The project aims at establishing a standard European R&D setting for researchers at TBU CPS in Zlín.
The project output involves the design and implementation of strategic management of the research centre focused on the leadership and the development of human resources – Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R). The project implementation is associated with winning the Human Resources Excellence in Research Award (HR Award) that is granted by the European Commission (EC) to research organisations that meet the principles of the Code of Conduct in the European Research Area. The standard is defined through the 40 principles laid down in the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (EC&C). For a research organization, obtaining the EC’s HR Award certificate is a formal qualification attribute of being a member of community of organizations sharing the European Research Area that enables effective communication, cooperation and mobility as well as funding research, development and innovations to safeguard further economic and social development and competitiveness of EU countries.
Drafting and implementing HRS4R is based on analysing how the EC&C principles are currently applied in the setting of TBU CPS, identifying weaknesses (gap analysis), and developing an action plan containing measures to gradually achieve the standards set out in the EC&C. The implementation of the measures in the TBU CPS situation will lead to a change in the concept of managing the staff and setting a strategic level of managing the research centre focused on the leadership and development of human resources while shaping the corporate culture oriented on adopting and sharing values, principles and codes of conduct in line with EC&C.
1. Gap analysis
Drafting HRS4R is based on analysing how the EC&C principles are currently applied in the CPS setting, and identifying weaknesses (gap analysis). The analysis made use of the following methods: analysing the wording of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (ECH&C); analysing the national legislation relating to the ethical behaviour of research organizations; analysing the standards that drive the ethical conduct of the TBU staff; analysing the standards that drive the ethical conduct of the CPS staff; reviewing the best practices relating to the ethical conduct of staff members and managers of research organizations in selected EU countries; and analysing the opinions of CPS staff members and managers on to what extent each of the EC&C principles are applied in the TBU CPS setting.
Opinions of CPS staff and managers on the degree to which each of the EC&C principles are applied were analysed by means of a questionnaire survey. The survey comprised of a total of 40 principles laid down by EC&C as general rules and requirements detailing the roles, responsibilities and rights of researchers, management, employers and stakeholders. Through each of the questionnaire items the respondents rated the extent to which the principle is applied in the setting of that workplace. The forty EC&C principles are split into four groups as part of the questionnaire: A. Ethical and professional aspects; B. Recruitment; C. Labour conditions and social security; D. Learning and training.
All of the CPS researchers, research group leaders and managers became involved in the survey. To obtain the views of respondents who are able to assess the in-house CPS setting from the outside due to the close cooperation, a group of external CPS partners was included in the participant group. The partners were selected by the management of CPS in a manner that makes sure that the entities include companies based in the Zlín Region and throughout the Czech Republic, 100% Czech companies and firms incorporating foreign capital, businesses of all sizes from small to large, and companies with different rates of existing cooperation.
Gap analysis (the summary of individual steps)
• Read through the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers
• Analyse national legislation relating to the ethical conduct of research organizations
• Analyse TBU standards relating to the ethical conduct of research organizations
• Analyse UNI (CPS) standards relating to the ethical conduct of research organizations
• Review best practices relating to the ethical conduct of research organizations in EU countries
• Consult the development of the gap analysis with the co-ordinator at CEBIA-Tech (FAI)
• Develop the questionnaire survey and draft the questionnaire
• Execute the questionnaire survey
• Conduct education activities relating to the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers
• Carry out a business trip to exchange knowledge in the field of strategic management of research organisations in line with HR Award principles: University of Southampton and Portsmouth University, the UK; Technical University Delft and Leiden University, the Netherlands
2. Action plan
Focus Group (FG) became the method of choice to produce draft measures and develop an action plan to carry out the proposed measures to amend the management of human resources in accordance with EC&C principles. Three groups of FG participants were formed and included CPS research staff, research group leaders and managers, and external partners. As part of the opening of the FG meeting, the participants were informed on the results of the gap analysis; subsequently, they were suggesting – through managed discussion – measures to eliminate the weaknesses in applying the EC&C principles in the CPS settings. The discussion aimed at formulating relevant measures for short-term (1 year) and long-term horizons of the implementation.
The gap analysis and the action plan were sent, in the form of the specified templates, to the European Commission for evaluation. According to requirements, this action needs to be done within 12 months from the opening step of the project, that is, the expression of an intention to achieve HR Award with the aim of obtaining a positive EC evaluation, which took place on 22 November 2017. As part of the process of evaluating the submitted input data, EC representatives will arrive to Zlín to assess the conditions directly on the site. CPS researchers will be informed on the results of the questionnaire survey and on the measures being developed as part of the action plan; this took place at a joint meeting with the CPS management hold on 12 December 2018.
Researchers also take part – on an ongoing basis – in training and education in the field of strategic management of research organizations; human resources; Open, Transparent, Merit Based Recruitment (OTM-R) principles; and financial management. In addition, activities are available for PhD students to improve their quality and competitiveness in science and research, as well as for post-doctoral students and junior researchers (5 years after achieving the doctoral degree) to enhance their knowledge as part of career development.
Research staff members are kept updated on project progress through the CPS/TBU websites, CPS Facebook profile, CPS newsletter circulated to staff via email, InfoPoint, posters installed on walls and as part of stairways in the CPS premises, and printed media (Universalia, the Zlínský deník newspaper, and technical journals).