UCBL is committed to its researchers!

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This label formalises the commitment of institutions to a process of improving the recruitment and support of researchers, but also to the continuous improvement of research activities. This commitment is based on two founding texts: the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (Charte européenne du chercheur et code de conduite pour le recrutement des chercheurs.pdf). 
 

In order to promote the career and activities of researchers, these 2 texts propose 40 principles divided into 4 main areas :

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These principles apply to all researchers, doctoral students, post-doctoral students, senior researchers and experienced researchers.

The Charter and Code identify four pillars to strengthen the research environment in Europe:

  •  Working conditions,
  •  Recruitment,
  •  Career development,
  •  Ethics

The institution wishing to obtain the label must choose a certain number of actions to implement some of the 40 principles of the Charter and the Code.

The 10 principles chosen by the University of Lyon 1 :

  •  Ethical principles
  • ​​​​ Non-discrimination
  •  Gender equality
  •  Working conditions
  •  Recruitment
  •  Merit-based judgement
  •  Salary and social security coverage
  •  Participation in decision-makers
  •  Recognition of mobility experience
  •  Career support and advice

The advantages of the label for Lyon 1 :

  •  Guarantee a favourable working environment for researchers
  •  Show the attention given to researchers/employees
  •  Support the international attractiveness of the institution
  •  Benefit from international visibility via the EURAXESS website listings
  •  In the perspective of Horizon 2020, the label is an asset for involvement in European projects

The advantages for researchers of choosing an HR institution:

  •  Their professional rights are recognised.
  •  Their mobility is valued.
  •  The balance between professional and private life is respected.
  •  Transparency of recruitment is guaranteed.
The labelling file has 3 chapters:
  • Gap analysis : 
Self-assessment of current status against each element of the charter or HR code
  • OTM-R Check-list : (recruitment policy)
Description of recruitment procedures for researchers at all levels
  • Action plan:
List of actions planned to improve each element of the HR charter or code

After documentation and assessment of the situation for each of the 40 principles by working groups representing researchers and research managers, the Gap Analysis shows the following breakdown:

  • Fully implemented +/+ 7
  • Almost but not fully implemented +/- 25
  • Partially implemented -/+ 7
  • Insufficiently implemented -/- 1

Strenghts and Weaknesses derived from this analysis are hereafter :

Ethics and professional aspects

Strengths


Even if every French Universities must comply with all the principles of research freedom and good practice in research according to their statutes and mission, sustained efforts have been and are still made to improve the quality of research at the University Lyon I especially: respect of ethics in all domains, non-discrimination, accountability, adequate professional attitude, exploitation and dissemination of research results and public engagement. Among recent initiatives we can cite a number of them: the commitment to the national charter on Ethics and professional conduct of Research, different trainings on Ethics are available including a MOOC dedicated to young researchers, a specific website called RESETIS to promote social and environmental responsibilities, a synthesis of Nagoya protocol on Biodiversity was done and published, several campaigns on plagiarism per year, identification of a specific referent for scientific integrity.

Dissemination and exploitation of the Research results is a major and well-known objective since the university counted 5500 publications each year and was identified as the number 1 French university in terms of registered patents in 2019. In addition, the university promotes an Open Access policy, with a very high number of scientific publications uploaded in the HAL website (Hyper Articles en Ligne: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr) in the last few years and with a specific project manager on Open Sciences recently appointed (https://www.univ-lyon1.fr/actualites/lettre-de-mission-de-la-referente-science-ouverte-pour-lucbl).

The university is very active in communicating to the public with a number of press releases, participation to a number of public events, opening of all the university libraries to the public, conferences and webcasts in “Sciences pour tous”, opening of scientific collections to the public.

To ensure security of data and IT system, all new comers must sign a commitment of respect and good use of all digital materials and tools especially web links. A referent for data security was appointed in each university site and campaigns to remind of the proper use of IT tools as well as risks related to the use of internet and social media are regularly done. In addition, the university is committed for the implementation of GDPR policy.

Finally, as other universities, the global management of the institute is regularly assessed by external and independent entities, HCERES specifically for Research and general and financial management by the “Cour des comptes”. The last report from Cour des comptes concluded on an overall satisfying management.

Last but not least, a strong policy to promote non-discrimination and equity in all situations (gender, racial or country origins, language, disabled persons etc) is conducted for more than 10 years at a global level. A task force was appointed to promote and implement these principles: “Mission Egalité Diversité” . A large number of initiatives are conducted each year in this idea (trainings, events, online quiz etc) and this will continue, because it is a long-term work to modify socio-cultural landmarks.

Weaknesses


Probably due to the weight and urgency related to its teaching mission and also because most research units are “mixed” with full time researchers employed by different national Research Institutes, not all management efforts are focused on research at the university. Despite a large number of international collaborations, documents or online information in other languages than French as well as English speaking administrative staff are limited. However, Lyon I university volunteers to access the status of Intensive Research Site and efforts are planned to improve the management of the research activities as well as the use of English language. This policy of internationalization will also be reinforced by the action plan shared with partner universities within the ARQUS European University Alliance (European Universities Initiative).

Regarding the professional aspects and Ethics, the main finding from our analysis is that limitations to the liberty of research are not always known. Information about all the different rules, different bodies for counselling or for a required advice are scattered and not easy to find.

Leaders of Research units or teams need adapted training courses to help them manage their research team and anticipate their potential difficulties. Help or resources to guide them in their "team manager" job are also limited.

Finally, Lyon I university is one of few French universities that grant postdoc positions with a clear contract to work as researcher, however, these young researchers do not have access to all resources and trainings they may need as yet.

Recruitment & selection

Strengths


The recruitment campaign for permanent positions are made according to the national regulations but Human Resource Department staff are committed to the application of a number of principles that are part of the European C&C. The job offers for R2 and R3 are posted on the national website of the ministry and on the university website together with the commitment to apply the principles of the European C&C. Equity is an important principle and efforts are made to help candidates choose the type of exam that suits them best according to their professional path and on a merit-based principle. Selection committees are appointed with gender balance, half participants coming from other institutions and specific trainings on good practice for selection are provided at least to the president and vice-president of each selection committee. Conflict of interest between candidates and committee members must be disclosed, merit-based consideration is reminded and a detailed non-discrimination policy is explained. The institutional Academic Committee can also validate qualification equivalences for foreign candidates.

Candidates are made aware of the general selection process including the right to complain that may lead to a re-hearing of the candidate by a different committee. The list of selected and non-selected candidates are then submitted to the institutional Academic Committee for verification that the best candidate was selected for each position before submission to the board of directors for final decision. 

Since long, mobility is strongly recommended for candidates to permanent positions and the university Lyon I has reached its objective with 67% of the recruitment coming from other institutions or cities. In addition, knowing the relatively low salary of these kind of positions in France, the HRD staff favours all elements that may give access to the best salary possible according to the French regulation.

Finally, post-doc positions are often posted on the Unit websites or the "Doctoral school" websites and PhD students are recruited as post-doc researcher with an employment contract that indicates the length and the salary. Candidates to PhD may find a number of useful information on how to candidate on the University of Lyon website.

Weaknesses


The recruitment for permanent positions should gain in transparency with a more detailed description of the selection process including how the selection committee is appointed. The possibility of a feed back from the committee to each candidate should be indicated and information or training of the selection committees to improve the quality of reports should be done.

Recruitment of young researchers is not standardized. Trainings, templates and guidelines should be made available to help team or unit leaders develop good practice in recruitment according to the OTM-R policy.

Position or job offers are often written in French only and Euraxess site is not commonly used to publish the different job offers.
Working conditions

Strengths


Lyon I university has long developed a policy to preserve and augment the number of permanent positions, some positions being created on proper funds which is not commonly done by French universities. This is possible because of a fair budget balance which guarantees satisfying working conditions. The employment of PhD students by the university without a financial support, at least equivalent to the minimal national salary, is forbidden; all PhD have a contract as doctoral researchers. Despite postdoc positions were not recognized in France until 2021, Lyon I university recruited them as post-doc researchers with a contract indicating the length of contract and the salary. In addition, successive post-doc positions in different public institutions is not accepted.

Mobility is favoured and taken into account for permanent position recruitment, flexibility of employment is also eased and the task force on quality of life at work with the action plan recently launched will improve the working conditions. Gender balance is promoted and required for all committees, the number of women has significantly increased in the recruitment for R3 positions and the very active task force on non-discrimination developed several initiatives to help women careers and work conditions. HR department identified referent staff to help the career development including change of professional path.

Different other initiatives were undertaken these last years like a plan against all types of harassment, a plan and a referent for disabled people, a mediator was appointed to help solve any inter-personal conflicts, an occupational psychologist is also available and a specific process is in place to help PhD students in case of conflict with their supervisor.

Teaching is possible for all researchers with a limited number of hours according to the regulation, co-authorship is commonly used to publish the results and intellectual property is possible for all level of researchers with a dynamic policy responsible for the 1st ranking of Lyon I university in patent number in 2019.

Weaknesses


Postdoc was not a recognized position in France until 2021, this may explain why these researchers have not access to all possible resources. They do not have access to training courses organized for PhD students like those on intellectual property, different careers in research, how to write scientific articles etc. For the same reason, they do not have representative in the consulting or decision bodies of the university.

If co-authorship is commonly used by the research teams, few of them pre-define how it will apply especially for PhD and postdocs. Young researchers are not aware of all the help they can find at the university to improve their work conditions or solve a number of questions. This is probably due to an intranet system which is not focused enough on research activities.

Training & development

Strengths


Every PhD student sign a "doctoral charter" with respective commitments between the PhD student, the supervisor and the research unit leader. In addition, a guide for the doctoral training is given to them together with a list of available and specific trainings. A specific committee must assess each year the work progress with each PhD student and the supervisor (https://edbmic.universite-lyon.fr/ed-340-bmic/site-francais/navigation/candidater-a-bmic/).

A guide to the different scientific careers is available for PhD students as well as tools and trainings to help them apply for different job offers. In addition, some staff at the HR department are devoted to career development and change in career plan including a specific referent for young researchers (information on the university HR intranet site).

Weaknesses


There is no required specific trainings when appointing new university research unit leaders or when accepting candidates for HDR diploma which gives the right to supervise PhD students. There is no assessment of management skills or knowledge of supervisor duties of the candidates to HDR diploma. The number of permanent staff with HDR diploma is somewhat limited. There is no formal limitation of number of young researchers especially PhD per supervisor. Since postdoc positions were not recognized by any French regulations, not all postdocs have an identified supervisor and postdocs do not have access to the training program organized for the PhD students. Available resources, especially at the HR department are not enough visible for young researchers.

The detailed elements of this analysis are available on the intranet for UCBL staff.

Read the Action plan