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European agreement steps up Recognition & Rewards culture change

Published: 12th December 2022 Last updated: 12th December 2022

On November 10, 2022, representing Tilburg University, Rector Magnificus Wim van de Donk signed the European Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment. This agreement sets a shared direction for changes in assessing research. Paving the way for the culture change we aim to achieve with Recognition & Rewards, the agreement levels the international playing field.

Reforming research assessment is a key objective of the Recognition & Rewards program. Quality will become pivotal to assessing research and a broader range of activities and contributions will qualify for recognition and rewards. Laying the foundation for this transition, the signatories undertake to implement ten commitments. These include the following four:

  1. Recognise the diversity of contributions to, and careers in, research in accordance with the needs and nature of the research.
  2. Abandon inappropriate uses in research assessment of journal and publication-based metrics, in particular inappropriate uses of Journal Impact Factor (JIF) and h-index.
  3. Base research assessment primarily on qualitative evaluation for which peer review is central, supported by responsible use of quantitative indicators.
  4. Avoid the use of rankings of research organisations in research assessment.

The full text of the agreement is available here.

Tilburg University’s approach

In its strategy, Tilburg University accentuates broader recognition and rewarding of talent as well as quality of research. Together with other universities, we are moving forward to build up expertise in research quality indicators. As part of this drive, the Executive Board is engaging in direct dialog with the Schools about research assessment indicators and the use of specific metrics. These discussions also address such topics as open science and team science.

In addition, the Deans are meeting to discuss career development and assessment for the purpose of creating an across-the-board framework that accommodates a wider range of talent diversity. Looking beyond research results, the Performance & Talent Development cycle addresses a large variety of activities and contributions, not only in the research domain concerned, but also in education and in terms of societal impact. Two other topics on the agenda are contributing to the team and personal leadership.

Close to 400 organizations from over 30 countries

The Agreement on Reforming Research Assessment was launched by the European Commission, Science Europe, and the European University Association. Tilburg University is one of the 399 organizations from over 30 countries to have signed the agreement to date. These include all Dutch universities as well as research funders and such umbrella organizations as Universities of The Netherlands (UNL).

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