Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)




The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

Important message to institutions:

Site Visits: All HRS4R in-house audits planned for 2020 Q4 will be conducted remotely with the consent of the host institution. Should your institution be at renewal stage, once you submit your self-assessment online via the e-tool, the EC will be in contact with you to set a date for the remote visit together with a panel of independent experts. Should the institution prefer a classic on-site visist, the audit will be postponed to early spring 2021. Meanwhile, institutions involved in the process can continue using the HR Excellence in research award.

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.


Download the HRS4R procedure chart (52.79 KB)


564 organisations have received the HR Excellence in Research award.


Willing to apply for the HR Award?

Are you in the Implementation/ Award Renewal phase?



Special information for 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.





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

HRS4R Events & News

Image of (317200) 2019 INFO-DAY - Ensuring Excellent Research by Investing in Researchers' Talents, Skills & Career Development - Implementing the Human Resources Strategy (HRS4R)
29/01/2019 - 29/01/2019
Belgium, Brussels
REGISTRATION OPEN 10 seats still available on first come first served basis. To book your seat, please send an email...
Image of (236899) Raising perspectives for talented researchers by institutions implementing the Human Resources Strategy (HRS4R) & Complying with art. 32 of the H2020 multi-beneficiary grant agreement
24/10/2017 - 24/10/2017
Belgium, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode (Brussels)
This event addresses all beneficiaries and potential applicants of H2020 contracts/projects who need to comply with article 32 stipulating the...
Image of (125913) How to attract best talented researchers
25/04/2017 - 25/04/2017
North Macedonia, Skopje
The purpose of this regional workshop is to fully inform ‘newcomers’ (research performing institutions and research funders) on the principles...
Image of (24749) Promoting gender equality and diversity for researchers : is the task finished ?
07/03/2016 - 11/03/2016
Belgium, Liège
Early November 2015, the 7th EU Gender Summit took place in Berlin.This was a good opportunity to measure how far...


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HRS4R Acknowledged Institutions

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.













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 Technical Guidelines for the Initial Phase (1.95 MB)







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

The organisation 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 can 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 organisation 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.

After the successful submission of the Internal Review using the HRS4R E-Tool, the institution proceeds to the next level of the process, which consists of two separate steps:



The assessment of the application is the second step of the External Assessment phase and can only be initiated if an application has passed the administrative eligibility check.

Each application will be assessed by one (in Interim) or three (in Award renewal) expert(s)/individual peer reviewer(s), ideally the same involved in the previous assessment phase(s).

The expert(s) use(s) standard templates and criteria for all applications in order to ensure fair treatment for all institutions.

N.B: The template used by the assessor(s) can be downloaded from the Policy Library. It is strongly recommended to look into it carefully before submitting the Internal Review, in order to make sure every specific requirement has been considered.

At this stage, progress and quality of the actions and accompanying measures (such as embedding the HRS4R process) are assessed by the expert(s).

The assessment at this stage consists of a detailed assessment followed by recommendations.








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