The ESRF seals an agreement to make way for the next generation


The ESRF management has signed an inter-generation contract with the three unions (CFDT, CGT-FO, SIEE) that will help to promote and organise knowledge transfer from senior staff to younger members and new recruits.

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The agreement mutually benefits the three populations concerned: young people, senior workers and the employer. It aims to encourage sustainable employment of young people, to maintain senior workers in employment and to secure the company’s intellectual assets through the transmission of knowledge and skills.

A significant part of ESRF staff members will be eligible for retirement in the coming years. Many of them have been involved in the construction and development of the ESRF. Over the years a large array of expertise has been developed as the institute has evolved and maintained its position at the forefront of synchrotron radiation research.

The agreement lays down the mechanisms for the organisation and distribution of knowledge transfer within the structure and provides ESRF management with an additional tool to ensure the availability of expertise and skills for future users.


Image credit: Molyneux Associates

A boost for young recruits and older staff members

Voted for an initial duration of 15 months, the agreement will see the ESRF reserve up to 30% of new recruitments onto permanent positions for persons under the age of 30. Likewise, the ESRF commits to maintaining the proportion of staff aged 55 and over to 16%. Keeping older staff members in employment will be a priority and the recruitment of persons aged 55 and over will be considered depending on the need for certain skills and knowledge and on the nature of contracts that correspond to end of career functions.

The agreement also foresees a possibility for senior members to consider a reduction in their working time in the years prior to retirement. Younger recruits will benefit from the senior members’ training, and be accompanied by a sponsor who will provide help for their integration within the company.


Image credit: Molyneux Associates

Young people and students with a traineeship or a short term contract

The ESRF is a host laboratory for students coming from all over Europe. The intergeneration agreement also outlines the mechanisms for retaining in employment the numerous young people who are trained within the teams of scientific, technical and administrative groups. The ESRF welcomes more than 130 young people per year on traineeships, end-of-study short-term working contracts, sandwich courses and summer jobs. They provide the ESRF with a strong link to the student community and additional manpower resources. Some of these students integrate the staff at the end of their course.

Links to related articles

ESRF summer student programme 2013

Mutual benefits for trainees and tutors


Text by Kirstin Colvin

Top image: ESRF Director General, F. Sette, with representatives of the three Unions, at the signing ceremony. Credit image: ESRF/Kirstin Colvin