HR Excellence in Research

5 years of HR Excellence in Research award at UMCS

On 6th July 2017 The European Commission granted Maria Curie-Skłodowska University with HR Excellence in Research award. This event was previously prepare and realized by a series of activities of the university authorities. From that moment on, consequent efforts are being made to create more and more researcher-friendly University.

What is the significance of HR Excellence in Research award for UMCS?

Being granted with the HR Excellence in Research award by the European Commission is a significant sign of the quality of a given institution. It is a confirmation of high standards connected to conducting transparent recruitment for vacant posts, creating good working conditions in science and R&D, and countering discrimination. Obtaining such an award was, without doubt, a great step in significant intensification of activities, that were aimed at improving the standards of work of the researchers. The European Commission supports institutions implementing the principles contained in the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for their Recruitment (the Charter and the Code). The Charter describes the rights and obligations of researchers, their employing institutions and research funding organisations operating in the European Research Area. The Code, on the other hand, is a general set of principles and requirements that employers and funders should follow when recruiting researchers.

After two years of receiving this award, in 2019, an interim report from implementing the HR Excellence in Research Strategy has been sent to the European Commission. In order to induce some more determined actions, in October 2020 a Monitoring team for the implementation of the HR Excellence in Research Strategy at UMCS has been appointed. This team consists of people, who are working in general university units, representants of academics and PhD students. The team has cyclic meetings, on which it analyses up-to-date situation at the UMCS, agrees on corrective and self-improvement actions to be taken and supervises their implementation.

Participation of people from different sectors of UMCS enables precise research, more adequate activities and broadens discussion topics. Thanks to the work of the Team, the level of awareness and commitment among academic society members, joint in creating more worker- and student-friendly UMCS. University authorities support all of the activities, that are aimed at achieving this goal.


What activities, connected with rules referred to in the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for their Recruitment have already been conducted at UMCS? What do you think about the way this academic society functions?

The variety of activities taken is very wide. It is possible to create 4 main sections: ethics and professionalism; staff recruitment; working conditions; training and career development. The most important activities, that had been conducted, include: Appointment of the Ombudsman for Academic Rights of UMCS; accepting the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin Strategy in 2019-2025; introduction of cyclic training on equality, anti-bullying and discrimination; development of an Anti-discrimination Guidebook; development and adoption of a Gender Equality Plan; adoption of an Anti-Bullying Regulation; development of a Code of Ethics for UMCS Academic Teachers and an analogous Code of Ethics for UMCS Doctoral Students; opening of a Welcome Centre for Foreign Students and Academics; development of a Guide for Foreign Academics; organisation of lectures on career planning for academics; organisation of cyclical meetings in a series of Business Mentoring Sessions or, finally, launch of a website dedicated to academics: All of these activities are the answer to the needs of researchers, who are a part of our academic society. We are aware, that there is a lot more to be done. We want UMCS to become one of the most researcher-friendly place of work with highest standards connected with conducting open, transparent and merit-based recruitment processes and countering all forms of discrimination.

A Monitoring team, that was mentioned above has created an HR Excellence in Research Strategy for 2022-2025. It was presented to the European Commission as an Internal Review report in September 2022. What are the activities planned in the Strategy?

A full list of activities, both conducted and those about to be done can be found on our website under: HR Excellence in Research: They correspond to the 4 areas regulated by the provisions of the Charter and the Code. Among the most important of the planned activities are: conducting a job satisfaction survey among the staff of the UMCS; developing a recruitment procedure in line with the OTM-R policy (Open, Transparent and Merit-based Recruitment of Researchers); supporting staff in teaching in a gender-sensitive way; developing an anti-discrimination procedure; continuing to translate the most important internal documents of the UMCS into English; organising integration events for parents, carers of dependants of their children and wards employed and studying at the UMCS; conducting regular workshops among staff on work life balance skills, and many others. These activities have been selected by two Teams operating at the UMCS: the previously mentioned Monitoring Team for the implementation of the HR Excellence in Research Strategy at the UMCS, and the one established in March 2022: Team for the Gender Equality Plan at UMCS.

At what stage is UMCS currently in the process of applying for renewal of the award?

It is worth mentioning, that HR Excellence in Research award is not obtained once and for good. To possess one, means to work hard, achieve new goals, act accordingly to new challenges. Our activities are being graded. In order to apply for renewal of the award, the next interim report in Euraxess system had been sent. We have now successfully completed the necessary validation and are awaiting the appointment of 3 external evaluators. The meeting will undoubtedly be an opportunity to present the results of the activities undertaken so far. We are keen for the evaluation team to get to know our University, those involved in the implementation of the HRS4R Strategy and representatives of researchers at different stages of their careers. We are open to any suggestions from the experts. We believe that they will help us to take actions that best implement the recommendations of the Charter and Code. Much has already been done. We intend to continue unabated.

We spoke about the role of the HR Excellence in Research award in the development of the University with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Science and International Cooperation, Chairman of the Monitoring Team for the Implementation of the HR Excellence in Research Strategy at UMCS, Prof. Dr hab. Wiesław I. Gruszecki.


Photo: Bartosz Proll


    Date of addition
    21 November 2022

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