The topic of research assessment is high on the EU agenda and the European Commission is developing an initiative in which a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would be signed by research performing organisations, research funding organisations, and national assessment agencies. Such an agreement would bring together all stakeholders interested in changing the research assessment system through a set of actions based on commonly established principles.
The Young European Research Universities Network (YERUN) greatly welcomes the attention that is being given to this crucial topic at EU level as well as the proposal to embrace a more qualitative approach in research assessment. The topic is complex and YERUN acknowledges the EC’s constructive work, with the support of stakeholders, towards defining common principles and actions that guide future changes to the research assessment system.
With this position paper, YERUN contributes to the initiative by providing recommendations aimed at making it more inclusive, effective, and attractive for the university sector:
- Understanding what “research assessment” means for universities.
- Fostering the circulation of existing good practices, embracing diversity, and respecting autonomy.
- Distinguishing the discussion on the reform of research assessment from the discussion on precarity in research careers.
- Building a culture of qualitative assessment through adequate guidance, support, and resources.
- Enabling constructive dialogue among a wide range of stakeholders.
- Ensuring that a “coalition of the willing” does not become a “coalition of the able”.
- Taking forward the initiative in the ERA Policy Agenda.
As representatives of young European research universities, YERUN invites EU policy makers to consider and implement the above-mentioned recommendations. YERUN also reaffirms its commitment to playing an active part in this co-creation process and to taking the initiative forward.