Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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External Evaluation Report of 2019

An External Evaluation Committee, chaired by Prof. dr. Menno Witter (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway), assessed the performance of the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour (DI) over the period 2013-2018.

The committee qualified DI research as excellent. It states that the institute runs numerous state-of-the-art research facilities and shares them with academic and industrial collaborators, thus further contributing to the advancement of science within and beyond the Institute’s walls.

The committee is of the opinion that the Institute, in addition to its focus on fundamental research, has even more potential for societal relevance than it already showed, which was evaluated as very good. The Committee appreciates the newly launched Innovation Programmes which support the Institute’s efforts in societal domains. The Committee applauds the Institute’s efforts to divulge its contributions of fundamental and applied research to society at large. The committee emphasized that the Donders Institute should keep on communicating with the general public and stakeholders that fundamental research is an essential element of its long-term strategy and the foundation for innovation with a measurable societal impact in the future. We cannot agree more.

The viability of the Institute was assessed as very good. The committee names as main assets its excellent infrastructure and the collaborative team spirit. The ‘Donders brand’ has strong power to attract talented scientists and research funding alike. The staff holds leading positions in international research networks and committees, professional organizations, and evaluation panels. The Committee feels that the Institute has managed to reach a balance between creating a positive and friendly work environment and staying a first-class research institute, possibly even positioning itself ahead of the field in recognizing the difficulty of establishing such a balance. The Institute appears to foster a good atmosphere, allowing for a critical pursuit of science.

The career prospects of the PhD graduates were very positively evaluated, as evidenced by nearly all PhDs finding positions in academia, healthcare, business, or teaching within one year after graduation. The committee values the Donders Graduate School’s (DGS) efforts to promote career paths outside academia as an important component of the PhD training and strongly supports the notion that careers outside academia form respectable alternatives.

Research Assesment Report 2019 (pdf, 744 kB)