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 1.000 staff from 60 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 organizations 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 organizations implementing the Charter & Code principles will contribute to the attractiveness of their national research systems and to the attractiveness of the European Research Area in general. The logo "HR Excellence in Research" identifies the institutions and organizations as providers and supporters of a stimulating and favorable 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.

In 2020, we worked on the renewal assessment and the design of the new project plan for 2021 – 2023.
We received the site visit in May 2021, due to COVID restrictions this was held online. The assessors accepted the renewal, as the BSC was progressing with appropriate and quality actions.

Over the past few years, we have been implementing various initiatives outlined in our Action Plan, which is centered on consolidating open, transparent, and merit-based (OTM-R) guidelines across all recruitment processes. We have also focused on increasing awareness of regulations at both the internal and broader European and national levels, enhancing internal communication, continuously improving career development (ranging from training and performance evaluation to career guidance), and strengthening gender-related activities to promote equal opportunities. Nearly all actions are complete, though some have been extended due to the inherent nature of the actions. A few have been delayed due to shifts in the center's strategic priorities, resource constraints, or unforeseen circumstances that have impacted on our ability to implement these actions.
While preparing for the renewal, we conducted a thorough analysis of the actions implemented to date and also gathered feedback from our community. In March 2024, we conducted a survey focusing on various aspects of the HRS4R. We then analyzed the survey results with six focus groups representing all professional levels and departments within the organization. These focus group meetings generated ideas and proposals for new actions for the 2024-2027 period:
  • Research Engineers
  • PhD Students
  • Postdoctoral Researchers
  • Team Leaders
  • Support Staff
  • Equality Committee
Additionally, we conducted an exercise known as the "Staff Journey," where we analyzed the experiences of staff members from the moment they first learned about BSC to their decision to engage in a recruitment process, and ultimately to their departure from the organization. The insights gained from this exercise highlighted key pain points in the staff journey at BSC, which helped us identify new actions to be implemented in the upcoming project plan. The board of Directors participated as well in this initiative.

The objective of this study and the Staff Journey was to propose ideas for the new actions of the plan for 2024 -2027. 
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 reviewed all the information and designed the project plan for 2024 -2027, which was approved by the executive board on the 20th of June 2024.

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

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

  • Strengthening Diversity and Inclusion.
  • Revitalizing Recruitment and Career Development.
  • Enhancing Training and Professional Development.
  • Promoting Community Well-being and Organizational Efficiency.

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 from 2024 to 2027, 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 impartiality and independence evaluation will be done to ensure that the HRS4R logo can be used as 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