HRS4R – Human Resources Strategy for Researchers


The ‘HR Strategy for Researchers’ supports research institutions and funding organizations in the implementation of the Charter & Code in their policies and practices.

The implementation of the Charter & Code principles by research institutions render them more attractive to researchers looking for a new employer or for a host for their research project.

The European Commission recognizes with the ‘HR Excellence in Research Award’ the institutions which make progress in aligning their human resources policies to the 40 principles of the Charter & Code, based on a customized action plan/HR strategy.


HRS4R Process Description in the Slovak Academy of Sciences

The HRS4R Working Group was created by the SAS Presidium (12th April 2017) and chaired by the Head of Department of Research and Development which is a part of the SAS Office. Other members of the Working Group included project managers of the Department of Research and Development and HRS4R appointees of the SAS Institutes. The project managers from the Department participated to the HRS4R trainings which had taken place in Brno, Brussels and Bratislava so they had been instructed in requirements of the HRS4R strategy. The project managers consequently organized three similar HRS4R trainings for HRS4R appointees of the SAS Institutes (13th, 19th and 21st February 2018). The Department coordinated the work of the Working Group, communicated closely with the Steering Committee and handled all the administration of HRS4R. The project managers of the Department also translated the HRS4R templates for Gap Analysis and Action Plan into the Slovak language. After the internal training for HRS4R appointees, the SAS Institutes created individual working groups which made the initial gap analyses for majority of the SAS Institutes. The members of these working groups included researchers from R1-R4 ranges as well as SAS Institutes’ HR specialists (although not every SAS Institute has an HR specialist). Both junior and senior researchers participated in this process, seconded also by several SAS Institutes’ Directors. These initial gap analyses were collected by the Department which clustered them into the overarching Gap Analysis for the whole Academy. Consequently, the Action Plan was created based on the final Gap Analysis. Both the Gap Analysis and Action Plan were consulted with the Steering Committee, chaired by the SAS Vice President for Science, Research and Innovations. Finally, both documents were approved by the SAS Presidium (9th May 2019) and submitted to the European Commission (5th September 2019).

Implementation Phase

In order to harmonize procedures in the individual SAS Institutes with the principles of the Charter and the Code, implementation will be carried out within the 45 actions defined in the Action Plan. The compliance rate varies from a SAS Institute to a SAS Institute, so the implementation of the action plan will be tailored to the real needs of a particular SAS Institute. A great emphasis will be placed on sharing best practices between the SAS Institutes.

Most of the measures taken at central level will have a framework or recommendation character and the SAS Institutes will be left free to take their own measures to match their current situation and needs. The SAS Institutes will be provided with the necessary synergies and methodological support. The implementation plan, as well as check of achieved objectives will be controlled quarterly.


  • To be more open to foreign employees – by translating the necessary regulations, documents, forms into English, improving the communication skills in English for technical and administrative staff;
  • To unify and formalize certain procedures – by filing and investigating ethical issues, dealing with complaints, appeals, backing up data, storing and sharing data, evaluating researchers, recruiting and selecting researchers, preparing the necessary internal rules (e.g. on ethical issues, intellectual property rights, etc.);
  • To support career development and counselling and continuous education – by preparation and publication of career plans, career development strategies, career guidance schemes and mentoring, management training;
  • To make all necessary documents available to (new) staff and raise awareness of employees – by preparation of a bilingual welcome information package, training of scientists on ethical issues, intellectual property rights;
  • To harmonize the recruitment process with the OTM-R (Open, Transparent and Merit-Based Recruitment) principles – by developing a SAS OTM-R policy, preparing the necessary templates, manuals, documents, training for relevant persons, using different forms of recruitment;
  • To analyze the options of improving working conditions for researchers with a special emphasis on selected groups – by improving remuneration schemes, facilitating public procurement conditions, balancing family and career life, enabling better access for disabled researchers, creating posts for doctoral students and postdocs.

The Action Plan is outlined for a period of 4 years – from Q3 2019 to Q3 2023. After two years, the Action Plan will be revised and, if necessary, modified.