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Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)




The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

The ‘HR Strategy for Researchers’ supports research institutions and funding organisations 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 recognises 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.


Download the HRS4R Technical Guidelines for Institutions.pdf

Download the hrs4r_procedure_flow_slide.pptx


722  organisations are currently holding the HR Excellence in Research award.

The "HR Excellence in Research" award gives public recognition to research institutions that have made progress in aligning their human resource policies with the principles set out in the "Charter & Code". Institutions that have been awarded the right to use the icon can use it to highlight their commitment to implement fair and transparent recruitment and appraisal procedures for researchers.

If you wish to apply for the HR Award please view the instructions displayed in the Initial Phase tab in this page.

If you are in the Implementation/Award renewal phase please view the instructions displayed in the Implementation & Award renewal tab in this page.



Visit the Policy Library:

  • Brochures

    Download brochures about the HRS4R in multiple languages


  • Documents

    Find additional documentation and templates on the HR Strategy process.

    Strengthened HRS4R process


Special information for UK institutions

UK institutions entering the process as newcomers, or switching from ‘The Concordat’ to the HR implementation via the European HRS4R.

Submitting your applications to HRS4R assessment will commit you to implementation under the rules of the strengthened procedure and assessment by international peer reviewers.






HRS4R in figures

Find out what are institutions which have most recently been awarded, navigate a map to locate the recognised organisations and see the latest figures about the implementation of the HR Strategy for Researchers in Europe.




HRS4R Events & News

ERA Council recommendations

The European framework for research careers and the new Charter for Researchers are now a reality

A fundamental step for strengthening the European Research Area: last 18 December 2023, the Council formally adopted the Council Recommendation on a framework for research careers, including a new Charter for Researchers.​​​​ With this Council Recommendation and the new Charter for Researchers
conference rc nov 2023

Conference on researchers' careers and HRS4R Info Day 2023 - online participation only

Research & Innovation hold the answers to most of Europe’s societal challenges. The lack of career stability undermines the attractiveness of research careers in Europe. Considering the pivotal role of researchers in shaping Europe’s future, the European Commission is accelerating its efforts, under

Save the date: Conference on researchers' careers and HRS4R Info Day 2023

A two-days hybrid event dedicated to Researchers' careers will take place in Brussels next 21 and 22 November. 21 November (afternoon only) will be dedicated to important policy updates such as the EC proposal for Council Recommendation on Researchers Careers, the new Charter, and the Talent
ERA pic

Proposal for a Council Recommendation on a European framework for research careers

Yesterday the Commission adopted the proposal for a Council Recommendation on a European framework for research careers, including the new Charter for Researchers, and launched the ResearchComp website. Once implemented, these measures will have a decisive role in making research careers in Europe



HRS4R New Application Modalities


Please note that as of 15 May 2018, ALL institutions interested to initiate the application for the "HR Excellence in Research Award" shall use the HRS4R E-tool - the European Commission's official platform, facilitating the management of the HRS4R process.

Enrolment in the HRS4R is voluntary and non-binding.

HRS4R implies a long-term commitment throughout many years, including joint efforts and coordination with various internal and external stakeholders. It is nevertheless a rewarding process as it ensures institution's transition from progress to quality, in terms of the implementation of the 40 principles of the Charter and Code.

For detailed information regarding the application process, please consult the technical guidelines below. Further questions should be addressed to the functional mailbox

Download the HRS4R Technical Guidelines for Institutions.pdf


The outcome of the assessment is officially announced via email (the email address provided as contact when completing the first step of the application process). Experts' comments and recommendations can be found in the detailed consensus report which can be found in the HRS4R Admin's dashboard.  

From this moment on, the institution can use the "HR Excellence in Research" emblem associated to its name on the institution's website, on social media, on marketing materials and collaterals, etc. in order to promote its stimulating and favourable work environment for researchers. The HR Excellence in Research emblem, together with the branding guidelines can be downloaded from the HRS4R Admin's dashboard at any time.

As a EURAXESS member institution, the award emblem will be activated on the EURAXESS portal as well. Every time the institution will publish a vacancy on EURAXESS, the "HR Excellence in Research" icon will appear next to its name.

The institution will be also listed on the EURAXESS portal under the header of "HR Acknowledged Institutions" together with a link to your HR Strategy published on the institution's website.






After the “HR Excellence in Research Award” is granted, the participating institution must document progress and quality of the actions and accompanying measures (such as embedding the HRS4R process into their current policies and practices).  

The institution must submit to the European Commission an Internal Review on how its Action Plan has been implemented. The first Internal Review must take place within 24 months after the award was acknowledged (for Interim Assessment). The second Internal Review will be performed within 36 months after the outcome of the Interim Assessment. The HRS4R process will continue in a cyclical way, with new Internal Reviews every 36 months for Award Renewal (alternating the organisation of site visits).

Starting 20 September 2018, ALL institutions enrolled in the Implementation and Award Renewal processes of the HRS4R procedure shall use the HRS4R e-tool for reporting purposes. 


What phase is your institution in?

Check the specific process flows for details about responsibilities and timelines.





Preparing the Internal Review for the Implementation or Award Renewal Phase?

Secure your access to the HRS4R e-Tool.

The purpose of the Internal Review is two-fold. It allows the participating institutions to assess own activity and report on the status of achievement for each of the actions previously planned, alter actions or timing of actions if necessary, also to create new actions for the upcoming years.

If the deadline for the Internal Review is approaching (at least 3 months before), the institution should contact for assistance regarding access to the HRS4R e-tool and online management of the reporting process.

You will receive assistance from the RTD CHARTER team at the European Commission in order to have a smooth and quick transition of your institution’s application files from paper to digital, in the HRS4R e-Tool.  Whenever you encounter difficulties throughout the process, you can send an email for clarifications

When sending an email to RTD Charter, please make sure you mention the full name of your institution, country, case number in the HRS4R e-Tool (if applicable), contact person and the exact stage in the HRS4R process.

In order to access the HRS4R e-Tool, interested institution needs an organisation account on EURAXESS. Registration and membership are free of charge.

The institution has to assign a contact person to be granted the role of HRS4R Organisation Administrator (Admin). Only this designated person will have access to the HRS4R e-tool to upload data and to be the interface with the European Commission, on behalf of the institution, regarding the HRS4R process.

Please note that in order to be granted the HRS4R Admin role, your organisation should be first registered as an EURAXESS member. The following rules also apply:

  • The domain of your email must be in the URL of the organisation.
  • Only one user per organisation can be granted the role.

Request the role of HRS4R Admin using the button below:


Should you need to update the HRS4R contact person in the e-tool due to changes in your organisation, please contact the technical helpdesk:, with the name, role, e-mail address and telephone number of the new contact person.


You can find step-by-step details on how to perform the above on the HRS4R webpage or in the HRS4R Technical Guidelines for Institutions.pdf .









HRS4R e-learning module

The HRS4R e-learning module is a video-tutorial with step-by-step technical instructions for organisations on the application process to the HR Award, as well as the steps to pursue for the implementation and award renewal phases. It also includes background information about the Charter & Code, the endorsement procedure, the benefits of obtaining the HR logo, the timeframe for submissions, and much more.

The HRS4R e-learning module complements the Technical Guidelines with visual content and explanation

Access the e-learning module for organisations