As an active participant in European Research Framework Programs, Bar-Ilan University (BIU) is committed to implementing the Human Resources Strategy for Researchers under the Charter & Code (C&C). Our HR strategy is described in the attached table, and is designed to ensure that we can implement the C&C principles as found in the Declaration of The Israeli Forum of Vice Presidents for Research.
The HR strategy includes five stages. The first stage is an internal analysis in which the research institution compares our HR policies and practices to the C&C principles. In 2013, BIU created an Ad Hoc Forum to conduct this analysis, and the Forum completed its work last year. The Forum participants included the Rector, the Vice President for Research, BIU's Legal Counsel, the Head of Human Resources for Academic staff, the Head of the Research Authority, and representatives among new and seasoned faculty researchers.
Through assessments and interviews, the Forum reviewed the 40 principles of the C & C, and analyzed differences between our policies and procedures, and the C&C principles.
In addition to our comparison to the C&C principles, the Forum examined BIU's practices in relation to relevant Israeli legislation (the Council for Higher Education Law and it's regulations, the National Council of Israel Research and Development declaration and guidelines, the National Council for Bio Ethics Law, Equality of Opportunity in Employment Law and other binding regulations). The Forum also examined the general practice of employment at BIU, and other university procedures, regulations, and statutes such as guidelines governing inventions, patents, and technology transfer.
Based on the Forum's evaluation of the 40 C&C principles, the Forum identified several gaps between BIU's practices. To address these gaps, the Forum then distributed a qualitative survey among BIU's faculty. Respondents were given the choice whether or not to remain anonymous. (Respondents who chose not to remain anonymous could be contacted by the Forum for further follow-up.) The survey examined issues related to the C&C, the BIU academic work environment, and ways BIU can support and encourage its researchers to perform research.
The Forum received 148 survey responses. On the basis of both the Forum's own evaluation and the survey respondents, the Forum identified gaps in the following three C&C principles.
- Lack of transparency in BIU regulations and statutes pertaining to the work of university researchers.
- Lack of training and guidance in developing research proposals (locating funds, writing grants, and managing research funds).
- Lack in encouragement for new researchers without tenure to submit research competitive proposals with the assistance and training of experienced researchers with a proven track record in securing grants.
To close these gaps, the Forum recommends the following strategies in advance of BIU's implementation of HR Strategy for Researchers, stage two – the Action Plan.
- Raise awareness among all researchers and students with regard to institutional regulations and procedures governing the work conditions of researchers and the performance of research. For example, this awareness involves issues related to conflict of interest and ethical practices.
- BIU will conduct training sessions on topics identified in the faculty survey such as locating funding sources, developing proposals, and managing grants, publish the training program and a "Good Practice Manual."
- BIU will raise awareness among new researchers without tenure regarding the terms of their employment and ability to submit research grant proposals on an ongoing basis .
The Forum has drafted the attached Action Plan to reduce these gaps, subject to approval by BIU's senior management.