Conflict management within the NCCR PlanetS
Following the recent, widely reported case of harassment in the exoplanet community, it seemed important for us to remind everyone that PlanetS aims to establish working environments based on mutual respect and trust between all the collaborators. However, recognizing that conflicts can happen, PlanetS would like to ensure that every collaborator has the possibility to express her/his feelings and concerns in a suitable environment in order to mitigate the impact of conflicts as early as possible.
With this goal in mind, PlanetS has set-up a conflict management structure adapted to the diverse types of conflict that can occur in an environment such as PlanetS. These types are described in more details in our Rules and Regulations document that can be found on our internal website (PlanetS Internal Rules and Regulations). Basically, they range from conflicts regarding research priorities or related to the spread of activities between sites, to conflicts between individual collaborators, to deficiencies of the Director and/or Co-Director. Within our conflict management structure, these conflicts types are handled through an appropriate process ranging from a Board decision, local councillors/advisors, and/or professional help available at the different institutions.
To ensure that everyone knows to whom to turn to get the help needed, our internal website includes an easy to find special page (Resource List for Help) dedicated to listing the appropriate contact points at the different institutions. The internal Newsletter will periodically remind everyone that PlanetS has set up support mechanisms to deal with conflict situations including those that will require institutional responses. Everyone in need is advised to make use of these support mechanisms as early as possible.
According to the poll taken by the academic platform of PlanetS at the last General Assembly, our NCCR seems to be on good tracks. It is, however, the responsibility of all of us to maintain this atmosphere supportive for both personal and professional development for all collaborators. We can only encourage you to continue to work in this spirit and promote mutual respect and excellence in research.
Willy Benz and Stéphane Udry