Netherlands develop new approach to recognising and rewarding academics

Monday 10 December 2018

In a broad and significant movement, major research organisations in The Netherlands, will  integrate and stimulate the development of a ew approach to recognising and rewarding academics. The VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands), NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research), NFU (Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres) and ZonMw (Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development) will team up in 2019 to spearhead these efforts in mutual consultation with the university community. 

Read their entire statement here.

The initiative has three main goals:

  • Differentiation of career pathways: Universities and UMCs want to provide academic staff with a choice for specific focus areas –teaching, research, knowledge transfer and/or leadership.
  • Renewal of research assessment methodologies: New approaches to evaluating research quality and impact are emerging. The promotion of open science is integral to this development.
  • Team science: Alongside recognition and reward for individual accomplishments, there is a push to award the collaborative efforts and accomplishments of teams with the consideration that they deserve.

Read the related article on Inside Higher Ed, where Maastricht university rector Rianne Letschert challenges the excellence paradigm. “Workload for academics has ballooned as they are expected to fulfill all these roles, Letschert said, at a time of surging student numbers. “When does it end? How can we be excellent in all these tasks?” she asked.”

Her comments tie in with a recent report by the Rathenau Institute thinktank about Dutch science policy aimed at ‘excellence’. The authors conclude: “The concentration of funding gives a relatively small group of researchers the opportunity to do trailblazing research. That concentration has continued because a growing number of grants are awarded to previous laureates.”



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