Working Group, WG (Gender Balanced Working group)

The role of the working group is to cooperate in the preparation and coordination of all required activities of the HR Award process. Together with (RCG see below) are working to design, describe and implement internal procedures and documents that implement the principles of the Code and the HRS4R Charter and Strategy. The WG meets quarterly according to the planned activities in the Action Plan. It evaluates the progress and implementation of the plan for the last period and prepares the implementation plan for the next period, prepares a detailed schedule of activities and proposes a series of action steps for each activity. Drafts information for consideration and provides input or proposed plans to the RCG, which, as the coordinating research working group, will add to or adjust the system according to the work of the research groups and on specific requests or suggestions from researchers. Based on the outputs from the RCG, the WG also prepares an overview of the implementation of the Action Plan over the past period and submits a report to the COP and reports on the progress of implementation. WG meetings are organized by the HRS4R Coordinator.

Research Coordination Group, RCG (Gender Balanced Working group)

This working and monitoring group ensures the presence of researchers from all groups (R1-R4) during the preparation and implementation phases. The RCG comments on and suggests modifications to the implementation of the HRS4R strategy and also provides feedback on the opinions of the groups that will be primarily affected by these changes. The RCG follows up on the outputs of the WG, which meets on a quarterly basis according to the planned activities in the Action Plan and its activities are related to the planned activities of that quarter. The participation of the RCG is initiated by the HRS4R Coordinator through shared participation in the WG meetings or independently, or through the continuous distribution of outputs from the meetings. The working meetings and discussions on planned activities are conducted in the form of attendance/on-line or exchange of inputs.

The committee overseeing the process, COP (Steering Committee)

The Committee Overseeing the Process COP is designed to monitor the progress of the individual steps in the entry phase and also for the implementation phase. COP is monitoring the activities of the WG which cooperate with the RCG. It manages any changes in the process or timetable in terms of outputs from both WGs. The function and activities of the COP are fulfilled by the permanent advisory organ of the VRI Director. The COP approves the final drafts of all strategic documents required for all phases of the process. Commission, which will oversee fulfillment of individual steps of the Action plan, will be composed of the same members as in the first stage of the entry implementation of the HR Award (COP). Regarding the fact that these members belong to the management of the institute (director, vice directors for individual areas, including all heads of research departments and units), sufficient supervision of the implementation procedure and impact of individual activities within the whole institute will be guaranteed for implementation and support. The Steering Committee will meet at least once a month. The Implementation Committee will regularly inform the Steering Committee about the process of implementing the Action Plan. The HR Officer will become the HRS4R coordinator overseeing the entire process. HRS4R coordinator will coordinate activities, monitor the timely implementation of the proposed actions and ensure proper communication between those involved in the implementation of the Action Plan.

How the researchers groups were involved in the process?

A memo was sent to all staff on 11 September 2020 explaining the content and purpose of the HRS4R and information on the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. A questionnaire was circulated to compare institutional practices under four main headings of the charter:

  • Ethical and Professional Aspects
  • Recruitment
  • Working Conditions and Social Security
  • Training

Respondents were asked to assign a score to indicate their level of agreement or disagreement under each of the areas.

The terms of reference included:

  1. Conduct an internal analysis to compare VRI policies and practices against the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.
  2. Identify gaps between VRI practices and policies against the principles
  3. Recommend actions for VRI to adopt to address gaps identified
  4. Present the action plan to the VRI Leading Board for endorsement.

Procedure for Internal Analysis

  1. Questionnaire to key stakeholders to compare VRI practices against C&C principles
  2. Meetings with key stakeholders of research in the VRI
  3. Final Internal analysis and Action plan

Involved Groups

The principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers were examined at the first meeting, together with the importance of the VRI participation in the HRS4R. Meetings were conducted with key stakeholders of research in the VRI on the HRS4R and the principles of the Charter and Code. The communication was coordinated by the HRS4R coordinator for the HR Award.

The discussion involved a summary of the background and development of the HRS4R, a discussion on Charter and Code principles, and how they relate to current policies and practices in VRI. At the beginning of meetings, the content and purpose of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers was presented, followed by consideration of the four areas for conducting the gap analysis.

The WG together with RCG discussed the issue, possible solutions, and challenges to that, and then we have formed an action with an owner and time limit on that action for the action plan. We take the results from the survey which was feedback from our researcher‘s stakeholders and change it into something that they will see that we have done something about.

At least one of the members of the Steering Committee was appointed to attend discussion to ensure the progress of the HRS4R process and could give feedback to other members of the Steering Committee during regular meetings.

Steering Committee was asked to circulate the draft action plan and to obtain and coordinate a response from those involved in research in their areas, including research staff, principal investigators, managers, and administrators of research, and to ensure widespread consultation. The action plan was revised to reflect input and response from all stakeholders and circulated to the VRI Management for ratification and sign-off.