Transforming research assessment: bench-learning in the Arqus Alliance
|18 Apr 2023
The University of Graz is developing alternative criteria for the hiring and promotion of research staff within their institution as well as for the evaluation of research units.
The new assessment framework for individual researchers will focus on qualitative standards rather than relying exclusively on traditional bibliometric data, and establishes the achievements expected at each career level in relation to a wide range of activities.
These include, of course, activities in research and research funding obtained, but also promotion of ESRs (Early Stage Researchers), teaching achievements and innovations, societal engagement and outreach activities, management performance and transferrable skills.
A novelty is that only international peers will be in charge of assessing candidates and that the funding to organise their visits will come from the central budget of the University, to avoid the effect of imbalances between “richer” and “poorer” research units.
Performance assessment of research units will also be subject to renewal, by replacing the traditional formal self-evaluation by “Research Fora”, a space for discussion for researchers of all career stages of a same unit.
Issues under discussion will include: innovative research, impact within the scientific community & on society and international visibility. The outcome of the Research Forum will be a ten-year strategy paper, which, as mentioned above, can replace the previous assessment of research units.
Arqus partners are welcome to participate in a bench-learning exercise in which they will observe, contribute opinions, and analyse the possibilities of applying similar systems in their institutions. This is of course closely related to the development of implementation plans that most Arqus partners have committed to by adhering to the Coalition for the Advancement of Research Assessment (CoARA).
Synergies with other European Alliances working on research assessment reform from a similar perspective are also being explored, in first instance with TORCH, the research project of the CHARM-EU Alliance.