Gap analysis

Freedom of research doesn't seem to cause major difficulties at URCA. It is guaranteed subject to compliance with legislation. Academic freedom is clearly stated in URCA's Code of Ethics. In addition, the Doctoral Charter also incorporates the principle according to which the choice of doctoral subject is based on a voluntary agreement between the doctoral student, the doctoral supervisors and management of the host research unit; it is subject to validation by the management of the doctoral school and the enrolment establishment. […] "


However, several obstacles were highlighted when the principle of freedom of research was mentioned.

  • The difficulty related to funding

Researchers spend a lot of time seeking funding, which prevents them from spending that time on their research assignment. They feel under pressure with regard to funders (about the time needed to do the research, sometimes even the content).

63.47% of respondents believe that their freedom of research is limited because of the resources allocated

It is a large number, and this feeling was noticeable at the working groups' meeting.

There are HRS systems to support project coordinators (see HRS IR reference document from 2013 and then from 2017) which allocate 20 tutorial-equivalent hours for a project coordinator. There is no possibility of having HRS in the implementation phase.

  • The issue of time

This issue always comes up first with teacher-researchers when the International Projects Unit asks them about the main obstacles to research submissions. Researchers would like to have time to enable them to submit and/or monitor the projects obtained

  • Conditions as regards equipment:

Researchers do not necessarily have all the ideal working conditions in terms of equipment (office/computer available). Researchers, in certain fields, sometimes find themselves isolated (notably SHS (Human and Social Sciences)).

  • The difficult reconciliation between respecting the freedom of research themes and the shared project at establishment level.

URCA has the tools to promote ethical principles. A vice-chair has been dedicated to this issue since 2016. An Ethics and Professional Conduct committee was created in 2017 at establishment level. This committee drafted a Code of Ethics which was adopted in 2019 by the Board and distributed to all researchers. It operates in the following areas: scientific integrity, ethics of research and academic activities, the fight against discrimination, the rights and obligations of civil servants, ethical supervision of video protection.

In accordance with the legislation, the University also has a scientific integrity point of contact and a professional conduct point of contact. A Whistleblower point of contact is currently being recruited. At the same time, the fight against discrimination was highlighted with, on the one hand, the appointment of a disability officer and a disability unit and, on the other hand, that of an Equality and diversity officer who has created a system for combating sexual and gender-based violence and finally a point of contact for combating racism and anti-Semitism.

In accordance with national regulations, training in scientific integrity is given in doctoral schools.

91.02% of respondents state that compliance with ethical principles is important in their research activities

This figure is encouraging, but it means that more awareness of the issue is needed to improve it.

Moreover, following the meeting of the working groups and the analysis of the questionnaire, it transpires that:

  • There is little or no knowledge among researchers of the tools and devices provided by the University
  • Communication is necessary not only among young researchers but also among the oldest

Several points were discussed during the working groups:

  • With regard to plagiarism and the fight against it. There is Anti-Plagiarism software (Compilatio) at URCA, but not all researchers are aware of its existence and do not necessarily know how to use it.
  • There is an obligation with regard to societal impact in a certain number of projects (European/ANR), but not in all. In addition, communication to the general public seems insufficient even if there are already events (science festival/Maison de la science/cafe/media library)
  • In terms of any conflicts about the various authors or with the doctoral supervisor, there may be concerns. Laboratory notebooks are sometimes used, but not systematically
  • There is a problem with the data (which is not down to the researcher and which must be found). How can data be stored and archived?

89.84% of respondents believe that it is important that their work is useful to society

Researchers seem to have general knowledge of the strategic objectives of their establishment, but knowledge is sometimes limited to just the focuses of laboratories.

Respect for University strategies is sometimes seen as a constraint or even an infringement on the freedom of research.

In the same vein, legal obligations (the need to obtain authorisations, compliance with GDPR regulations/Research on human subjects) are sometimes little known and often perceived as constraints.

The funding mechanisms seem to be well known to researchers. The support departments (Research/DREDI (Department of External Relations and International Development) work to promote this knowledge (mapping of laboratory research themes to link to calls for tenders, at least for European projects). Newsletters are distributed to enable communication on these mechanisms and training is organised.

At the level of the DRV (Department of Research and Valorisation), the DREDI and the SCRs (joint research departments), there are resources staff to help set up projects, even if they are not always correctly identified.

The contractual and legal obligations are not always sufficiently well known to researchers. Meetings to raise awareness exist but there are usually not many people. Legal monitoring exists at research level, but not in a structured way.

There is a problem with data management. A data backup system will be put in place but it is not yet well known. What about the other issue of archiving?

Researchers are aware of the need to manage public money well. In addition, all requests for the use of public money for research projects are subject to checks. Laboratory secretaries enter purchase orders in dedicated software (SIFAC). The managers of the SAIC (Industrial and Commercial Activities Department) Research cluster check them and then send them to the Director (or Deputy Director or Inspection Manager) who carries out a second check before validation. The procedure exists but has not been written yet.

However, difficulties may arise. For example, the funds are often used to finance large items of equipment (investment) which are underused for reasons related to financing operations (consumable and maintenance).

When it comes to societal impact, most research projects now require a return for society. In addition, URCA is developing numerous events aimed at the general public (science festival, maison de la science, citizen cafes (public talks), etc.). Despite everything, the recognition of the researcher's work needs to be improved both internally (by other researchers in other fields) and externally (General public).

78.78% of respondents state that they make the general public aware of their research work

This figure can therefore be improved.

In terms of open science, URCA supports open-access by offering its teacher-researchers the possibility of freely distributing their scientific publications free of charge via the HAL portal. The submission of scientific publications, in agreement with the co-authors and in accordance with the publishers' policy, makes it possible to strengthen the visibility and scientific excellence of the University and its members. However, not all researchers are familiar with the HAL portal and are sometimes reluctant to use it, as they do not necessarily see the point in it.

A project manager has been appointed for this operation (H Morjani).

When the choice is made to publish in open access, it is the labs that each pay for themselves. There is no centralisation.

In terms of archiving, a guide to archive management is available on the intranet (a new version is currently being drafted), but it is rarely consulted. It has been observed that there is no standardisation in this area (for example, the use of laboratory notebooks is not systematic). The question also arises as to whether the raw data and the methods used are kept.

In terms of security; there is a risk prevention service at URCA which is effective. There is a prevention assistant as well as internal regulations in each laboratory. Premises requiring special protection are in principle equipped with badges. The CHSCT (Health, safety and working conditions committee) publishes its results on the intranet and also communicates by posting. In the laboratories, the researchers questioned believe that they get adequate training (training both for doctoral students and for confirmed researchers) and that in general safety is properly taken into account at URCA. Despite everything, there seems to be an issue with working alone (in principle prohibited) and with regard to dangerous materials.

The question of data security was raised during the working groups. There seems to be an issue right now, especially as data often appears to be stored on personal computers or hard drives. Some publish their work on private networks without us knowing what use will be made of the data next.

When it comes to sensitive data, the question arises as to what is done to prevent spying.

-HAL (see principle 6)

17.30% of respondents state that compliance with the health and safety legislation is not very important in their research activities.

This figure is still too high, hence the need for action. Nevertheless, certain fields of activity (in certain SHS fields for example) are less confronted with this problem, which may also explain this figure.

At the university, the number of publications is taken into account in the assessment and in the work of researchers. Using the number of publications to assess a researcher is currently being called into question. In principle, however, many evaluations exist with various criteria (for example, for the PEDRs, scientific publications and productions are taken into account, but also doctoral and scientific supervision, outreach and popularization as well as scientific responsibilities).

39.43% of respondents state that the assessment methods lack transparency. They believe that the allocation of promotions is quite opaque and applications are not always processed.

There is little commercial exploitation of research. There are few patents, very little or no knowledge of the procedures for developing patents and no department really trained to help researchers in this field.

Only 6.12% of respondents state that their research work is marketed

Regarding the availability to the public, there are local and national events to present certain projects but overall little knowledge in the university community of the projects carried out at the university.

There is a communication channel in the international projects unit's newsletter - mainly for INTERREG projects which have many events aimed at the general public. It could be promoted.

The EPURes (Reims university publishing houses and presses) make it possible to distribute academic books. They help researchers format and publish the work, invoice the cost of manufacturing the works to the laboratory which are published and then sold. The sale price goes to the laboratory minus the publishing and distribution costs. the EPURes publish a dozen or so new publications each year.

HAL (see principle 6)

Popularisation exists within URCA which develops numerous events aimed at the general public (science festival, “maison de la science”, citizen cafes (public talks), university classes, interventions on radio and television broadcasts, school activities for secondary schools, mardi debout (a themed news-related event on Tuesdays), etc.).

But this work is felt by many researchers to be work "on top" of what they already do and not highly valued even if hours (HRS) are paid for this work. There is little recognition for those who invest time in it and the others do not always see the point in it.

The working groups highlighted a problem with the visibility of the University in general and of research vis-à-vis the outside world, especially in SHS. This problem is not, however, specific to URCA.

The DREDI/Unit organises initiatives with sixth form colleges, mainly within the framework of the Month of Europe in partnership with the CRIJ (Youth information regional centre). Researchers present their project, their job and their career to the students. But it remains limited to a few projects whereas it could be extended to secondary schools, other projects, etc.

A policy to combat all forms of discrimination exists at URCA. In fact, a Vice-Chair is dedicated to ethics and professional conduct and an ethics committee has been set up. At the same time, Disability and Equality-Diversity officers and an anti-racism and anti-Semitism point of contact have been appointed. There are many initiatives in these areas (establishment of a disability mission and a multi-year road map on disability, the establishment of a unit to fight against gender-based and sexual violence, etc.). A quality of life at work department exists at URCA. The action plan on professional gender in connection with the Act on the Transformation of the Civil Service is currently being developed.

But there is still room for progress. In the area of disability for example, the legal rate for employment of people with disabilities has not been reached yet and there are still accessibility issues.

In terms of Gender Equality, there is still a lot of progress to be made, particularly in university professorships and certain positions of responsibility. The glass ceiling problem is present at URCA as it is at other universities.

In terms of recruitment, questions of discrimination between local and non-local applicants may arise. The working groups also highlight problems related to knowledge/transparency of recruitment criteria.

19.56% of respondents state that they have already been victims of discrimination in their professional work. The criteria are as follows: gender, discipline (SHS), professional category (doctoral students, post-doctoral students), age, political opinions, belonging/not belonging to a trade union.

29.52% would not know who to contact if a situation arose.

The initiatives already undertaken must therefore be continued, reinforced and publicised.

Several assessment systems exist in accordance with the regulations and depending on the status of researchers:

  • Career monitoring, CNU (National Council of Universities), HDR (authorisation to supervise research) Dossiers, PEDR, self-assessment accreditation, grade advancement(national and local) (for teacher-researchers)
  • Professional interviews (for BIATSS (librarians, engineers, administrative staff, technicians, social and health staff) Before each interview session, an interview guide is sent to all Direct managers (N+1) and training is provided
  • Doctoral committee, progress report (for doctoral students)

Discussions on the assessment in working groups generally showed a need for transparency and recognition. The questionnaire makes it possible to reach the same conclusion.

42.86% of respondents believe that the assessment methods are not transparent enough

It was emphasised during working groups that the assessment should be used to help researchers advance.

URCA signed the European charter and the code for recruiting researchers.

The recruitment rules are different depending on the status of researchers (teacher-researchers, BIATSS (librarians, engineers, administrative staff, technicians, social and health staff), incumbents or contract researchers, doctoral students, ATER (temporary assistant teacher-researchers)).

For teacher-researchers there is a national regulatory framework that does not always exist for other researchers. URCA complies with this framework. Job descriptions are published at the same time as job offers on the URCA website, the ministry's website and on Galaxie. The skills required and profiles sought are specified as well as the procedure for applying and the contact details needed to obtain clarifications.

The grid for selecting applicants is that proposed by the Ministry. The ministerial guide for the operation of the selection committees is sent to each selection committee (COS) chairperson , who is responsible for the smooth operation of the COS and compliance with the regulatory framework. The Academic Council sets up and composes the selection committee on the basis of proposals from the training and research units. The rules of composition, functioning and impartiality of the committees are regulatory.

The timetable and the methods of recruitment are determined, for the majority of recruitment, directly by the ministry. This is the "synchronised procedure" established by the ministry nationally
(= employment campaign for recruitment at the beginning of the academic year). There is also some so-called recruitment “on an ad-hoc basis” which is exceptional. There is then more flexibility with the timetable but the deadlines are based on the ministerial timetable.

URCA did not add specific rules to the existing national framework.

According to the members of the working groups, the possibility could arise of systematically integrating, as is done in other universities, a teacher-researcher from a discipline other than that in which the teacher-researcher is recruited in order to have an outside view of recruitment.

Moreover, the rules put in place nationally require that there are equal shares of external members in the selection committees, but it transpired from working groups that sometimes the external members are in practice very close to internal members (by for example having very recently left the home university). This does not always make it possible to act ethically when faced with a possible internal recruitment, even if it turns out that the internal recruitment rate is relatively low at URCA

With regard to recruitment from “disadvantaged groups”, the national regulations are applied at URCA. Positions are reserved for people with disabilities, beneficiaries of the obligation to employ (BOE). They can also apply for any position that may interest them, and their application is then examined as a priority. A report is drawn up to assess the match between skills and expectations.

The rules of parity are applied in the selection committees.

The procedure is the same for people who request a transfer to be close to their partner.

In order to develop their research career, teachers can request a CRCT (Leave for Research or Thematic Conversion)

For international applicants, the job description is not entirely in English (only a short description is systematically translated); this creates a difficulty for an international applicant. The issue also concerns employment contracts for which there is no translation.

As regards Biatss (IGE/IGR (research engineers)) status researchers, recruitment is also done in accordance with national regulations.

For doctoral students, when there is recruitment with an allowance from the establishment, an internal procedure at URCA is followed. On the other hand, when the recruitment is done on the basis of a project, the position is not published. It is the researcher who found the funding for the project who recruits.

Regarding European projects, the publication of job offers for doctoral and post-doctoral students are generally done via the website EURAXESS jobs but there is no centralised management at URCA at the moment (several accounts, etc.) and this publication is not yet automatic for all research projects.

When the doctoral student is also an ATER (temporary assistant teacher-researcher), a procedure exists. It is fully followed in June (normal procedure with a pool of applicants) and with restricted deadlines in September. It is not fully formalized.

With regard to teacher-researchers, the regulatory framework is very precise; URCA follows the 1984 decree and the ministerial guides. On Galaxie, the information expected about the position is very specific. It includes: a teaching profile, a research profile, contacts, skills expected and justification of the need.

The job title and the "job profile" are translated into English to enable foreign researchers to easily find the posting in a keyword search.

As regards more specifically foreign teacher-researchers, the Academic Council checks that the qualifications match the position and the CNU qualification.

For the recruitment of ITRFs (research and training technical staff and engineers), the training and competitive examination department calls on Research Engineer ITRF experts. In addition, there is a strict regulatory framework.

Regarding doctoral students, as indicated in the previous point, recruitment is not always open. If the position is funded by a project, it is not published. The teacher-researcher will seek funding to recruit an applicant of his choice. Recruitment is not focused on HR points, but more focused on the scientific knowledge which interests the teacher-researcher. The offers are posted on the doctoral school website depending on the funding, which is not systematic. In addition, in certain disciplines (notably the SHS), the subject is sometimes "made for the applicant".

The make-up of the selection committees, as already indicated, is supervised nationally. The text is regularly updated and communicated by the ministry. The regulations in this guide are systematically sent to the Chairman of the Committee, who is responsible for enforcing them.

Rules of parity are provided for in this guide.

The make-up of the selection committees is always posted on the website.

Once the selection has taken place, the COS report can be communicated at the request of the applicant. There is a way to dispute recruitment. But in practice, people who would like to appeal often abandon the idea to avoid repercussions.

It should be noted, however, that at the national level, more and more appeals are being made and requests for reports are increasing.

With regard to teacher-researchers, there is a national framework. The selection process and the timetable as well as the number of available positions are communicated on Galaxie and on URCA's website.

The committee Chair writes two reports per applicant by filling in a grid available on Galaxie. As indicated above, applicants can ask to consult these reports at the end of the interview to know what the weaknesses and the strengths of their application were; but in reality, there are very few requests. In addition, the reports are often very brief. The anonymisation of the reports would be problematic because it must be possible to show that there were two different examiners.

The Euraxess service centre enables foreign researchers to have the necessary information and the procedures to be carried out. However, at URCA, only positions on European projects are published on Euraxess. The others are not listed on it. They are only published nationally; but on Galaxie, the information in English is brief.

With regard to researchers with a BIATSS status, the procedures are closely regulated and transparent

Regarding contract researchers on a project, the project manager (himself a researcher) hires, mostly without an advert and without the involvement of the HRD. There is therefore sometimes a lack of transparency.

Regarding doctoral students; in doctoral schools, the project manager writes a note specifying the desired profile as well as a summary of the research subject. The key words are translated into English. The offer is then published on ADUM (platform which manages doctoral training), and sometimes on Campus France. Three weeks after the offer is published, the applications are sent to the project manager to be ranked. The ranked applicants are then called for an interview. At the end of the selection, they are informed of the result by email and then the successful applicant is directed to HR to sign his doctoral contract.

Regarding the recruitment of doctoral students, the selection takes place at the end of June, which is later than other universities. A number of brilliant students have already been recruited elsewhere. The timetable is arranged like this because URCA is awaiting the return of regional experts to launch the selections.

For the ATERs, whether for their selection or for their renewal, a procedure is followed but it is not completely formalised.

During the selection process, there is no standard grid imposed by either Galaxie or URCA. However, a grid is recommended by the HR departments. It takes into account different aspects (initial course, doctorate, previous university experience, scientific experience: publications, communications, supervision activities, teaching experience, administrative and collective involvement).

It transpires from the working groups that the research aspect is largely favoured over the teaching aspect. Thus, in particular, at URCA, as may be offered elsewhere, there is no part of the recruitment specifically dedicated to teaching.

Furthermore, even if the problem does not seem specific to URCA, the question of the number of publications (at the expense of their quality) is still a key element in recruitment.

With regard to teacher-researchers, non-linear career paths can be justified in the qualification dossiers. Documents can be added to the dossier to justify these career paths. As the number of documents is limited, when a supporting document is included, it is often instead of another. Furthermore, there is no visibility on the subsequent processing of this "evidence".

It transpires from the discussions of the working groups that this type of path is rarely valued and sometimes even, on the contrary, rather at a disadvantage. It seems that "holes" on CVs regarding unemployment or interruptions for childcare are poorly viewed. To a lesser extent, cross-disciplinary and atypical profiles are not highlighted very often. While it is not technically difficult to change section at CNU (the researcher must submit a request to his establishment’s research committee), it is often badly viewed, especially for teacher-researchers (even if it also depends on the sections in question).

Based on the discussions of the working groups, this seems less obvious to researchers who do not teach.

However, for biatss research staff who take national competitive exams, there is no possibility of justifying an atypical career path. The administrative file is very structured: you have to show everything that corresponds to the job description. The remainder is not important. This constitutes an advantage insofar as atypical paths are not at a disadvantage, but conversely these profiles are not highlighted either. The University has no leverage to intervene on this matter.

The question also arises for doctoral students: can students with atypical profiles do theses? To be enrolled as a doctoral student, the applicant must hold a national master's degree (or another diploma conferring the master's degree grade, at the end of a training course or professional experience establishing his research skills) (decree of 25 May 2016 on doctorates).

This legislation does not specify whether the master's degree is professional or research. A professional master's degree graduate is therefore entitled to enrol for a doctorate. In both cases, professional or research master's degree, enrolment for a doctorate is pronounced by the president of URCA, at the proposal of the director of the doctoral school, after consulting the doctoral supervisor and the director of the research unit on the quality of the project and the conditions for its completion.

In some subjects such as law, doctoral students work to finance their doctorates because they are longer. In this case, it’s viewed rather positively. In SHS, there are a lot of secondary teachers who do a doctorate later without it being a problem. In SHS, this also happens.

Geographical mobility is compulsory or very strongly recommended in some recruitment to obtain the CNU qualifications nationally.

There are ongoing discussions nationally (the CPU (Conference of University Presidents)) for mobility to be taken into account in career development (as part of the establishment of mechanisms to encourage mobility).

At URCA, mobility is viewed rather well, but many researchers do not have this experience. It is not a required criterion for recruitment, either for teacher-researchers or for research engineers. On the other hand, PUPHs (University professors and hospital practitioners) must have one year of mobility (geographical or different department) but this is a requirement of CHUs (University hospitals).

Furthermore, the experience of mobility of researchers who have gone abroad is not taken into account to enhance their career (advancement, remuneration) and furthermore not taken into account for pensions or with difficulty or for exorbitant redemption amounts.

Regarding civil servant researchers, the competitive exam regulations are national. A minimum level of qualification is required. To take the exams, you must be a citizen of the European Union. This criterion is national. For contract positions, applicants may be foreigners from outside the EU. In this case they need a work visa, often the "talent passport". Foreign qualifications and diplomas are recognised.

With regard to ITRF staff, to set remuneration, previous experience and experience outside the establishment is taken into account, but not in full. This rule is national.

With regard to contract staff, the rules are more flexible. A salary scale exists (contract civil servant agreement (ANT)) but it can be waived (when recruitment on project). The criteria for exemptions are not well known.

The discussions of working groups showed that this situation is badly experienced by contract researchers.

Discussions in working groups indicate a tendency to believe that there is a match between qualification levels and job profiles among researchers. Seniority is taken into consideration when recruiting staff. Professional experience is taken into account, even if the educational investment is not always valued.

Transfers of teacher-researchers are the subject of a specific procedure during which the match between applicant profiles/positions is examined.

According to the participants in the working groups, the reputation of the establishments from which the researchers come still plays a role in recruitment, insofar as they are looked upon favourably.

With regard to lifelong learning, mechanisms exist so that researchers can evolve.

Systems such as the CRCT (Leave for Research or Thematic Conversion) or CNRS delegations enable researchers to benefit from professional development. Some systems are national, but others are local (local wave of CRCTs for example).

Training is provided by the University's training department for researchers. But in practice, few training courses are specific to researchers and at the same time, researchers do not request training through the establishment very much.

There is no post-doctoral status/contract as such at the University. Post-doctoral students have the status of IGR (research engineers) (they entered the information system as such because the software offers no other solution)

In principle, it is a one-year contract renewable for one year. It should last a maximum of 24 months. URCA respects this duration. This represents about 10 positions per year. In the dedicated software (SIHAM), they are identified by a special code, their “post-doctoral student” status is indicated in the payroll software. These positions get special funding.

When recruiting, the University departments (Human Ressources department) ensure that the applicant has not been appointed under a "post-doctoral" status before. In principle, it controls the duration of the contract under this status in order to remain in compliance with the law.

The law of August 2019, reforming the civil service, provides that project contracts may not be subject to "CDIsation" (temporary contracts being transformed into permanent contracts) or renewals. “Post-doctoral” contracts are affected by this measure.

IGRs (those who are not post doctorant in this strict sense) can be recruited on permanent contracts after 4 years of service in the same position. This is a possibility, not an obligation. Years of seniority in public service, outside URCA, or in other positions, are not taken into account. The contract is related to the project only. This leads to the insecurity of “project-related researcher ".

If “project-related researcher "stay at URCA for a long time, it is because they are well integrated into the team. They are sometimes recruited with permanent contracts later on in IGR positions, but this is quite rare.

A practice exists in the French administration of terminating a contract to avoid CDIsation (after 6 years). It is difficult to know if this exists at the University

There is also no monitoring of their appointment to research or other positions.

It is necessary to differentiate between recognition of the profession internally at University level and externally vis-à-vis the general public.

Externally, researchers believe that there is little recognition of their profession overall and that the profession of researcher and teacher-researcher is not well known. Contrary to what we can observe in many other countries where the doctorate is well recognised, in France, the view is not very positive. In their opinion, research activities should be valued more.

Internally, the feeling is less clear-cut. A majority of researchers feel that they are recognised as professionals. However, the proportion seems higher among Lecturers than among BIATSS (librarians, engineers, administrative staff, technicians, social and health staff) and Professors. Many highlight the administrative burden that affects the work of a researcher. This administrative burden seems to come in part from the difficulty in finding the right contacts.

Differences can be seen in the different functioning of laboratories. Thus, young researchers are well integrated into teams in laboratories where the presence of researchers is imperative (in STS (Doctoral School in Sciences, Technologies and Health) for example). When in certain fields (SHS for example), doctoral students can work from home, contacts are sometimes more difficult. Certainly seminars and study days are organised, but doctoral students do not always take advantage of them.

Doctoral students are most often recruited with funding (3-year contracts, not adaptable except in 2 cases of exceptional extension; maternity leave/illness or disability), which makes their professionalisation possible. But there are still areas in which doctoral students do a doctorate without funding. The advantage for doctoral students who have a contract is that their situation is secure, but some sometimes observe less motivation.

Regarding post-doctoral students, there are remuneration scales defined by the ANT agreement. The observation made by the working groups is that URCA is not managing to align itself as regards remuneration with other universities. Some members of the working groups would like to be able to pay some more to attract good applicants. Other members, on the contrary, believe that we should not pay agents differently who are recruited for similar work. It transpires from the discussions that there is no consensus on this issue.

Funding of research projects:

Researchers spend a lot of time seeking funding, which prevents them from spending that time on their research assignment. They feel under pressure with regard to funders.

The Research department regularly informs the unit directors so that they can be a point of contact for their teams. The international relations department provides information on all the programmes that exist internationally. Targeted maps of funding opportunities were also offered by the International Projects Unit until 2019. These maps make it possible to identify calls for projects based on the keywords of laboratories and were then presented to members of the laboratory.

There is an International Project Unit newsletter which comes out every two months. A focus is developed on a theme (mostly connected with international projects) and news is presented in it. It is written by the members of the International Projects Unit and by the director and deputy director of the DRV for the Research part. It is sent to IR correspondents (1 person per research unit) and to subscribers. A researchers' café was also created. It met for the first time by videoconference via "zoom" on 2 July 2020. A letter is sent to unit directors and IR correspondents to inform them. The next ones will take place on the first Thursday of each month, starting in October.

Despite everything, it transpires from the discussions in the working groups that there is a weakness in the communication of existing funding possibilities and calls for projects. It is more internal relations than properly institutionalised communication that makes it possible to obtain information.

It also emerged from the discussions that the funding programmes (especially regional) are very focused on equipment. SHS units often do not have access to them because they rarely need expensive equipment.

Finally, a majority of researchers feel that they do not have the necessary resources (in human and financial terms).

However, it also appears that researchers do not easily turn to international funding.

Working environment:

While there is heterogeneity between campuses and between structures (old buildings stand alongside more recent buildings), some researchers point out the “rather old-fashioned” character of the structures in which they work (unsuitable premises, lack of space, lack of offices, need for renovation). They explain this by the fact that the funding goes firstly on equipment and consumables and not on the working environment. There could be more investment on furniture in particular.

A "ticket" system has been set up at URCA but does not seem to be working properly. There is no feedback on the requests made.

A second-hand furniture "store" is in the process of being created at URCA

The equipping of laboratories with equipment is partly done with grants obtained, which sometimes creates challenges. In particular, equipment maintenance is not generally provided for (because not eligible) in the grants requested, which explains why a lot of equipment is underused. Furthermore, the equipment is not always shared as much as possible between the different teams (fund management issue).

The working groups also highlighted the very disparate situation regarding the funding of computers for researchers; some are obliged to use their personal computers while others have their equipment funded either by the faculty or by the laboratory.

This problem also relates to the software that researchers need.

28.6% of respondents state that their work environment is unsatisfactory (environment, equipment, installation). The suggestions, in this field, add to the proposals of the working group: more computers, improvement of the ticket system with the DPLDD (Department of Assets, Logistics and Sustainable Development), improvement of the insulation of buildings (problems with winter heating and overly hot rooms in the summer), laboratories accessible to too many people: repeated theft of equipment, etc.

Reception of doctoral students:

The budget granted to doctoral students is intended to finance the doctorate, but it does not make it possible to finance other research activities: participation in international seminars for example. It actually depends more on the particular policy of laboratories than on an overall University policy.

Health and safety in research:

URCA has produced a safety training plan in order to provide all staff with the minimum level of safety awareness training as well as the necessary additions depending on the activity of each member of staff.

On URCA's intranet, fact sheets and safety posters are available as well as training materials.

A management course is offered to unit directors, to help them become aware of their responsibility, as well as training on the civil and criminal liability of supervisors.

You can't prevent a researcher from going to his laboratory on Sunday to take measurements for example, but it's up to the unit director to organise this to avoid any problems: risk assessment, organisation and liability.

URCA is developing e-learning "moodle" training to enable researchers to train remotely and at their own pace.

A guide on psycho-social risks has been produced by URCA but questions remain as to its method of distribution.

Researchers can benefit from a number of services like all University staff (sporting activities (SUAPS), cultural activities (SUAC, CASUR), social action department), including on offshore sites.

Securing laboratories requires still more investment.

The freedom to combine family and work life is considered satisfactory. Several provisions have been put in place to facilitate this, particularly in the event of maternity leave.

Maternity leave halves the service obligation of one academic year. Leave for research and thematic conversion is a regulatory mechanism which makes it possible to reduce the teaching load, after returning from maternity leave, and to reinvest in research. After maternity leave, women can also request part-time work (by law) to raise a child (up to the 3rd birthday) or availability to raise a child under the age of 12.

A crèche system, with preferential rates, is offered on certain university sites (polydrome). Staff can also benefit from cradles in inter-company crèches. We wait to see if this can be extended to all sites.

80.1% of respondents believe that the flexibility of hours to combine work life with family life is satisfactory.

Remote working has been set up: the IT equipment is provided by URCA. The protocol defines the “remote working” activities and the implementation procedures. The DN (Digital Department) ensures the security of the upstream connection. The CHSCT can travel home with the agent's consent. This relates only to BIATSS. It is however limited. The institution's Charter has recently been adjusted to take account of changes in the legal framework.

With regard to researchers with disabilities, there is a disability road map at URCA. For the 2018-2022 period, this road map provides that: “The effective management of disability is reflected in the adaptation of workstations: adapted furniture, ergonomic seats, adapted lights, large screens, telephone adapters, etc. a contribution to the cost of hearing aids, holiday voucher rewards, flexible working arrangements and part-time work by law, the modification of job descriptions, the change of job or even department, reduced duties for teachers under certain conditions."

Regarding more specifically the issue of recruitment of researchers with disabilities:

- for teacher-researchers (possible recruitment for lecturer positions), in accordance with Article 29 of the decree of 2 September 2014: the application is made via a selection committee under the same conditions as the common rule competitive exam. The applicant's file is examined at the academic council and restricted management board. It results in the signing of an appointment decree by the president or director of the higher education establishment.

- For research staff with BIATSS status, the selection procedure takes place in two stages: a first assessment of the applications is carried out on the basis of a dossier; shortlisted applicants are called before a recruitment panel. A contract is signed with the successful applicant.

At the end of these contractual periods, equivalent to internships, applicants can be given tenure if their skills are recognised.

For teacher-researchers and BIATSS researchers, the physical aptitude and the compatibility of the disability with the positions applied for are checked before any contract is signed.

Disability compensation measures are also implemented, at the request of the agent and on the recommendation of the prevention doctor.

It transpires from the working groups that, although many systems exist, researchers do not always know about what is being offered to them.

The majority of URCA researchers have tenure, so they do not encounter any difficulties in terms of stability or continuity of employment.

A minority of URCA researchers are nonetheless on contracts and recruited on a project basis thanks to grants/external funding. In this case, the grant impacts the contract as the recruitment only takes place when one is certain of having the funding. In addition, since the funding can involve several partners, recruitment can be complicated.

Project recruitment is always done with temporary contracts, and researchers recruited this way may have to sign relatively short contracts one after another, which makes their situation unstable.

As regards foreign researchers, the duration of the contract is modelled on that of the residence and work permit. In the event of a short contract, their insecurity is therefore even more significant.

Different departments are involved to check the smooth running of the recruitment and monitoring of contract researchers (DREDI/DRV/DAF (Department of Financial Affairs)/HR). A table does exist to coordinate these checks.

The Research and Valorisation Department (DRV) supports researchers who recruit for projects. It encourages them to seek funding to recruit for contracts of more than 3 months, and thus limit the insecurity of contract researchers.

The administration also checks that the funding is correctly marked in order to finance salaries.

Payroll at the start of the contract creates challenges. The pay schedule implies that the newly recruited researcher only receives an advance in the first month; it usually takes 2 months for him or her to receive a full salary. This creates a problem with renewals (there is not always continuity in pay and the researcher may receive an advance again at the start of the next contract).

A table for monitoring contract researchers is shared by the Research Department, the DREDI, the doctoral schools and the Human resources department. It makes it possible to anticipate the end of contracts to extend them when this is possible.

In the event of non-renewal (for contract researchers), in principle the researcher is notified 2 months before the end of his or her contract.

In fact, it transpires from the working groups that, even if this deadline is respected as far as possible, the difficulties in obtaining funding can lead to reducing this deadline.

For civil servants, the salary scale is applied, so there is no room for manoeuvre. In addition, career development (in particular the change in grade) is specified in the virtual office. Nevertheless, the question of knowledge of their career development (especially at the time of recruitment) seems to arise and the feeling that transpires from working groups is that some advance faster than others and that there are sometimes omissions.

For contract staff, a scale is also in place. The question arises as to whether it would be possible to offer more attractive remuneration for certain projects, especially when the subjects are very specific and it is difficult to recruit. However, it also transpires from the working groups that we cannot pay staff differently who are responsible for the same assignment. As has already been pointed out, the discussions failed to reach a consensus on this issue.

For doctoral students, there is a single, statutory remuneration system.

There are different bonuses for teacher-researchers: the research and higher education bonus, the allocation of which is regulatory, the doctoral and research supervision bonus with an allocation based on merit, the administrative responsibility bonuses (repository of responsibilities voted for by establishment) which concern the researchers who shoulder the dedicated responsibilities.

Foreign researchers obtain a provisional social security number from URCA's HRD, but it is up to them to sign up afterwards. When they come to France several times, they keep their carte vitale (social security card) and re-establish their rights.

It turns out that there are often misunderstandings of the system among foreign researchers, who do not understand, for example, that they have to sign up. The employer can now do the online process directly for the employee, but this has not yet been applied at URCA.

URCA's social report shows that there is equality across staff taken as a whole, but as soon as you move up the scale of positions and responsibilities, in particular for the positions of researchers and teacher-researchers, things are more complicated.


Number of teacher-researchers*










*Source SIHAM 31/12/2019

9.6% of respondents believe that the equal treatment of men and women at URCA is insufficient.

There are more men university professors than women, even in subjects where women are present. This is also true for lecturers, although the gap is smaller. Also, it seems that women don't always ask for promotions so there are more men being promoted.

This situation exists even though the selection committees are set up respecting the minimum percentage of women set by French regulations.


A Gender Equality Officer has been appointed by the President (Camille Froidevaux Metterie, see Mission Sheet appended).

34% of respondents state that career options are satisfactory; 28.3% that they could be improved and 22.6% that they are unsatisfactory.

The researchers present in the working groups consider that there is no overall strategic career vision for researchers, or for incumbents, or for contract staff.

Situations are handled on a case-by-case basis. For instance, when a contract researcher becomes indispensable in a unit, the unit director or the unit board requests a position to keep him or her.

In the event of an individual difficulty with a researcher, the challenge is to analyse with the researcher the difficulties he encounters and to seek with him ways of improvement. For instance, the "quality of life at work" department directs researchers to the "training and competitive examination" department to carry out a skills assessment and find competitive examination/career options.

Regarding doctoral students, they are supported by their doctoral supervisor in their career development. At the same time, the issue of career development has been reinforced in their training: training on professional integration tools which gives the right to 20 ECTs. But this is still insufficient (little knowledge of professional paths other than research at the University, no or few meetings with professionals). Post-doctoral students are supported by unit directors.

Only international mobility seems to be properly valued. There is little communication about availability/lay-off status, secondment or provision. Mobility to the private sector is not highlighted.

International mobility is highlighted rather well at URCA. The DREDI communicates a lot on calls for projects. Guides on mobility systems in Europe and outside Europe for doctoral students, post-doctoral students and researcher-teachers are updated every 3 months and published via the International Projects Unit's monthly newsletter. Training sessions on international mobility for doctoral students are organised as part of the doctoral schools' training plan. Since 2013, an international mobility support system for doctoral students and teacher-researchers has been set up by URCA. There is an outgoing mobility programme for doctoral students who can leave for 1 to 3 months to a research laboratory abroad. Teacher-researchers can also benefit from an incoming or outgoing mobility programme for less than a month to enable them to meet and create projects.

31.4% of respondents believe that mobility options are insufficient. They suggest facilitating transfers, communicating more on CRCTs and better reimbursing of transport costs.

It transpires from the working groups that researchers do not feel sufficiently supported as regards intellectual property rights. They do not know enough about their rights in this area and do not know who to turn if they have such a problem to deal with.

18.3% of respondents state that they do not have enough information on what exists at URCA to protect their intellectual property rights

Many universities have a person in charge of these matters but this is not the case at URCA where the departments do not have an expert in this area. Several people are present at the research department to inform and manage these questions for the laboratories. However, these are not intellectual property specialists but people trained in the overall management of research contracts. The deficiency is even more obvious in the same skills internationally. This sometimes blocks certain projects.

Practices when publishing as a group are very different from one area to another. In STS, it is rather frowned upon to publish alone, while in SHS (although here too it depends on the disciplines) the tendency to publish alone is more widespread. These trends are not specific to URCA.

When there is a concern about the order of publications or the presence in publications, researchers, and especially young researchers, do not know who to turn to. There is a scientific integrity point of contact but he is not often contacted. There is no specific clear procedure made known to researchers. This is also the case for patents and for the industrial and commercial use which may result from them. Currently, there is no general framework for units; each RU (Research Unit) governs this aspect according to its own rules or IR.

It transpires from the working groups that while teaching is important because research and teaching are linked, teaching should not encroach on research too much. However, if research seems more valued than teaching from the point of view of researchers, teaching hours, beyond service obligations, do provide a significant addition to salaries.

Researchers at the start of their career (new lecturers) benefit from a dispensation from lessons and must undergo specific training. This recent possibility offered by the University seems to be well received by researchers. There is also new leave offered to teacher-researchers to develop educational innovations.

With regard to doctoral students, their teaching role is valued nationally. Recruitment as a teacher-researcher takes into account their experience in the field of teaching in certain sectors only. For example, to qualify as a lecturer in particular, certain sections of the CNU (National Council of Universities) take absolutely no account of any teaching done by the applicant. For other sections, it is mandatory...

However, it transpires from the working groups that in certain fields, doctoral students are not offered the opportunity to teach. The situation seems heterogeneous at URCA, with some areas where this opportunity exists and others where it does not. It depends a lot on the discipline and the progress of the doctoral students in their doctorate work.

There are many mechanisms within URCA that enable researchers to make complaints (even if they are not specific to researchers). This includes:

  • the ethics and professional conduct committee
  • the professional conduct point of contact
  • the scientific integrity point of contact
  • the fight against racism and anti-Semitism point of contact
  • the Equality and diversity officer and the unit combating gender-based and sexual violence
  • the Disability officer
  • the Better Living at Work mission and the management of psycho-social risks
  • the risk prevention service and the occupational health service

In addition, the legal affairs department (DAJ) is open to all appeals.

Despite everything, it transpires from the working groups that researchers have little or even very little knowledge of these resources. Researchers who run into problems do not always know where to turn and when the services are informed, it is often much too late.

67.2% of respondents state that they do not know who to turn to in the event of a complaint.

Participation in decision-making bodies is regulated nationally. It systematically provides for the representation of researchers. Everyone has the information required to participate in elections.

However, it transpires from working groups that the information concerning what is decided in these bodies is not always known to all the researchers and this despite the fact that all the minutes of all the university boards are available on the website in the intranet.

There is a doctoral charter at URCA which establishes a framework (reciprocal commitments, regulatory provisions, ethical rules, etc.). The doctoral student must sign the text of this charter when first enrolling with the doctoral supervisor, that of the host laboratory and that of the doctoral school. It describes, among other things, the supervision and monitoring of the doctorate.

It transpires from the working groups that it is not sufficiently binding.

Each year, a progress report is sent by the doctoral student. He or she can include any difficulties encountered during the year in this report. This report determines re-enrolment and then the viva.

A doctorate monitoring committee was created a few years ago and made compulsory. It makes it possible to take stock of the situation at the beginning of the doctorate and at the halfway point with the doctoral student. It is made up of an internal examiner, an external examiner, the doctoral supervisor and the doctoral student. One of the attractions of this committee is that it offers an outside perspective. But since it is the doctoral supervisor who chooses this person, it may limit the value of the process.

The purpose of this committee does not always seem to be well understood.

When doctoral students work in an STS laboratory, they are in contact with their doctoral supervisor on a daily basis. On the other hand, the relations of doctoral students in SHS with their doctoral supervisor are less frequent, which can lead to situations in which doctoral students are isolated.

In addition, it transpires from working groups that during drafting work, especially when doctoral students come to the end of their contract and no longer have funding, the "dropout" rate is higher. Many doctoral students seem to have difficulty writing.

There seem to be difficulties in project management: there should be very concrete milestones and “deliverables”. The proposed project management training is not suitable for research projects and even less for doctoral supervision. There should be specific training.

There is no effective procedure in the event of conflict between the doctoral student and his or her doctoral supervisor. There is a specific paragraph (section “7 - Mediation procedures”) in the doctoral students’ charter, but it doesn't seem to be applied much and it is not very well known.

16.7% of doctoral students who filled in the questionnaire state that their relations with their doctoral supervisor are unsatisfactory. They talk about the latter's lack of availability and insufficient monitoring of their work.

As indicated in the previous point, for doctoral students, the doctoral charter governs the supervision of doctorates, while knowing that there may be differences between the fields (more or less time spent in the laboratory, importance of external colloquiums).

The doctoral student has the possibility of doing his or her doctorate in a company under a CIFRE (Industrial Agreement for Training through Research) agreement. The purpose of this system is to contribute to the employment of PhDs in companies as well as to promote their exchanges with public research laboratories. In this case, for supervision, the doctoral student potentially has two doctoral supervisors: an academic and an industrial one (if the “industrial” doctoral supervisor has HDR (authorisation to supervise research) or equivalent, otherwise, it is a co-supervisor).

For teacher-researchers at the start of their career, specific training is planned.

To supervise a doctorate, it is necessary to be authorised to supervise research (HDR). Unauthorised researchers may exceptionally be required to do so, but within the framework of co-supervision. Authorisation for co-supervision is granted by the research committee restricted to HDRs on presentation of a dossier examined at a meeting.

However, it transpires from the working groups that this authorisation could/should usefully be supplemented by training for this new supervisory role (management training, doctoral supervision, project management).

Researchers are offered a wide variety of training courses at URCA: Each year URCA's departments draw up a training catalogue for all of its staff. In addition, training materials are evolving (moodle, training in English), and exchanges with other establishments (AMUE, UTT, Unistra, for example) which makes it possible to expand the catalogue.

URCA covers part of the training delivered outside (CNRS, etc.) for research staff (teacher-researchers, researchers)

By developing communication on training, the proportion of researchers training has increased.





Percentage of teacher-researchers trained





Number of teacher-researchers trained





schema evolution

At the same time, researchers are required to participate regularly in conferences, congresses and colloquiums. Doctoral students get ECTS credits when they take training courses, which makes the system incentive-based.

However, the training system aimed specifically at researchers could be improved a lot.

The expectations of researchers in terms of training are not properly known: when researchers have BIATSS status, they can sometimes put forward their requests in professional interviews, but this is not systematic and this is not the case for teacher-researchers.

In addition, the training offered is at different levels (HRD, laboratories) and there is currently no centralisation of data that would make sharing possible.

There is also a lack of knowledge of existing systems (for example, research support training exists but it is not taken much). Researchers have the option of taking training outside covered by HR. But this system is underused.

Doctoral students have little knowledge of all the competitive exams open to them at the end of their doctorate.

97.3% of respondents state that they have received information on the proposals of the training department but 38% do not do any training at URCA. They mention issues with timetabling or hours, and themes unrelated to their needs.

60.9% would like to do more training if they were offered it as e-learning and 73.6% if they took place in their faculty.

The training suggested is as follows: English, IT/bio-informatics, innovative teaching, technical/cutting-edge training specific to the research field, management/project management, scientific mediation, anthropology of images, current affairs.

42% of respondents state they do training via other organisations: CNRS, AMUE, INSERM, Institut Curie, other universities, etc.

Researchers have access to a training catalogue (see previous point). The assessment of training needs takes place during the professional interview when they have BIATSS status (excluding research contracts), but when they are teacher-researchers on the other hand, it is more difficult to know what the needs are.

The training department works with the DRV to better understand the expectations of researchers. When there is a training contact (exists in CNRS units), the needs are fed back better.

It appears from the working groups that there is a lack of information on these matters. Moreover, it seems that, even when training courses are offered, it is difficult to mobilise teacher-researchers to take part in them. For example, the "ANR tour", which is a training course relating to setting up a project, ultimately attracts few researchers.

Around 280 training initiatives were put in place in 2018-2019 but this concerned only around 12% of teacher-researchers. The training courses are evaluated by the researchers who take part in them (An end-of-course questionnaire is filled out by the trainees at the end of each training course. This makes it possible to make an assessment and take the comments into account).

Teacher-researchers have the possibility of requesting Leave for Research or Thematic Conversion (CRCT), but they do not always know the conditions under which it is granted either.

Unit Directors are involved in the career development of researchers

Doctoral students are supervised by their doctoral supervisor who must have authorisation to supervise research (HDR). A non-HDR researcher can co-supervise a doctorate in order to learn how to supervise research.

For the newly appointed teacher-researchers, there is no specific point of contact. There is no designated point of contact once the researchers are in post. This can in practice be the unit director, the section president, the department director or the faculty dean.

The new researcher is integrated into a team but depending on the fields, the reality is very different. In some areas, there is a real notion of a team and a point of contact; in others (often SHS), things are much less clear because the research can be done on an individual basis.

The teaching experience of doctoral students is important for their course. However, it transpires from the working groups that in certain faculties, young doctoral students do not have the opportunity to do TPs (practicals) or TDs (tutorials) because there are no hours to offer (physics, chemistry, etc.)