A European distinction for UTC Human Resources
UTC adopted the policy as of 2008 to comply with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers established by the European Commission. Since December 2016, UTC is the only French engineering college to have received the “Human resources Excellence in Research” label in this framework. This distinction denotes the high level of compliance with ethical and deontological principles, in terms of recruitment and quality of its scientific work environment and will bring with it an increased international notoriety useful to attract non-French research scientists and engineers from abroad. When we consider that some 30% of the lecturers and scientists recruited each year to UTC are non-French, this orientation takes on a strategic connotation.
Since 2015, considerable data inputs have been collected and numerous associate working documents have been drafted. This first stage consisted of analysing our needs and defining possible action paths. “In a single year, we carried out a large amount of consultations and self-diagnosis” says Sabine Braule, Director for Human Resources (UTC-DRH). To ensure efficient monitoring functions, a project team was set up with Lydia Vignolle-Dupré, Deputy Director at UTC-DRH, Marion Kaczkowski, Head of Administration of the PhD and academic Poles at UTC and also Stéphanie Rossard, in charge of European and International Projects. Consultations were organized with a group of research scientists and certain university governing staff were also approached and questioned. This collective approach had as its objective to record various points of view in regard to potential improvements to help our level of compliance with the Charter values. “The idea was to propose paths to generate continuous improvement of our practices in order to maintain and bolster an “excellence” policy thrust at UTC, positioning the university in the European Research Area (ERA) and to contribute to the university’s notoriety on the international scene”, says Anne-Virginie Salsac, a CNRS research scientist who has worked for the past 10 years at UTC-BMBI (Bio-Mechanics & Bio-Engineering) after spending 20 years professionally in the USA and in Britain. She is in charge of a CNRS-UTC team of 20 persons and is very happy with the arrangements that enhance job proposals, underlying the high level of attractiveness of the positions offered. “It is paramount that we internationalize our hunt for candidates, improve the visibility of our research units, Internet being just one medium and to ensure an “excellent” research environment. Deontology, ethics, personal merits and transparency are the key words here”.
Encouraging mobility of European research workers
Among the 33 actions selected, one important feature has been enhanced transparency of recruiting protocols. For numerous years now, UTC has developed an equitable “equal chances” recruitment policy, setting up wider selection committees present at the recruitment interviews. In the new framework of the European label of HR “excellence” distinction, the university now wishes to push even further ahead. The project calls for a post-interview synthesis to be provided for all candidates that will enable them to progress and turn a possibly negative interview, viz., ending in a refusal, into a positive step. All research positions opened for recruitment will be notified in the EURAXESS base, which hopefully will draw more non-French candidates. This continuous improvement arrangement will gradually be completed by other new measures, with the aim to progressively comply with all 40 objectives set out in the Charter*. Progress in our priority thematics here will be assessed end-2018 by the UTC Project team. In 4 years’ time, the work will be evaluated by external examiners from the 15 other European institutions who have benefited from this label and distinction.