Human Resources Strategy for Researchers - HRS4R

The Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación (BSC-CNS) is the leading supercomputing center in Spain. It houses MareNostrum, one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe, and is a hosting member of the PRACE European distributed supercomputing infrastructure. The mission of BSC is to research, develop and manage information technologies in order to facilitate scientific progress. BSC combines HPC service provision and R&D into both computer and computational science (life, earth and engineering sciences) under one roof, and currently has over 700 staff from 50 countries.

Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

BSC-CNS is committed to the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers. In 2013, BSC signed the Declaration of Commitment. With HR Strategy for Researchers BSC-CNS wants to keep sustaining the best framework and environment for research excellence, maintaining and improving by adopting international best practices and high-quality standards.

The "HR Strategy for Researchers" supports research institutions and funding organisations in the implementation of the Charter & Code in their policies and practices. The concrete implementation of the Charter & Code by research institutions will render them more attractive to researchers looking for a new employer or for a host for their research project. Funding organisations implementing the Charter & Code principles will contribute to the attractiveness of their national research systems and to the attractiveness of the European Research Area more generally. The logo "HR Excellence in Research" will identify the institutions and organisations as providers and supporters of a stimulating and favourable working environment.

In 2015, BSC received the European Commission's Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R) award, which recognizes BSC's commitment to the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, and furthermore commits BSC to an Action Plan to improve its capabilities and performance across a wide range of training, recruitment and gender issues.

In April 2017, BSC submitted the interim assessment and received the following feedback from the external assessors: The organization is progressing with appropriate and quality actions as described in its Action Plan. There is evidence that the HRS4R is further embedded.

With this news, BSC kept up with the implementation of the actions designed in the project plan 2017 – 2020.

In 2020, BSC worked on the renewal process with the assessment and design of the new project plan for 2021 – 2023.
First, the internal HRS4R Steering Committee reviewed the former Action Plan 2017-2020 and commented on the state of each action, this is called the Gap Analysis.
Then, in May 2020, all BSC staff received a survey asking how BSC complies with the European norms/principles, 44% of all BSC staff participated.
The detailed results of this survey were analysed by 7 gender-balanced Focus Groups representing all professional levels and departments of the organization:

  • Research Engineers
  • PhD Students
  • Postdoctoral Researchers
  • Team Leaders
  • Support Staff
  • Equality Committee
  • Works Council

The objective of this study and an Employee Journey survey made in real-time (during the meetings) was to propose ideas for the new actions of the plan for 2021 -2023. 
The final goal of this action plan is to be defined in an inclusive and open process, involving several focus groups and the steering committee with representatives from all research professional categories, areas and roles.

The HRS4R steering committee gathered all the information and designed the project plan for 2021 -2023, which was approved by the Executive Board on the 27th of November 2020. 

Then, all the information of the renewal process and action plan was submitted to EURAXESS website.

After receiving the approval of Euraxess to continue on with the final steps of the process, a Site Visit / Assessment Audit was organized online on the 27th of May 2021 with 3 External Evaluators. This event allowed the evaluators to meet with representatives from all profiles, departments and responsibilities at BSC. The objective was to make sure that the HR Excellence award was embedded in the daily work and practices at BSC.

In early June 2021 the External Assessors gave BSC the final approval to renew the HRS4R award and implement the new Action Plan.

It is an extensive and ambitious project with the following highlights:

  • Consolidate the open, transparent and merit-based (OTM-R) guidelines in all recruitment processes
  • Foster the awareness of regulations (internal or at European of national level) and the internal communication
  • Continuous improvement of the career development (From Training, performance evaluation to career guidance)
  • Strengthen the Gender activities boosting the equal opportunities

This action plan is committed to the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers and the actions proposed will take place during 2021 to 2023, after this period the action plan will be reviewed by an External Committee which will carry out the Assessment audit, and BSC will adjust if necessary the action plan, and propose new actions for the subsequent 3-year period. Every 3 years the external impartially and independence evaluation will be done in order to ensure that the HRS4R logo could be used as a proof of BSC HR practices.


HRS4R executive summaries - project plans:

BSC HR Strategy for Researchers Action Plan 2015 - 2016

BSC HR Strategy for Researchers Action Plan 2017 - 2020

Open, transparent and merit-based (OTM-R) information:

BSC Open, Transparent and Merit-based Recruitment of Researchers Checklist - 04/2017

BSC Open, Transparent and Merit-based Recruitment of Researchers Checklist - 11/2020  

In the link below you can find the current OTM-R practices at BSC-CNS: