There are some documents endorsed by a large number of EU organizations, reporting recommendations on general principles and requirements applicable to researchers, employers and founders and Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.

When you write a proposal (at least at EU level) it is fundamental stating that these principles will be respected. Other than this, you should know what rights you have, always keep them with you and pretend that they are respected!

I will not comment, even though there should be a lot to say especially in some countries. So I report here a few recommendations that I consider interesting, but I suggest to accurately read all the documents.

Here you can find The European Charter for Researchers

Here  the list of organizations endorsing the Charter and the Code of Conduct

Some principles are very general but unfortunately in some countries not respected at all such as:

“… employers or funders of researchers develop and maintain a supportive research environment and working culture, where individuals and research groups are valued, encouraged and supported, and provided with the necessary material and intangible support to enable them to fulfil their objectives and tasks …” or “Employers and/or funders of researchers should ensure that the most stimulating research or research training environment is created which offers appropriate equipment, facilities and opportunities, including for remote collaboration over research networks, and that the national or sectoral regulations concerning health and safety in research are observed …”

Some are more precise and clear and they really look like a joke if you live and work in a country like Italy:

“… particular attention should be paid to the portability of pension rights, either statutory or supplementary, for researchers moving within the public and private sectors in the same country and also for those moving across borders within the European Union. Such regimes should guarantee that researchers who, in the course of their lives, change jobs or interrupt their careers do not unduly suffer a loss of social security rights.”

“All researchers engaged in a research career should be recognised as professionals and be treated accordingly …”

“Employers and/or funders should ensure that the working conditions for researchers, including for disabled researchers, provide where appropriate the flexibility deemed essential for successful research performance in accordance with existing national legislation and with national or sectoral collective-bargaining agreements. They should aim to provide working conditions which allow both women and men researchers to combine family and work, children and career. Particular attention should be paid, inter alia, to flexible working hours, part-time working, tele-working and sabbatical leave, as well as to the necessary financial and administrative provisions governing such arrangements.”

“Employers and/or funders should ensure that the performance of researchers is not undermined by instability of employment contracts, and should therefore commit themselves as far as possible to improving the stability of employment conditions for researchers, thus implementing and abiding by the principles and terms laid down in the EU Directive on Fixed-Term Work.”

“Employers and/or funders should therefore develop strategies, practices and procedures to provide researchers, including those at the beginning of their research careers, with the necessary framework conditions so that they can enjoy the right to be recognised and listed and/or quoted, in the context of their actual contributions, as co-authors of papers, patents, etc, or to publish their own research results independently from their supervisor(s).”

“Employers and/or funders of researchers should ensure that researchers enjoy fair and attractive conditions of funding and/or salaries with adequate and equitable social security provisions (including sickness and parental benefits, pension rights and unemployment benefits) in accordance with existing national legislation and with national or sectoral collective bargaining agreements.”

“Employers and/or funders must recognise the value of geographical, intersectoral, inter- and trans-disciplinary and virtual mobility as well as mobility between the public and private sector as an important means of enhancing scientific knowledge and professional development at any stage of a researcher’s career.”

There are many other recommendations that probably look like less important to me but are much more for other people, so just download the document and make sure that it circulate within the scientific community.

Good Luck!

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