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The HRS4R label

In 2018, the UA launched a process called HRS4R (Human Resource Strategy for Researchers), which aims to improve its recruitment practices and the operating environment for its researchers. A label that also represents an asset for developing international and national partnerships and applying to European funding.
On 14 January 2019, a conference by Catherine Halleux, Director of Administration and R&D at the University of Liège and HRS4R expert for the European Commission, was organised to better understand the issues at stake.

"The aim of the HRS4R incentive scheme is to attract the best researchers and encourage young people to pursue scientific careers in Europe. Our institution has long been involved in the construction of the European Research Area and adopted the European Charter for Researchers in 2007. The UA has expressed its willingness to commit itself to gaining this label. Gaining it, which is a strong political choice, represents a challenge for the years to come." 

Didier Le Gall, 1st vice-president of the UA.

The University of Angers has been committed for many years to improving the hiring and lives of its staff, researchers, and research contributors. Through the European HRS4R label project, the University of Angers aims to go one step further by creating a collective dynamic around the actions to be carried out. This is an opportunity to reaffirm its principles and values, to draw up an inventory of its existing practices, and to point out areas for improvement in the short and long-term with a focus on the OTM-R policy and action plan.

Process overview

The implementation process will be carried out in the continuity of the existing system, namely:

  • A project group, dealing with the implementation of the actions decided, and power of proposal to adjust them.
  • COPIL (steering committee), in charge of the strategic management of the actions: respect of directions and of the agenda,
  • The Board of Directors (BoD) and the Technical Committee (TC) which approve the choices and grant the means.
  • Action groups have been set up for each of them.

Depending on the actions to be carried out, specific working groups will be set up. A member of COPIL will be responsible for the actiongroup and therefore for each action to be carried out. It will involve the project group according to the necessary skills, and the Contract Research Teacher (CT) and administrative staff who will volunteer. It will rely on the management of the University of Angers (UA) present in the project group and their integrated services in each action group

The process will take place at half-yearly intervals. Between these periods, depending on the timeliness of HRS4R achievements, the groups may meet as required by the project.The actions can be grouped into 4 main thematic areas, which overlap with the categories of the Charter and the Code:

  • recruiting
  • ethics, non-discrimination and gender
  • training
  • staff support.

The AU 's strategy is to focus primarily on actions that are fundamental and foundational to the HRS4R dynamic in each of these blocks.

Initial actions will focus heavily onrecruiting for two reasons.

  • First of all, unlike ethical issues or working conditions, recruiting is one of the areas in which the most improvements need to be made, and therefore leaves the most room for improvement.
  • Secondly, recruiting is the cornerstone of a strong and vibrant university. Better recruiting makes a lot of other things easier.

This is therefore the entry point chosen by the AU in HRS4R during the first year. More precisely, in September 2020, 7 actions will be launched. Two are one-offs and do not require a great deal of organisational work. The 5 others, linked to recruiting, are demanding in terms of implementation and full completion, which will take several years, since these actions aim to change work habitsand ways of thinking.5 actions are identified but left pending. They will be triggered after 2022, based on self-assessment and the progress of actions already undertaken.


March 2020

Implementation of the commissions relating to the project.

September 2020

Start of first phase actions (10 + 2 already underway in 2019), many of which relate to recruiting (7).

September 2021

Start of complementary actions (13)

September 2022

10 actions launched, including a block of 5 relating to training. On the occasion of the first evaluation of the HRS4R actions, adjustment in relation to actions already carried out and in progress, and setting up of a schedule for the second phase.


Know more about it

1 - How will COPIL regularly monitor the progress of the project?

Half-yearly assessment with the project group (items set up, collection of opinions, first results, corrective measures, etc.), + intermediate meetings as required.

2 - How will you involve the academic community and your main partners?

Each action will be carried out by a group mixing skills. The challenge is to combine research, teaching and administrative staff in order to confront very different views and insights of the university system. The roll-out of the actions will also be presented to the university's representative bodies: the Board of Directors (BoD), Technical Committee (TC) and the Academic Council (AC).

The BoD is the central management and decision-making body of the university for all its strategic, administrative and financial decisions. It is composed of 40 members, including representatives of the various fields of research: 8 Pr and 7 Senior lecturers+ 3 research staff, i.e. 1 Research associate (IGR), 1 Research Engineer (IGE) and 1 Technician. In addition, other administrative staff and student representatives who are not doctoral students are also involved. The TC is primarily concerned with working conditions within the institution. It is composed of 20 members including 4 MCFs+ 4 research staff, i.e. 2 ENGs, 1 ASE (assistant engineer), 1 Technician. This composition makes it possible to mobilise all staff, whatever their status.

3 - How will you ensure that the proposed actions will be carried out?

COPIL includes several key Vice-Presidents. This strong political involvement, combined with the presence of the institution's senior management, is intended not only to give impetus but also to ensure that actions are actually carried out. In practical terms, COPIL will be in charge of each action group and will therefore be in a position to ensure its implementation.

4 - How will you control the process?

The achievement criteria will be milestones in the process. They will be presented annually to the governance bodies.

5 - How will you assess the evolution for the next evaluation?

The role of COPIL, with the assistance of the Directorate for Prospective and Studies, is to establish a scoreboard based on the actions carried out,which should serve both for monitoring and evaluating the progress made.


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