In 2005, the European Commission recommended the member states to apply the principles stated in the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers as a guide on drawing up strategies and schemes for researchers.
The principles in the Charter & Code must ensure researchers "sustainable" career opportunities, with a common understanding of the research requirements contributing to free and fair research; with security of employment terms contributing to work of good quality; with shared, transparent terms contributing to increased researcher mobility; and with enhanced common research quality and increased research-based development across the EU/EEA area.
In Charter & Code, researchers are described as "Professionals engaged in the conception or creationof new knowledge, products, processes, methods and systems, and in the managementof the projects concerned."Teaching is named explicitly as being included in the term"researcher". Employees in teaching and research positions at Hedmark University of Applied Sciences will thus be covered by the concept of researcher in the Charter & Code.
In its strategic plan for 2012-16, the University has the vision of "Developing knowledge for and with working and community – on the way to University College status". Based on this ambition, in its plan the University has set itself the objective of strengthening its practice-oriented R&D profile, increasing its research activities and research quality, and developing robust research programmes. The University College will strengthen its role as a competence driver, regional player and active, innovative supplier of knowledge and research results. In accordance with the University's values of Quality, Responsibility and Proximity, it is emphasised that the University's research environment must be characterised by:
- research which meets academic quality requirements and addresses the challenges faced by society;
- active participation in national and international networks in order to promote research quality;
- respect for academic freedom and fundamental academic values;
- responsibility for a critical, independent and research ethically-aware search for knowledge;
- responsibility for disseminating research results and for making research available; and
- practice-oriented research, proximity between education and research, and close collaboration within research groups.
In the spring of 2016, Hedmark University of Applied Sciences signed the Charter & Code. By endorsing the Charter & Code, Hedmark University of Applied Sciences will ensure ongoing internal quality development in our research work, and contribute to ensuring an open European employment market for researchers, in which the University's own researchers can also become more closely involved.
Process at the Hedmark University of Applied Sciences
In 2008, the European Commission developed a methodology for how institutions in the European education and research sector can document that they adequately fulfil the principles in the Charter & Code, so that they can be approved as having implemented the Charter & Code.
The methodology entails:
a) an internal gap analysis in which the institution assesses how to fulfil each of the 40 items in total stated in the Charter & Code;
b) a personnel policy action plan/HR strategy for researchers aimed at improving/rectifying deficiencies found in the gap analysis, which is published on the University's websites;
c) an assessment from the European Commission on whether the institution can be said to fulfil the requirements, with a possible confirmation from the Commission that the institution has initiated an HR strategy for researchers which includes the principles from the Charter & Code;
d) a self-evaluation at least every two years, published on the websites; and
e) an external evaluation according to specific principles at least every four years.
A working group under UHR has performed a general gap analysis of how the principles in the Charter & Code are already observed in acts and regulations laid down by the overall Norwegian authorities and in this context has also assessed whether any of the requirements in the Charter & Code do not match the rules and principles stipulated in Norwegian legislation, and thus cannot be implemented outright in Norway. In principle (but with individual exceptions), their assessment is that the principles are not problematic in terms of Norwegian law.
Hedmark University of Applied Sciences has experienced significant development as a research institution in recent years. We can also see that the overall authority, for example in the Strukturmeldingen (structural notification), gives increased weight to further strengthening the quality and scope of Norwegian research, and points to the significance of internationalisation and international mobility in this respect. The University's rector has indicated that it is important for Hedmark University of Applied Sciences to follow up and implement the principles in the Charter & Code.
By agreement with the rector, in 2015 personnel and organisation director Finn Huseby appointed a working group comprising department director Simon Bringeland, research adviser Stian Sundell Torjussen and senior adviser Christine Nybakk who, under the leadership of the personnel director, performed an initial analysis of how HH fulfils the 40 items of the Charter & Code. On the basis of the gap analysis, the group also drew up a first draft of a personnel policy action plan/HR strategy for facilitating researchers at HH.
The working group's work was then sent to the University's academic environments for consultation. The work was presented at management meetings at all departments, and followed up in each department by the prodeans for research. In the largest departments, the proposed action plan was considered at department meetings, and after the consultation process the feedback on the proposal was considered by the working group and taken into account in the final action plan/HR strategy for researchers at the University. On 25.5. 2016, the group's final proposal was considered by the University's R&D committee; and on 15.06. 2016, the adopted HR strategy for researchers was sent to the departments and other parties with follow-up responsibility, and published on the University's websites.