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Human Resources Excellence in Research


HR Excellence in research logoVTT is committed to establish a great research environment for Researchers. VTT has now been granted the “HR Excellence in Research” logo from the European Commission. This award gives public recognition to institutions as providers of a stimulating and favourable work environment and with a strong commitment to implement fair and transparent recruitment and appraisal procedures for researchers.

The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)

The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) is a tool to support institutions in the implementation of European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers in their human resource policies and practices.

These two documents, addressed to researchers and all other employers, provide the key elements in creating an open and transparent labour market. While the European Charter for Researchers addresses the roles, responsibilities and entitlements of researchers and their employers and funding organisations, the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers aims to improve recruitment and make selection procedures fairer and more transparent.

Recommendation on the Charter & Code in 2005, over 1200 institutions from 35 countries have expressed their explicit support for the Charter & Code and over 300 have obtained the Commission's "HR Excellence in Research" badge, including several Finnish universities.

The Five Steps of the HRS4R at VTT

The HRS4R Process consists of five steps. VTT is now on the step 3.

The internal gap analysis process (step 1) started in November 2015. The analysis was done in different work groups together with HR, researchers, work safety organization and managers and union representative. In the gap analysis we utilized also the material of our previous employee questionnaires and other internal and public reports.

In June 2016, the Declaration of Endorsement of Charter & Code was issued by VTT. In the letter, signed by President and CEO Antti Vasara, it is stated that VTT’s strategy and objectives are fully in line with those of the European Commission's policy aiming at making the researcher´s career more attractive and at enhancing the quality of research.

As a result of compilation and publication (step 2) VTT has developed an action plan, based on VTT’s strategy and the results of the gap analysis, aiming at enhancing the quality of research and at attracting the best possible candidates by making researchers' careers more attractive.

In spring 2016, as a response to the changes in innovation landscape, VTT initiated a novel kind of bottom-up strategy process together with its 2200 employees, management, customers, and partners. The process started from a situation analysis of VTT and the operational environment. All VTT teams (app. 100) were asked for input on four key issues. Five Task Forces from across VTT (app. 50 persons) analysed the input, made customer testing, and formulated recommendations on strategic choices for VTT. Strategy team (3 people) guided the process and made crystallisations out from the recommendations.

After the ground work of gap analysis with HR, a workshop was organized for research area manager, research team leaders, researchers and specialist to discuss and comment on the content and the required actions. The gap analysis document was also shared in a workspace for the workshop attendees to continue the discussion. On the final stage the required actions were synchronized to the same schedule as the actions in VTT strategy. More detailed description of the gap analysis process can be found from annex 1 of VTT HRS4R.

VTT HRS4R and action plan

The application for acknowledgement by the Commission (step 3) was made in November 2016 and resubmitted in September 2017. We got the final approval from the Commission in December 2017 on the same day Finland celebrated its 100 year of independence.

After the implementation a self-assessment of the progress made will be conducted at the latest two years after acknowledgement. (step 4).

An external assessment and renewal of acknowledgement (step 5) will be conducted by the commission in four years after VTT gets the acknowledgement.

For more information about the HRS4R Process and the Action Plan at VTT, please contact: recruitment (at) 


Links of Interest to external pages

Euraxess - the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers ( HRS4R )

EURAXESS- Researchers in motion is a European initiative providing access to information and support services to researchers wishing to pursue their research careers in Europe or stay connected to it.

The European Charter for Researchers and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers

Research Ethics and Intellectual Property Rights:

The Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity for information on and publications about research ethics.

The Academy of Finland: Research Ethics