European Charter for Researchers

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The European Charter for Researchers , also known as the Science Charter , is a code of conduct issued by the European Commission for researchers and their employers or sponsors. The Charter for Researchers outlines the rights and obligations of researchers and their funding institutions, the subsequent code of conduct for the recruitment of researchers formulates principles for the award of research positions and funding.

On March 11, 2005, the European Commission published the Charter as part of a recommendation. Scientists worked on the paper. With this recommendation, the Commission aims to contribute to the development of an attractive, open and stable European labor market for researchers .

Content of the charter

The paper is divided into three parts: the first part deals with the rights and obligations of every researcher: freedom of research, ethical principles of the researcher, scientific honesty and the obligation to publish and declare.

The second part contains general principles and requirements for employers, research funders and funders. Employers and sponsors should create a motivating work environment ; All researchers who have embarked on a corresponding professional career should be regarded as members of a professional group and treated accordingly with respect, from doctoral students to professors . The charter calls for a contractually stipulated supervisory and working relationship for young researchers . Researchers are to be paid appropriately at all stages of their professional careers. The trend to give scientists only short-term employment contracts is expressly criticized. Pension, social and health insurance are also cited as desirable, which in practice amounts to avoiding scholarships in favor of employment. Flexible working time models and childcare options should make it possible to reconcile work and family.

The third part, the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers , sets out principles for the recruitment of researchers. Employers and research sponsors should define recruitment procedures that are open, efficient, transparent and internationally comparable. A wide range of specialist knowledge and skills had to be represented in selection committees, and there had to be a balance between men and women. A wide range of selection methods is required, such as evaluations by external experts or face-to-face interviews.

Goal and implementation

The aim is for the recommendations to be gradually implemented nationally so that the charter and code of conduct become a seal of quality for research institutions and funding institutes. In the future, scientists within the European Union should be able to turn to a central complaints office and initiate a review if they see rights or obligations formulated in the charter violated - at least in those cases in which they and their university or company use the charter for researchers have signed.

However, the Charter for Researchers is only accepted by some research institutions as a model, as a “best practice” model, while other declarations only speak of the long-term goal of implementation.

In addition to the European Commission, other organizations involved in European research policy, such as Eurodoc or the Marie Curie Fellowship Association , are also calling for consistent implementation of the Charter .

In Austria , Switzerland and Italy , the rectors' conferences and individual universities have already spoken out in favor of implementing the charter.


  • German science organizations criticize the fact that the term 'researcher' in the Charter is too broad. [1]
  • ESIB points out in a statement that research begins with the master’s degree and not with the doctorate.
  • Commentators do not see the freedom of research as guaranteed; It should be made clear that such research projects must also be possible for scientists whose social relevance is not necessarily immediately apparent [2] . The charter for researchers is a "quasi official sanctuary" for the " economization of research" ( Heureka 2/05 ).
  • The financial consequences of implementing the Charter for researchers are not to be neglected. In particular, the introduction of social security for all researchers causes high costs for Germany, where tax-free and social benefit-free scholarships are quite common. It is therefore feared that fewer researchers will be funded if the financial resources remain the same.
  • Since the Charter and the Code of Conduct are only recommendations, it is feared that words will not be followed by actions.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Declarations of endorsement of Charter & Code ( English ) European commission. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved April 1, 2019.