PhD students in order to promote exchanges of good practice with other laboratories.
70. Draft a PhD guide in French and English that will also be made available to Master’s Degree students.
71. Enhance the University of Rennes training catalogue to emphasise career paths and career management and job seeking.
72. Enhance the internationalisation policy in order to facilitate network creation between researchers and foreign partners.
73. Monitor the effects of participation in cross-disciplinary training on the professional integration and career evolutions of PhD students.
74. Set up cross-sectoral (public-private) measures for PhD students and researchers.
75. Propose an experienced career advisor to every incoming lecturer, professor and research engineer.
Policy management: Sébastien Le Picard, project leader
Operational implementation and follow-up of the strategy: Maïwen Corrignan, project coordinator
Production and coordination of deliverables:
Project team: project leader, project officer and four people in charge of thematic working groups:
- Gilles Salbert (professional and ethical aspects)
- Bruno Bureau (recruitment)
- Audrey Lavenu (working conditions and social security)
- Sébastien Le Picard (training)