The HR Excellence in Research logo, awarded by the European Commission, is a token of commitment to continuous development of the position and appreciation of researchers along the guidelines set forth in the European Charter for Researchers. The University of Turku’s right to use the logo was renewed.
The logo is awarded for three years at a time to higher education institutions and research organisations which have joined the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) process. In the external evaluation, the University of Turku received credit especially for embedding the recommendations of the Charter in its own strategic development.
– The University of Turku attained the right to use the logo for the first time in 2013. At the renewal evaluation, three peer assessors from different European universities, who were well acquainted with our application, interviewed around 50 researchers and staff members of research support services. The site visit discussions brought forth the versatile development work so far carried out at the University during the process, the researchers' observations on the impact of the made improvements and next targets for development, accounts the coordinator of the project Johanna Mäkinen.
The assessors wrote in their report that the University is strongly committed to providing its researchers with favourable environment and that the recommendations of the Charter are clearly embedded in the strategies and processes of the university. As main improvements they enlisted increased and versatile support for researchers' career planning and providing access to many services, such as in-house staff training and sports services, also to non-employed members of the research staff.
As elements of good practice that could be recommended to other institutions, the report mentioned compulsory training in research ethics for the doctoral candidates, well-being survey also for non-employed researchers, and the regular training for doctoral dissertation supervisors.
– As minor modifications to the renewal application the assessors requested clearer targets and indicators for the actions and additional services to support especially post doc researchers. Since the University's new strategy for 2021–2030 was just being finalised, we connected the modifications to the actions, targets and indicators of the new strategy. Thus, the goal of continuous development of the position and appreciation of researchers is an even stronger part of the University's own strategic development, says Mäkinen.
In their final and favourable report, the assessors note that the progress in implementing the principles of the European Charter for Researchers is evident and cover all areas of the Charter. The comprehensive analysis and update of the Action Plan now fulfills all criteria for renewal.