The researchers and their academic careers in Flanders are monitored by using the Human Resources in Research Flanders (HRRF) database. This database is unique in Flanders because of its versatile output possibilities.

It contains the full academic career path during the researchers' stay at one of the five Flemish universities since the academic year 1990-1991. The database is build using existing administrative data from the universities. The appointment data (start and end date of the appointment, funding type, position, percentage of employment and organizational unit of employment) are collected, together with the PhD registrations, the completed PhD’s and the necessary demographic information (age, gender and nationality). This data collection takes place via a Trusted Third Party, which is responsible for linking the data and coding of the data. The database is updated every two years.

The HRRF makes it possible to make a cross-section of the research population at a specific moment, but also to follow recent evolutions in subgroups of starting researchers. The population of PhD students is continuously monitored: their characteristics, the discipline in which they conduct the research, the funding with which they carry out the research and their chances of success. After obtaining the PhD, the HRRF allows to check to what extent the researchers leave the Flemish universities and are thus potential candidates for the non-academic labor market. In addition, the academic promotion of postdoctoral researchers within Flanders is evaluated. The mobility of researchers is also monitored in these different phases of the academic career.

The results are used to support policy, both at the Flemish and at the university level. To this end, the basic indicators and key figures are generated for Flanders (publicly available) and per university allowing each university to compare its own results with the Flemish results.