LUT University offers a sustainable and attractive working environment for researchers and strives to improve it further with the European Commission initiative HRS4R - Human Resources Strategy for Researchers.
In January 2013, LUT signed a commitment to promote the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (Charter and Code). LUT University received the "HR Excellence in Research" award from the European Commission on 6 November 2013.
LUT has successfully passed the Award Renewal phase in November 2019 and can continue to use the "HR Excellence in Research" award.
HRS4R management – coordinating and monitoring the process
The steering committee of the LUT quality and environmental management system chaired by the vice rector for education is responsible for directing the HRS4R process at LUT. The steering committee makes decisions on the HRS4R activities and action plans and monitors the implementation of current HRS4R action plan. Researchers are represented by committee members appointed by LUT schools.
In the operational level HRS4R working group coordinates activities, follows the progress of actions, prepares documentation for assessments and organizes meetings and workshops.
Internal assessment – driving force for improvements
The researchers' career and working conditions are developed through actions deriving from an initial gap analysis based on the Code of Conduct and regular internal assessments. The development actions are described in the HRS4R action plan, which is assessed internally and revised every three years.
The latest internal review in December 2018 was based on HR workshops for researchers held in all three schools, focused discussions with support service personnel and observations on the LUT intranet and web site providing information, guidance and support to researchers. It revealed our strengths and development targets concerning every four aspect of the Charter and Code.
LUT University is proud of how it has improved its researchers' career path and HR procedures in recent years. The improvements have a strong link not only to the European principles of the Charter and Code but also to LUT's Strategic Management.
Examples of improvements and good practices developed since the commitment to the HRS4R process
HRS4R action plan – a guideline for implementation
The development targets revealed by the initial gap analysis and internal reviews are tackled by HRS4R action plans. In the first action plan for 2013–2015, LUT concentrated on developing three areas, which according to the gap analysis required the most attention, namely recruitment processes, the orientation of new employees and feedback mechanisms. For the next action plan for the years 2016–2018, Dissemination and exploitation of results, Evaluation/appraisal systems, Supervision and managerial duties, and Teaching were chosen as new development areas requiring actions.
The latest action plan for the years 2019–2021 partly continues or extends some of the previous actions but also contains new areas of development. The actions of the latest action plan cover the gap principles of Professional responsibility, Dissemination, Exploitation of results, Evaluation/ appraisal systems, Transparency (Code), Career development, Value of mobility, Access to research training and continuous development and Supervision. The Action Plan 2019–2021 is based on an internal assessment in 2018, which revealed both strengths and development targets to be addressed.
Recruitment policy – Integral part of HSR4R process
OTM-R Policy – Open, Transparent and Merit-based Recruitment Policy is an integral part of the strengthened HRS4R process. The openness and transparency in recruitment and merit-based selection of talented researchers are the basis for successful recruitment and key principles in which LUT is adhered. LUT scrutinized its own recruitment processes and practices according to the OTM-R checklist and discovered the current recruitment practices are substantially developed in the most parts.
External assessment - keeping on the course
The HRS4R process includes regular external assessments executed by the European Commission. An external assessment by peer review team making a site visit takes place every six years. The first site visit took place on 9 May 2019. As a result of the site visit and external assessment, LUT passed the award renewal phase on 6 November 2019 and can continue to use the 'HR Excellence in Research' award to promote LUT as a provider of a stimulating and favourable work environment for researchers.
In their assessment, the peer review team commended the strong link between the HRS4R process and LUT's strategy. They highly acknowledged the informal but efficient organizational culture of LUT, the supportive approach of university management to the HRS4R process and their careful protection of employees. In addition, the peers gave critical comments and recommendations on LUT's HRS4R process which will inspire our forthcoming activities.